Hello Neighbor

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Hello Neighbor
Helloneighbor.png
Rushing a game for holiday release is never a good idea.
Genre: Stealth
Survival horror
Puzzle
Platforms: Microsoft Windows
Xbox One
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
iOS
Android
Release Date: December 8, 2017
Developer: Dynamic Pixels
Publisher: tinyBuild

Hello Neighbor is a stealth survival horror puzzle game developed by Russian game company Dynamic Pixels and published by American game company TinyBuild.

Plot

A kid is playing with a ball in the street when he hears screams coming from his neighbor's house. He sees his neighbor lock something behind the basement door. When the neighbor gets wind of this, he breaks out through the window, grabs and moves the kid back on his front lawn. The kid then decides to break into the neighbor's basement to find out what he's hiding.

Bad Qualities

  1. The game was rushed for the holidays, making various aspects of this game unpolished.
  2. One of the game's biggest selling points was that it would have adaptive AI so the neighbor would learn from all of your previous attempts to get into his basement. While this does happen to some extent, the AI is severely watered down from the pre-alpha builds.
  3. There is almost no horror whatsoever aside from a few moments here and there.
  4. It can be needlessly hard to avoid/escape the neighbor, not helped by the fact that he throws tomatoes (which obscure your view if they hit you) and glue bottles (which slow you down) at you.
  5. Some of the puzzles are needlessly complex for a game that is intended for ages 10 and up. Often, they don't make any sense, and don't provide an explanation on how to solve them or what you'd need for them. For example, at one point, you have to freeze a pool of water in a room that the neighbor has flooded (yes, he flooded one of the rooms in his house) so you can walk across it to reach a shelf to obtain a key. You do this by taking a globe of the Earth, sticking it in the neighbor's freezer, and then placing it on a pedestal.
  6. The game is extremely short. Once you know what to do, you can beat it in 35 minutes (with glitches and not counting cutscenes), as seen in speedruns.
  7. The game is somewhat nonsensical and has a share of plotholes, inconsistencies, and the supposed big reveal of what's in the basement is never shown.
  8. The Switch version costed full retail price ($39.99) when the mobile version costed less ($14.99) even though both versions are identical, which is unusually expensive for an indie game (although this is probably the result of Nintendo Switch cartridges being expensive to produce and Nintendo wanting physical and digital games to be the same price.), however the Switch version is noticeably worse than other versions due to hardware limitations.
  9. Low replay value.

Good Qualities

  1. The game does at least deliver its selling point on the adaptive AI, having the neighbor board up windows and set up cameras and bear traps the more you get caught. Even if the advertising exaggerated it and it was nerfed in the final game.
  2. The music and graphics are decent.
  3. Both the neighbor and the shadow can be frightening at times.
  4. The boss battles with the giant neighbor and giant shadow are decent.
  5. The neighbor's basement is genuinely spooky.
  6. There is a pretty heartwarming moment in the beginning of the game's second act when a person in the neighbor's basement helps you escape by unlocking the room the neighbor locks you up in and clearing a path for you (note that they do this while you are locked behind the door and disappear before you come out so you still can't see them despite this).
  7. While it is never revealed what is really in the basement, there are hints throughout the game. There is a dream sequence of the neighbor's car crashing without him in it, as he approaches the car to look inside to see if the person in it is alright, after which he begins to cry. Another sequence has him at a hospital where he is in the hall waiting as the person in the car from earlier flatlines. In another sequence, the protagonist rides a rollercoaster through the neighbor's house, during which they start to hear children laughing before it stops and the neighbor starts crying. In addition, there are missing (or "simming") children's posters all over the street, implying that the neighbor lost his child or children in a car accident and started kidnapping children to replace them out of grief.
  8. The game has mod support.
  9. It also had a crossover with Bendy and the Ink MachineAGW.

Reception

Reviewers praised the graphics and general story idea of trying to find out what's in the neighbor's basement. However, they criticized the lack of resolution regarding the neighbor's secret, the confusing ending, unfair difficulty, clunky controls, and countless glitches.

The game's failure also severely damaged tinyBuild's reputation, with many blaming them for forcing the developers to hastily finish the game in time for Christmas.