This game was reviewed on Xbox One X and also has been enhanced for the Xbox One X, also available on Windows PC.
Hello Neighbor is a stealth survival horror game. It features and advanced AI that remembers your movements and adjusts accordingly. If you continue to break in to the side window, expect a bear trap there, if you are going in through the front door, expect a video camera there. The AI just gets smarter and smarter the longer you are on each level. You will find yourself at first able to sneak in pretty easily but if you don’t pass that level quickly expect the AI to adjust so much to your movements that it will feel almost impossible to pass. Which comes to my full disclosure. I have not fully completed the game. I have however, completed and seen enough of the game to give my thoughts and weigh my opinions though. I would have taken the time usually to beat every game before I write my review but this game is taking so much longer than any other game due to the advanced AI. When they say advanced it’s almost as if you are playing against yourself.
You play in first person mode throughout the game. You occasionally get to see yourself in certain cut scenes. You will use the majority of the basic controller configuration for this game. The object is to sneak in to your neighbor’s house and find out what he is hiding in his basement. You will have several levels to finally reach the basement and find out just what he’s hiding. Throughout each level you will encounter the house in a different way each time. Some with a trolley going around the house to another level with a large fence around the yard. You escape each level differently and it’s almost as if its puzzle based due to not being told what to do or where to go, you will have to troubleshoot different methods until the level ends. This is where the advanced AI comes in to play. It will be punishing and brutal to get past a level if you get stuck too long. Considering most of us are creatures of habit, it doesn’t take long for the AI to start catching on and anticipating your next move.
The developer chose to go with a more cartoon style of graphics. I personally feel after playing several hours of this game that it was the perfect way to go. With the different levels having more and more of a crazy house it really fit the part of when you took a look at the graphics. That being said, the graphics really were on point. It seemed the neighbor was truly crazy at times with the looks he would give you and how, when he caught you, you were staring directly in to his eyes.
The sounds of the game really are most noticed with a proper set of headphones. I would recommend ones with spacial audio so you can hear all around you and be able to pinpoint where the neighbor is before you make your next move. It was done with the utmost accuracy on being able to hear his footsteps whether in the house, in the yard, on the second floor of the house or even higher. You could almost guarantee where the Neighbor was before you made your move. That being said, once you broke the window cause you heard him on the second floor, he is at the first floor and by the window you broke within what seemed like seconds.
While this game does have its issues, especially with the day and night cycle. The game would freeze up while the day turned to-night or the night turned to-day. At some points the game would completely freeze up and I would have to restart. Those problems aside, the game is a lot of fun and challenging. The use of advanced AI is what really makes this game stand out to me. In most cases, it seems this game would have been created and the AI would have been rather dumb. Making beating the levels all that much easier and causing the game to have little to zero replay ability and allow the person to beat the game in a short amount of time. That to me is the defining characteristic of this game. If you enjoy challenging yourself, and with the AI it quite literally could end up you actually challenging yourself, then this game is for you. There isn’t the shooting or the great deep narrative just you and the neighbor trying to outwit one another. This game will definitely be one that I continue to play and to replay once beaten to see how fast I can get at each level and how long it takes before the AI really catches on to me.