Hello Neighbor splits into three acts and a final “boss fight,” each introducing a new layout to explore. The difficulty jump from Act 1 to Act 2, however, creates a very different experience. It makes sense to become more difficult but Act 1 does not serve as any sort of tutorial of the game.
Act 1’s difficulty is only a fraction of how hard the rest of the game is. The puzzles in Act 1 are easy to follow but Act 2 introduces so many new features that lack proper guidance. Act 2 becomes a cluster of puzzle pieces from several different puzzles all bunched into a single pile.
Problems In Act 2 Already…
With no tutorial, entering Act 2 significantly increases in difficulty. The Neighbor fences the player into his property and is constantly on the hunt. The house becomes riddled with convoluted puzzles that did not seem to take me anywhere. Opening valves to power a generator should not be as complicated as the game makes it out to be. Opening the valves and activating the generator was exciting… but nothing happened. The gate remained closed despite doing everything that seemed possible.
I resorted to walkthroughs to get through certain points, but even the walkthroughs I read struggled to solve the puzzles. It suggested stacking boxes on a high platform and jumping over the gate I tried opening. After several attempts and hours, jumping became the most logical option.
Although frustrating to follow up on a long puzzle to be led nowhere, It’s exciting to be making progress in these complicated messes. Getting new items to use and unlocking new rooms is very exciting but getting no sort of direction with this new information is disheartening.
The Bittersweet Act 3
Act 3 is a huge curveball in Hello Neighbor. It introduces power-ups so close to the end of the game with no time to enjoy using them throughout the house.
Act three has three challenges to complete, unlocking double jump, invisibility, and the ability to fight back. Players will use these abilities in the basement and during the boss fight. After that, the game ends and the power-ups are pointless
The Challenges Are Bizarre
Each challenge is past a locked door. Finding the right colored key unlocks the door to enter a new area. One of the challenges is a supermarket full of mannequins pushing shopping carts. This new area has no context as to why it’s in a supermarket or why items need to be collected but it’s necessary to earn invisibility.
Figuring out what to do took hours as the player has to place 5 certain items in their cart and reach the end while hiding from the mannequins. Finding the correct items is a game of trial and error. Another one of the challenges involves mannequins in a school. Running from locker to locker, the goal is to reach the end without getting caught. A bell rings to let the player know when the mannequins will be running around and when they are waiting at their desks.
At the exit, rather than gain a power-up for speed, a mannequin grabs the player to gain the ability to fight back. The last challenge is in a closet. Upon entering, the player shrinks down and climbs shelves and darts to reach the top before jumping to freedom. Sounds easy enough, however, it requires a lot of precision using very clunky controls.
Throwing darts to create platforms is a pain due to the overwhelming glitches encountered in the game.
Glitches Are the Biggest Challenge
In the closet challenge, players are required to move and throw objects in order to climb. Unfortunately, the game has many glitches so landing on something wrong could mean being launched in the air.
There is also the issue of objects being thrown and flying out of control to the bottom of the closet. While I would hope only a challenge stage would have problems like this, glitches filled this game to the brim.
In Act 3, traversing the house is easier with the introduction of the trolley. This trolley is a death trap. Attempting to control it means almost definitely being thrown out and falling to your death.
If players are not thrown out, the game will glitch them through the floor and register it as getting hit by the trolley. With some luck, the game will glitch and spawn you in the trolley anyways, saving time and effort. However, that is when I encountered ANOTHER glitch that kept me from walking forward.
A Shadow Monster?
The main objective of Act 3 is to return to the neighbor’s basement. Mind you, it is possible to get to the basement without knowing about the challenges which made continuing impossible.
Crouching is now necessary to pass doorways, a small annoyance but annoying nonetheless. A mysterious shadow figure also lurking down there and catches the player on sight. What is this monster? Signs point to a representation of fear but without dialogue or text within the game, it is open to interpretation.
The boss battle is very straightforward as it’s the first time the game gives some kind of direction using signs and arrows. After completing the battle, the player faces off against a giant shadow monster to protect his child self. By the end, The shadow monster follows the Neighbor and missing children posters fall from the sky, implying he kidnapped children. The shadow monster’s purpose at that point is confusing.
Is Hello Neighbor Worth The Cost?
To put it simply, no. Hello Neighbor challenges players to overcome complicated puzzles and irritating glitches. The game’s targeted audience is as complicated as the puzzles throughout the game. The art has attracted many kids to the game but I can’t see this being understood or even completed by kids.
Act 3’s introduction of power-ups, challenges, and new creative items made the game more exciting but not for long. Introducing the power-ups earlier in the game would allow players to have fun with the abilities while traversing the house.
Hello Neighbor succeeded due to the popularity of gamer streams and Youtubers. With its charming art and colorful environment, the game’s pleasant visuals make traversing the house fun just to watch. Making progress is exciting to see and may appeal to anybody who is watching but it lacks the same excitement for those playing it.
Hello Neighbor is now available on all consoles and PC for players to explore. If you enjoy complicated puzzles with no guidance, then Hello Neighbor can be fun but maybe not $30 fun.