So you probably don’t know this about me, but I’m a certified chicken when it comes to most things horror related. That aspect about me doesn’t exclude video games. In fact, because of the interacted nature of video games I found them more frightful. So I general live my life like Scooby-Doo and run away from anything horror related. Recently, I decided to test my courage and play Hello Neighbors 2.
So let me be real with you for a sec…I never played the first Hello Neighbor game. It wasn’t that it didn’t look good; it was pure cowardice on my part. I couldn’t draw up enough courage to check the game out. I say this to preface that I had no insight into the story or the lore of the world going into playing this game. That said despite my apprehension of all things spooky, I enjoyed the suspenseful ride that Hello Neighbor 2 had me on even if the game is full of frustrating aspects.
Let’s Dive into it.
In Hello Neighbor 2, you play as a Dyslexic investigator who’s on a mission to find evidence of against a suspected serial kidnapper. The Serial kidnapper is the poster boy of the franchise, “the more than meets the eye”, Mr. Peterson aka the neighbor. You creep and his house and others in the neighborhood to find the damning evidence to expose the neighbor, while tries to hunt you down.
It is an interesting premise that you don’t (well at least I don’t) see that often in games. It is a shame though that such a cool concept becomes undone a bit by the game’s lack of consequences. For example, if you get caught you’d think that you’d become another victim of the neighbor. Instead of that reasonable outcome, you are simple thrown out of his house and free to try again.
I get that it’s a game and leaps of logic have to be taken in parts, however this unravels the whole narrative. Instead of seeming diabolical and menacing, the neighbor’s aura becomes non-threatening when he just throws you off of his property.
Now let’s talk about the gameplay. You are going to be disappointed if you are expecting a action game where you can fight back against Mr. Peterson. This game is essentially a point and click suspenseful puzzle game. You go from area to area and solve various puzzles while trying to stay out of Mr. Petterson’s hands.
The puzzles are a bit different from what you would expect. Instead of the obvious in your face puzzles that we typically get in games, Hello Neighbor 2 challenges your sense of observation. For example, you might walk into a room and see that a photo frame where some pieces of the photo are missing or a toy robot is missing his arm. You set both those right and the game gives you some way to progress further. It might be a tool that you can use to solve another puzzle or the key to open up a new room. This is the gameplay loop for the entire game.
The Game also gives you the ability to hide in things like closets and cupboards to avoid your hunters. This is a mix bag. While it is a cool gameplay mechanic it does halt the pacing quite a bit. There were times, in which, I’d rather just be caught so that I could hurry and get back to what I was doing previously.
The game’s artstyle is something that makes the game stand out. It has this really unique Jimmy Neutron meets a Dreamworks movie vibe going on. This artstyle really helped take some of the edge off of what could have been and maybe should have been a much more terrifying experience.
The puzzles are creative, but if you aren’t observant or good at puzzles then this game isn’t going to be for you. The game doesn’t really hold your hand and tell you where to go next. This is great for those that like a puzzling challenge, but will most likely alienate those trying to get into the genre.
The major flaw is that everything about this game comes undone by its narrative. It’s an easy plot to poke holes into the story and when that happens it becomes a hard game to take seriously. As I mentioned before the game’s Tom and Jerry-like chase also loses its fear factor due to the game’s lack of consciences and stakes.
Overall/Should You Play Hello Neighbor 2:
If you are a fan of point and click puzzle games or light horror games then the answer is a yes. Don’t take the story too seriously and if you are patient when it comes to puzzles games then this game is a short game that is easy to recommend. If none that doesn’t describe you then you probably should skip this game.
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