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Hello Neighbor (Xbox)

Developed by Dynamic Pixels, Hello Neighbor is available now on PC (steam) for £23.79 and Xbox One for £23.99.

Hello Neighbor is a stealth-based puzzle game requiring huge amounts of strategy. Your aim is to sneak into your neighbour’s house to try and find what secrets are hiding in his basement. Split across three acts each progressively more complex, there is a story to be told albeit through cutscenes. 

Hello Neighbor looks really good with vibrant colours, a crisp, intricately designed layout and smooth animations. The game’s music and sound effects are great, I particularly love the sound of smashing the glass in the neighbour’s windows. The controls are pretty simple to grasp but are generally not very reliable in the way of responsiveness. There are too many times where buttons simply don't do anything at all. 

As always, I will do my best to avoid any spoilers throughout my review.

Hello Neighbor is definitely not a game for people who aren’t willing to endure frustration and try out lots of new things. It is incredibly difficult to make any progress whatsoever in the beginning as you’re trying to work out how everything works and what you actually need to do.

Once you’re brave enough to get a little closer to the neighbour’s house you’ll notice that once he’s seen you, the screen goes a little funny and the music starts to ramp up as he chases you down. Now, it is possible to outrun him as he’ll only venture a certain distance away from his house but the first time I got chased (and caught) I nearly had a heart attack. Once you do get caught then you’ll just have to start again. Thankfully, anything you've picked up won't be taken off of you so sometimes it is a good idea to allow him to catch you. 

The neighbour is always learning from you and soon enough he’ll start placing traps. From what I have seen so far, there are only three different types of a trap which are: a bear trap, security cameras and some kind of tomato/glue substance that he throws at you when chasing you. It’s a little bit of a letdown that there isn’t more variation here as there comes a point when he’s laid so many traps down that you quite literally have nowhere to go or a room with wall to wall cameras and so you’re left with no other option but to completely restart the act. In order to progress through Hello Neighbor, you’ll need a huge amount of patience, the willpower to persevere and the knowledge that unless you utilise guides for each act, the art of trial and (lots of) error.

There are times throughout the game where I think things have been made unnecessarily complicated just for the sake of it. For example, at some point, you’ll need to find a key to open a cupboard and guess where the key for that lock is? That’s right, inside the cupboard. If you really do start to struggle then there is a slightly easier difficulty which you can enable which makes the neighbour learn from your actions a lot slower.

One of the best things about Hello Neighbor is that there isn’t one set route through the acts like you’d find in many games. You are able to take whichever path that works for you, you’re not restricted to a linear chain of events. There are objects around which you can use to your advantage but I’ll be honest, there are times where the physics were totally wrong which doesn’t go down well when you know the neighbour is nearby and you were counting on the item you just threw down landing the way gravity would have intended!

Unfortunately, Hello Neighbor is not a game free of gamebreaking issues. In Act II the game completely glitched, I fell through the map and because I was "out of the house" the game considered me to have completed Act II. Now, in order to experience Act II, I will have to restart the entire game which considering how long it took (for me, at least) to get through Act I didn't fill me with very much joy.

Overall, Hello Neighbor is an, at times, enjoyable game. I had been anticipating this game’s release for a while as I was intrigued by the concept but unfortunately, I don’t think that, since release, it is a polished version of what it could be. If I had to give it a score it would be 5/10. A few too many issues to recommend it which is a shame as it can be enjoyable when the game is working. There have been patches since the game's release so hopefully, the developers will continue to work on it going forward. 

Hello Neighbor has a total of 17 achievements available for 1,000 Gamerscore. Unless you’re playing through Hello Neighbor with a guide, (and even if you are, to a point) it is not going to be an easy completion. A fairly short achievement list with many varied and at times obscure requirements. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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