Enter the house, uncover the secrets
Hello Neighbor is a survival horror stealth game for Windows, Android, and iOS that turns an unassuming suburban house into a labyrinth of puzzles and tension. Developed by Russian video game studio, Dynamic Pixels, and published by tinyBuild, you take on the role of a young intruder as he tries to unravel whatever dark secrets lie in the depths of the fortress across the street. It is now available for Windows 11.
Keep one step ahead of the adaptive AI
Hello Neighbor incorporates the survival stealth gameplay of titles like Slender: the Eight Pages or Alien: Isolation and weaves it into a humble neighborhood setting. Rather than eluding the clutches of a vicious monster or a faceless horror, players are instead pitted against a burly, mustachioed white man in a purple sweater: Not the typical nightmarish antagonist that gamers have come to expect in the genre.
While the neighbor may not evoke terror in appearance, the AI is not to be underestimated. As you make your way further through the deceptively complex home, the neighbor learns from your mistakes. Make a habit out of entering through the backyard window and he'll begin to set traps there. Lurk in the ground floor hall too frequently and he'll begin to place hidden cameras.
If the neighbor suspects you're trespassing, the hunt is on and there's little chance you'll be able to evade him, especially early on in the game. He knows the shortcuts and (hilariously) will not hesitate to smash through his own window to catch up and grab you. Get caught and the result, however, is anticlimactic: The neighbor simply deposits you back on your end of the street.
Solve puzzles to a ticking clock
Hello Neighbor takes place entirely from a first-person perspective. This adds subtly adds to the immersion and resulting fear factor. Solving puzzles through the gameplay relies on a simple, intuitive interface to pick up items, peer through keyholes, or throw objects. For example, one early-game puzzle is solved by throwing a small object at a button to raise a wall.
If you want to get to the bottom of the neighbor's dark mysteries, the game's going to make you work for it. Later levels especially will begin to demand more cleverness and patience. There are high ledges, wire mesh screens, boarded up doors, and even boss fights you'll need to contend with in order to continue. Some are clever, while others simply feel like unnecessary padding.
The best case scenario is a heart-pounding brainstorm that rewards resourcefulness and clever thinking. The worst case (and altogether more likely) scenario is that the solution to the puzzle defies all logic and simply wants to stall for your time and patience in order to put the survival horror back in the focus. You'll spend much of your puzzle-solving time running and hiding from the neighbor.
Good puzzle solving is all about observing subtle hints and exploiting learned patterns. Players expecting these qualities may be frustrated by Hello Neighbor. Many points will leave you wondering what to do next or where to go. Sometimes the level design makes it appear that you're on the right track, when in fact you're just staring at a dead end.
Fear Rooms add another layer to progression in Hello Neighbor, and are where most of the game's uniqueness lies. While the house hunt is scary in concept but not in visualization, Fear Rooms are the exact opposite. These segments shrink the player, placing him in a nightmarish contortion like a grocery store, school, or pantry. Completing these mini-games rewards the player with enhanced abilities.
These rewards can be quite powerful: Turning invisible when crouching, or even granting a double jump ability. The latter is especially helpful for puzzle-solving the game's more platformer-oriented puzzles. The Fear Rooms use similar mechanics to the core game, implementing a shadow that hunts the player like the neighbor, and requiring more abstract puzzle-solving to escape.
Put your courage and cunning to the test
Hello Neighbor strikes a balance between survival stealth, puzzle-solving, platforming, and horror. The concept is simple, but the adaptive AI for the neighbor makes achieving that simple objective challenging to some players and irksome to others. To players looking for a good game to take turns on with friends, Hello Neighbor delivers well. To those seeking memorable, clever puzzles to solve in a classic horror environment: Look elsewhere.
In June of 2018, tinyBuild announced a multiplayer spin-off to Hello Neighbor called Secret Neighbor, complete with a companion wallpaper app. This chapter is set between acts one and two, and follows a group of kids trying to free their friend from the Neighbor's basement. Secret Neighbor is a more role-oriented approach, with players combining their characters' individual strengths to acquire keys and unlock the basement. Beware, however; one of the players is secretly the neighbor in disguise!