Imagine that you move to a new house in the sleepy suburbs only to realize that your neighbor is hiding something sinister in his basement. Naturally, your only course of action is to break in (over and over and…over) to find out what it is, right? That’s Hello Neighbor in a nutshell.
Hello Neighbor, currently in pre-alpha, is a simple stealth horror game developed by tinyBuild Games and Dynamic Pixels using Unreal Engine 4. Hello Neighbor features procedural AI that learns from your actions and puts obstacles in place to stop you from getting to the basement. The controls comprise of crouching, sprinting, opening doors, and picking up objects and throwing them. These actions can be used to hide in closets, throw tomatoes at windows, jump over bear traps and generally run around screaming.
Each new failure and subsequent retry will feature a different time of day – morning, afternoon and night – and new challenges put in place by the neighbor. For example, if you entered the house through a window in your last attempt, you may find it boarded up on the next try. Not to spoil any surprises, but after a certain number of increasingly successful attempts, certain events will happen that will take you by surprise.
The art style is simple and the design of your creepy neighbor feels like it was ripped out of a Pixar movie. This, together with the silence and crickets and sudden bursts of intense music, created an incredibly tense gameplay experience. In all honesty, the music is the most intense part of the entire game. When all you hear is silence and ambient outdoor noise for long stretches, the sudden introduction of worrying music is enough to put you on edge. Obviously this compounds when your neighbor suddenly appears, running towards you with his hands outstretched.
The game is only in pre-alpha at the moment and as forecasted by the developers, it’s bound to have some glitches. The game didn’t crash during my time with it, but there were some glitches, like picked up items completely disappearing when put back down. If you are spotted by the neighbor but put yourself in a position where he can’t catch you (i.e. atop his car), he will throw tomatoes and bear traps at you until you eventually pass out or make yourself available to him.
The game is incredibly entertaining and all together too intense for me to probably ever finish because I’m a wuss. That said, I’m very interested to see how the game will improve through the beta stage and subsequent full release. I would highly recommend that anyone with enough bravery (or even those with no bravery like me) give the game a go. Hello Neighbor is heaps of fun and will challenge you to think!
Hello Neighbor comes to PC in Summer 2017.