Hello Neighbor is a stealth survival horror puzzle game developed by Dynamic Pixels and published by tinyBuild. The goal of the game is to successfully sneak into the basement of the neighbor's house to uncover a secret. The game's artificial intelligence (A.I.) modifies Peterson's behavior based on the player's past actions, such as setting traps along paths the player "Nicky Roth" followed in a previous attempt.
A kid "Nicky Roth" is playing with a ball in the street when he hears screams coming from his neighbor's house, "Mr. Peterson" He sees his neighbor "Mr. Peterson" lock something behind the basement door. When Peterson gets wind of this, he breaks out through the window, grabs Nicky back and moves him back to his own front lawn. Nicky then decides to break into the Peterson's basement to find out what he's hiding.
- The game was rushed for the holidays, making various aspects of this game unpolished.
- 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.
- There is almost no horror whatsoever aside from a few moments here and there.
- Bad graphics. The artistic style was used to resemble Pixar movies, although it is ruined because of low quality textures, which look like they were created on Blender. the character models that look like from the PlayStation 2 era. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the game was made on Unreal Engine 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.
- Some of the puzzles are needlessly complex or counter-intuitive 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 (while normally, the ice on the frozen globe would just melt).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Low replay value.
- Bad platforming, the main protagonist does not jump on the platform properly, resulting in you filing for anywhere more often than the platform.
- The ending of this game is bland and cliche. It turned out to be just a dream/nightmare, ending with bringing boxes from moving out to Nicky's new house.
- Decent soundtrack.
- Both the neighbor and the shadow can be frightening at times.
- The boss battles with the giant neighbor and giant shadow are decent.
- The neighbor's basement is genuinely spooky.
- 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).
- 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.
- Unlike a lot of modern games, it supports mods.
The game received mostly negative reviews. It was criticized for artificial intelligence, length of the game, puzzles and glitches. On aggregating review website Metacritic, Hello Neighbor received 38/100 for PC version, 39/100 for Nintendo Switch version and 42/100 for Xbox One version.
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.
However, despite overall negative reviews, Hello Neighbor managed to gain a fanbase following, which leads into the creation of its sequels Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek and Secret Neighbor, both of which were well-received thanks to tinyBuild managing to fix various flaws from the first game.