First Glance — What Makes ‘Hello Neighbor’ Addictive and Scary

Happy Halloween! Today I’ll be reviewing a pretty scary video game. But before we start, I’ll take the opportunity to go a bit off topic. As you might have noticed, it has a been a very quiet month for the blog, but a very busy one for us. Between the moving and my new job, it all went so fast. Thank God we finally have Internet, we’re more than settled in the new house and I’m getting used to my new shifts. So now we can get back to blogging! I’m ready to talk about geeky things again, the first one being the amazing Hello Neighbor! I was lucky to have a first feeling of the game with the Pre-Alpha, and now the Alpha version is available. So, let’s have a look at the trailer.

Creepy, right? Perfect to set up the mood for Halloween. Being an Alpha, and freshly out from the Pre-Alpha state, it’s of course glitchy and crashy. But that’s the point, and to be honest, it’s already on the right path for an Alpha.

Graphics

I love the simple but cute graphics. And the ironic part is that we are used to see this style in cute games or indie story rich games. But here we have a stealth-horror game, and despite the cartoonish style, it’s even more frightening because it reminds us of the cartoons we were watching as kids. And who didn’t have any irrational fear as a child? Now that’s the best choice they could have made, and they scare you better like this than if the graphics were more realistic.

Music

The fear is mostly increased by the atmosphere and music. As long as you are not spotted, there will only be the sounds of doors, cracking wood, footsteps. Nothing but the silence besides those. It reminds me this movie called When A Stranger Calls (No, not the ridiculous remake but the 1979 version). In this movie you have nothing that scares you except for the sounds, which increases the suspense and the tension. No blood, no killer, nothing. Pure psychological horror. And Hello Neighbor makes you feel the same. Suddenly this terrible music starts and makes you jump. Yes I did, I admit. And Nya witnessed it.. several times …

Difficulty

Many games are looking to give you a challenge in difficulty. You know the satisfaction about finishing a game in hard? Lately, even in hard mode, many games are actually easy and quick to finish. Except for some Doom or Wolfenstein, games have been pretty straightforward and you’ll get to the end after just a few tries. Now, this one, on the other hand, the difficulty is definitely there. Besides the AI and the fact that the Alpha version gives us no choice of lowering the difficulty, it’s really a challenge to get through to the end. In the Alpha version, your goal is to get into the basement, and see what’s in there (no spoilers). In fact, I can’t even spoil as I haven’t even reached the basement yet. Of course some glitches will make you lose sometimes, but in a general way, the game is actually quite hard. You should not rush, and with the pressure of breaking into this house without being spotted, without being absolute certain where the guy is, or where he’s going, difficulty increases. This is not this kind of stealth game where you can hide in front of the guy in the shadow. The house is quiet small, and it’s really difficult to get through all the security at the basement’s door. But there isn’t only the security.

AI evolution

The strongest argument in this game is the AI. And when I first heard about it, that’s what made me register to the Alpha/Beta. Every time you get caught, you restart the game in a higher difficulty. As creepy as this dude can be, he’s not stupid. Every time he catches you, he’s actually kind enough to let you go back to your house and try to break in again. But next time, there will be new traps along your way, depending where you went actually. Cameras, bear traps, chairs behind doors, wood planks against windows, etc… And the more you restart, the harder it gets obviously. For an Alpha, even if sometimes it can be glitchy, you really notice the difference and the evolution of the AI. To be honest, it even makes the game a lot more alive. Having an AI that is actually intelligent and who learns from your gameplay is amazing and it does pique the curiosity of playing Hello Neighbor.

Conclusion

For an Alpha, the game is fun and I’m hooked. I want to get into this basement so bad and I’m not going to give up! I can only recommend this gem but be aware that this is still in Alpha and not 100% yet. Lately, some games have really disappointed in a scandalous way. No Man’s Sky or Stomping Land for example. Games that either lie about their promises or, even worse, abandon the project in silence with your money and all hopes are gone. Tinybuild is on the right path to deliver what they promise with Hello Neighbor. I can only hope that it won’t be another abandoned project after a while as the game has a big potential. But I’m fully supporting it and I can’t wait for the game to be finished. Sneaking into your neighbor house also reminds me of the game Neighbors From Hell.The differences with Hello Neighbor are really interesting and I’m excited to follow its developing. But I’m also excited to be part of the project on my own way by being involved in playing the Alpha. I can only invite you to join it here where you either download the Pre-Alpha for free, or support the developers and buy the Alpha (that gives you access to finish build obviously) for only $29.99,


Final Verdict:

To me, this is Gold.


Fenrile

French geek. Let’s get this straight. I’ve put my ass in front of a computer at the age of 4 or 5. I couldn’t even read but I could put a password on the family computer. My first videogames were Pacman/Galaga/Pole Position trio (& Dig Dug for the bonus). I’ve always been a gamer. Aging, I’ve started expanding my horizons.



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Originally published at louderthansilver.com on October 31, 2016.