Hello Neighbor Switch Review-A Monster House
Hello Neighbor is a physics puzzle game developed by Dynamic Pixels and published by Tiny Build. It tells the story of a young boy investigating the mysterious man who lives across the street and his strange house. While atmospheric and interesting, the lack of guidance makes Hello Neighbor more of an exercise of patience and perseverance than a mysterious and fun adventure.
Gameplay is comprised of picking up and using objects to traverse the environment and make your way deeper into your neighbor’s lair. The first act begins simply enough, with you trying to obtain a key to open a locked door using stacked boxes and objects thrown through windows, all the while the invincible and annoyed neighbor attempts to catch you. If he does catch you, you’ll be sent back to the spawn point with your current progress saved. This is the most forgiving the game will get however, as once you finish act one your objective is simply to progress, though its not always clear how. As you advance, the house becomes more outlandish, leading to more difficult puzzles requiring different items and tactics. Where once you may have had to just climb the roof and pull some switches, you must now drain pools of water using a valve, acquire various keys, and knock down barricades. This requires multiple runs before you learn what you must do and how to do it, as there is no spoken dialogue or text in the game, and therefore no objective statement. The collision of certain objects can also cause issues, whether it be a character flying through the air, or objects bouncing between the geometry after being caught. While not game-breaking, these problems did make solving puzzles and platforming more difficult.
Aside from the main segments, there are also multiple dreamlike sections in Hello Neighbor. These are darker and often have some surreal element to them, like a giant neighbor or sentient mannequins which add a different type of tension, increasing interest, especially by contrasting the bright and cheery visuals with more dark and sinister environments. They also help tell the narrative, which is told entirely through gameplay and very brief cinematics (all of which contain no dialogue). While it doesn’t tell the most concise story, its narrative is genuinely interesting and something that made me flock to sites like YouTube and Wikipedia to better understand what was going on, not out of sheer confusion, but general interest.
Charm and intrigue go a long way and it can be seen in Hello Neighbor. While the gameplay may be lackluster and confusing, the storytelling it employs, as well as the art style create a charming and engaging atmosphere that kept me entertained. While this neighbor is rough around the edges, it shares a story worth telling.