A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hello Neighbor is a downloadable survival horror game. After noticing your neighbor's comically colossal house, you are compelled to break inside and see what he's up to. From a first-person perspective, players sneak into the neighbor's home and solve puzzles to unlock hidden rooms and find objects. Aside from the focus on breaking and entering, there's no objectionable content in this title. But there is the intent to create jump scares, or to startle players after lulling them into a false sense of security with prolonged periods of silence and no action as they sneak, before they suddenly realize they're being chased or cornered. This will likely be too intense or scary for younger players.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
HELLO NEIGHBOR is a stealth horror game about sneaking into your neighbor's house and figuring out what he's hiding in the basement. In many ways, the gameplay is a reimagined version of hide and seek. Each time you're found by the neighbor, he will adapt and set up more traps to make your next infiltration attempt that much harder.
Is it any good?
This stealth action game proves that a clever concept isn't nearly enough to provide engaging or immersive play. The fact that there isn't a whole lot going on isn't necessarily an outright dismissal of its gameplay. The main problem with Hello Neighbor is it feels primarily designed for YouTube streamers than for an average player: The controls stick, the neighbor's sneakiness is meant to provoke outlandish streamer reactions for people to comment about online, and even "losing" doesn't matter. That is, in a game hinging entirely on your trying to get into your neighbor's basement, even when your neighbor finds you, all that really happens is a few additional traps are laid. That's it. You get to keep everything in your inventory and you get to try again, immediately. Although the game boasts a formidable artificial intelligence, all this seems to really mean is the neighbor will hang out where he last found you. In other words, you can intentionally be caught somewhere far away from where you intend to enter next time, and get on your merry way.
But doing that isn't exactly desirable. There's only a basic tutorial, so you're thrown in with little sense of how to even make progress at all. It's plausible that impatient players will get no further than the front door and never see confusing and amusing parts of the house like its rollercoaster and water-filled room. But the game is remarkably vague about what its puzzles are, how the controls work, and even the story itself. It feels like a game designed to garner traffic online, one for people to complain and commiserate about -- something that seems absurd, but if your kids like to watch streamers, this will make sense. It might be fun to watch someone else play, but for you to play yourself? Not so much.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about being nosy. What's the difference between healthy and unhealthy curiosity? Why do some people struggle with respecting these boundaries and controlling themselves?
What do you do when you're scared? What are good ways to cope when something is too intense?
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