PAX Aus 2017: Hello Neighbor makes breaking and entering fun again

Feature article

Hello Neighbor is described as a ‘stealth horror’ game, but this 2017 PAX Aus gem by Dynamic Pixels is so much more.

The premise of this game is straight forward – your neighbour is up to no good and you need to find out why and stop him.  He doesn’t want anyone snooping around though, and will set up traps to catch any intruders, and is routinely on the prowl himself.  The game is 3D and in the first person perspective, and while the controls of the game take a bit of getting used to, the design is immediately immersive and interactive.  And it won’t be long until you start running around the house squealing.  Or maybe that was just me.

“Hello Neighbor is a great example of how a game does not have to rely upon gore and jump tactics to be scary…”

The tone of this game could well have been darker and more fitting to a ‘horror’ genre, but using Pixar-esque graphics and novelty traps makes this a fun game for all ages.  In fact, many young gamers who frequent titles such as Minecraft are keen on Hello Neighbour for its problem-solving aspect.  Hello Neighbor does well to keep a constant level of suspense, but you will find players yell out with surprise and then laugh, as the tension is balanced with a good measure of humour.  Hello Neighbor is a great example of how a game does not have to rely upon gore and jump tactics to be scary.  It is the psychological build-up of anticipation that makes the game quite thrilling.

Hello Neighbor art

Your Neighbour is also watching... you

Yes, this game has a sinister edge, but it is handled in a light-hearted way. Think Home Alone with the hero and villain roles switched. Now stop thinking about Home Alone – I’m sorry.

Hello Neighbor boasts an ‘advanced AI’ to increase the challenge as the computer learns about your behaviours, and changes its gameplay accordingly.  For example, if you enter a room and move things about, your nefarious neighbour will be more likely to set up traps in that room. The traps are especially humorous, such as a bucket of water balancing on top of a door frame.  Even when spotted and attempting to run away, glue is thrown at you to slow you down.  It is not only the premise of this game that is unique; the learning ability ensures that each game is different and also adds to the gameplay that every move or decision has an impact.

At PAX, I noticed quite quickly that many of the people playing the game had clearly played before, and it was just as exciting to watch someone play as it was to play it myself. I was told the early trial versions of the game were quite popular and the ‘Alpha 2’ demo is available now to play.

For those of you have are anxiously awaiting the full game, you need only wait a month more, with a full release scheduled for 8th December 2017 on PC and Xbox One.