Your neighbor is a crazy dude. He boards his house up and when you peep in the window, he is constantly fiddling with the basement door. Now, usually you’d probably not want to play “Peeping Tom” around a guy like this, but that is exactly the premise of this game. Better yet, you get to criminal trespass! Hello Neighbor is clearly tongue-in-check with the whole premise, but how does a game that involves you breaking into your neighbor’s house really add up once you look at the final picture?
Hello Neighbor is rather unique in the way its stylized, which by looks alone, could draw a lot of people into this game. The world is cartoon-y in nature but more-over feels like one big caricature. It easily the most positive aspect about the game and for what its worth, the design was great in presentation and yet brilliant simplicity. For one we could say we’d like to see more worlds like this in the future. Do note that it doesn’t hold up 100% of the time but the general overall design of the world, characters, and everything in between is not something you find in every game.
On a fundamental level, Hello Neighbor has a lot of potential. Its mainly a stealth game but there are plenty of puzzles to solve and gives you an incentive to move around the map. Of course this creates tension because, lets face it, you ARE trespassing and your neighbor is going to do everything he can to stop your wandering step. He will set up cameras, take note of your previous paths, and make it harder for you to reach the basement with each act. The suspense it looks to create is admirable, especially with the horror factor, its just that everything in execution is rather sloppy.
For one, the game is not consistent with how it handles difficulty. The house gets bigger with each passing level but while you think everything should progress a certain way, it does it in the way you probably didn’t want. Within the first act, even with the house so small, it was way harder to get introduced into the game than it should have been. Later, while it becomes easier to escape your neighbor, as you know the mechanics a little better, the puzzles become those only mind or e-how guide readers can solve in a decent amount of time. It’s not ideally the pace you want or a healthy way to pace progression, in opinion.
So yes, Hello Neighbor is generally hard to play. Not that its bone crushing hard, its just that is very good at being annoying… in all the wrong ways. It wants to be a horror game on top of the stealth base-board but because you lose all reason to feel scared of your neighbor pretty quick with bad pacing… its just a crap-shoot whether you’ll feel like sticking through the whole game. Another thing to mention is it is kind of short to be at the price it is and in-turn feel so stunted by its own undoing. Its a shame because you generally can have some fun moments trying to outsmart your neighbor; it just ends up happening to feel like your neighbor is all but cheating and putting into question everything your doing in the first place.