Reviews - Updated on April 13, 2022

Surreal games are not fun for many. Not for many developers. Creators need an intuitive vision of the boundary beyond which aesthetically valuable absurdism turns into stupid imitation with meaningless hoaxes. The Franz Kafka Videogame, Virginia – creations are not perfect, but they do not smell of what is called “cheap”.

But from the crafts of the domestic company Dynamic Pixels Hello Neighbor blows. And how.

Hello Neighbor game review

A roller coaster at home is an idiot’s dream.

Neighbor from hell

The story begins very cheerfully and promisingly: our hero becomes a witness to some bad action, in which his neighbor is involved. If you omit (and this is recommended for half of the works of modern culture) the logic “Why not call the police?”, Then the continuation is quite intriguing: the guy sneaks into someone else’s house in order to find out what a potential criminal is hiding in his basement.

But then the plot turns into a surreal knot, which is a separate fun for visitors to thematic forums to unravel. Each new level represents the penetration of the hero into the improved abode of the neighbor. When and how he managed to fence himself off from the world with a tall wall or build a branching railway network for a trolley around his castle is a big question. Why time after time we sneak into these architectural creations, what we are looking for there and what our mustachioed scoundrel did in the end – all these are excellent reasons for speculation.

And do not expect that the ending will put everything in its place. Firstly, it comes too unexpectedly (the passage will take four hours), and secondly, it only deepens the misunderstanding. You can’t immediately believe that this faded episode is the finale of an intricate detective story. It’s entirely possible that the writers have an unambiguous vision of the plot and can explain every strange detail of the story. But for me, as an ordinary user, I didn’t want to go through Hello Neighbor again for a second, so that, already having certain information, I would penetrate the secrets of its history. Somehow they seem to be hoaxes without clues.

Hello Neighbor game review

A chair in the wall – only programmers can do that.

intellectual hardcore

After all, the gameplay is the same problem as the plot. First, you enthusiastically sneak around your neighbor’s house in stealth mode, looking for the right items, diverting his attention, solving logical riddles. But the further, the worse. The mechanic remains the same throughout the game: the hero can pick up things, throw them, and also use some of them. A free-roaming neighbor dilutes the routine with brief races. Much here is reminiscent of modern horror like Alien: Isolation. You can divert the attention of the “creature” with a thrown object, and hide and seek in the closet and under the bed are accompanied by a frightening trembling of the screen. Only now, from the shelter, we see not a terrible monster, but a funny mustachioed uncle who, having caught us, will not begin to bite off his head or tear off his limbs – you just have to restart the level.

So the whole game we move around the locations, choosing paths that do not irritate the enemy and solving puzzles. The latter, in fact, is the gameplay value of Hello Neighbor. The value is dubious, because the logic behind the riddles is completely opaque and few people can master Hello Neighbor without looking at YouTube.

For example, four lights blink randomly above the grate. When everyone lights up, the path opens. In another room, we find cannons firing tennis balls at four levers. The connection is established, and now you just need to somehow make these machines “silence”. It would be logical to just take and overturn them, break them, but the solution that the game offers is much less trivial. In order to fix the levers, you need to erect a barrier between them and the guns. But how to do that? By growing some trees right on the floor, of course! And how to achieve this? Obviously, you need to steal a gramophone from another part of the house and turn it on in this room. Under magical music, a wonderful garden will spread before our eyes …

Hello Neighbor is a very strange thing. In all aspects: in the plot, mechanics, visual design. The style of the game is fun and enjoyable: tense sound effects and typical horror elements resonate curiously with colorful graphics. Many locations are made soundly, there are interiors pleasing to the eye.

Hello Neighbor game review

When demand exceeds supply.

However, the surrealist claims of the authors seem to have played a cruel joke, because many parts of the levels are made carelessly. A lot of rooms are unfurnished, the objects themselves are constantly repeated, the interiors do not tell a story. They seem to be knocked together without any logic and meaning – in the hope that more creative users themselves will see this story in them. One gets the feeling that the creators were inspired by The Beginner’s Guide, decided to do the same, but the talent was not enough. If in the latter the emptiness and unpretentiousness of locations is justified conceptually, then here it feels like hack work.

Hello Bugs

With regard to Hello Neighbor, unfortunately, I want to talk more about the technical implementation than about any gameplay features. The gameplay is replete with various roughness, angularity and flaws. The crazy physics created by Dynamic Pixels is simply unacceptable: either a ball placed on the ground rolls to the edge of the level, or the character suddenly “bounces off” the ground with a hanger and makes a ten-meter jump. Chairs get stuck in walls, plates get stuck in balls, neighbors get stuck in anything.

The spatial combination of two material objects is accompanied by a nasty rattling. The game may lose sound, crash, or some other unexpected event that could be called fun if we were not in front of the final version.

“Beta” found multiple bugs. And even their developers didn’t bother to fix it. The “correct” sequence of solving puzzles is easily bypassed in many places: for example, the hero can get an object from behind a grate using a clumsy physical model, or in certain places go through a wall.

The artificial intelligence of the only enemy in the game is well done, but nothing more. Yes, our neighbor is capable of many things: she sets traps under the windows, takes care of the electricity, reacts to noise sources. Seeing us, he will start a chase, during which he will throw objects at us that slow down the main character.

However, it costs nothing to deceive the bastard. And there is no need to use the options designed for this by the developers, like gatherings in closets. Having adapted, you can forget about all this stealth with goose walking and imperceptible penetration – our opponent often chooses far from ideal trajectories, he is basically unable to overcome some obstacles, and the frequent “stuck” blockhead in textures can generally deprive the passage of the level of any danger .

Hello Neighbor game review

Who needs extra leg animations when climbing stairs? They go – and thanks for that.

***

Hello Neighbor is the fruit of a rather strange idea to create a surreal stealth horror game. By itself, it is difficult to call it successful. Solving puzzles that do not have obvious logical connections will appeal only to representatives of a very rare intellectual subculture. This is a game for an amateur – an amateur to study every pixel of the level, solve riddles inaccessible to the ordinary human mind and enjoy unexpected tricks of the program code.

Pros: nice visual style; sometimes racing with a neighbor causes emotions.

Cons: mysterious, philosophical plot; brevity of the campaign; stingy gameplay, copying the stamps of modern horror; an abundance of “quests” from the series “Look what you need to do on YouTube”; sea ​​of ​​bugs.

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