REVIEW: HELLO NEIGHBOUR ALPHA

Hello Neighbour, a brilliant game developed by Dynamic Pixels and Published by Tiny Build, is primarily a Stealth game although it seems to have some Horror and Psychological aspects to it as well. The game is actually full of surprises and boasts an incredibly advanced AI which can learn as you play. The aim of the game so far is to get into the Basement of your neighbour, but what’s in the Basement we don’t know. Who is your neighbour, no one knows but he’s apparently a bit of a genius. We don’t really know who we are at this point but it was still fun nonetheless. You start in your own house which has a clear view of the other house and it looks amazing, compared to yours it looks like a mansion.

I was very impressed with the graphics in this game and the lighting is absolutely incredible even though its only in Alpha. The God rays are especially well done and the engine does an amazing job of the reflective light bouncing off the floors and other surfaces as well. For a game that is so early in it development I was very impressed! As you move out of your house, and once you get over the graphics, you are hit by a wall of sound. Grasshoppers, Crickets, and general night time noises, it all helps to add to the setting and scenery. The only downside is that it is incredibly loud and there is pretty much a sound barrier, take one step and its Cricket City, take one step back and its Silence Town. This doesn’t really affect the gameplay until some other sounds come it the game but it’s only a small gripe I have with the game so it’s nothing to worry too much about. So as you continue your journey (I say journey, it’s more just crossing the road!) you get to have a bit of a look around without the guy actually being there. You can’t really go into too many rooms but you can get a general feel for the house with your first couple of attempts. You find the basement you need to get into and luckily for you the door is mysteriously open and quite enticing, so you go to open the door but are suddenly grabbed and wake up back in your own house.

hello-1

So now the adventure begins and you get to see how the AI works. There are numerous ways into the house, whether it be through doors or windows, if a door is locked you can try and make the AI open it from the inside with a distraction. For example throwing an object through a window will cause him to look at the area the object was thrown from. You can also places radios outside and he will come and investigate them when they are turned on, giving you the time to run away and hide until he is gone and then that door will be stay unlocked. If you find the right items, like hammers and crowbars, you can un-barricade the doors and windows that have been barricaded.

The AI will begin to understand or at least look at how you got into the house previously and will begin to change the environment by adding barricades to the windows or doors, or will begin to put up cameras or traps in certain areas which will force you to change the way you do things. Sometimes the AI will combine different obstacles to impede your progress, like adding traps to the approach to an area, a camera so it will detect you when you pass it and he will also barricade the window itself so you cant get in, forcing you will to think of different ways to get into the house whether it’s through distraction or through finding another route. If he catches you going this other way then the process will start again for each different route you take.

hello-2

There was something very interesting that happened after a few attempts and a few of the entranceways were barred up. I was sitting in the house looking for another way in but then all of a sudden your neighbour becomes a GIANT and began to look through my window and try to reach in and grab me. I was shocked and horrified but it got me thinking about how the game would be different if the game was from the perspective of the neighbour. Having to try and find out how someone got into your house, try and find them and barricade up the different ways they got into the house, like a tower defence game mixed with Five Nights at Freddy’s! Tiny Build and Dynamic Pixels, future DLC maybe? The game can be quite scary at times as well, all you can hear are the footsteps of your neighbour looking for you, doors opening and closing, things shifting and changing when you try to get into the house in a way most comfortable, but the game does well in succeeding on getting you out of your comfort zone. If your comfortable breaking a window to distract the neighbour and then running in he will bar it up meaning you will need to shift it and change your route, possibly coming closer to the neighbour.

I have had a lot of fun playing this game and even though it is still an unfinished product at the minute, I feel there is a lot of potential with this game! The controls at the moment are a bit sluggish when your trying to do some fine things such as climbing or jumping in a window, which can be quite irritating when your trying to run away from the neighbour! The game itself is very well thought out already and the AI does a good job of being difficult even if you can be spotted a little bit too easily in my opinion. Even for a game that is in Alpha there were a few crashing issues with it but nothing game breaking which is a bonus! I would definitely advise people to pick this game up when it comes out because it’s going to be something truly different to anything that’s out there at the minute!

Rating: 8/10

+ AI is well thought out

+ Graphics and art style are amazing

+ Gameplay is a welcome change of pace

– Can be spotted a little too easily

– Controls can be a little sluggish at times

 

CHRIS WALLACE

 

 

 

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