A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
There's a major focus on teamwork, with kids working together and communicating with one another to track down keys and avoid the Neighbor. But one person in each match is encouraged to lie and play along with everyone while secretly looking to betray their friends.
Positive Role Models
The kids don't have much in the way of individual personalities, but rather fit into specific class roles with special abilities. Meanwhile, the Neighbor is a menacing terror that delights in the fear of children and in hunting them down for sport.
Ease of Play
Gameplay basics should feel familiar to anyone that's played a first-person action game. There's always a lot going on, as communication between players is key to outsmarting the Neighbor. The controls aren't the most precise, which can be frustrating in high-tension moments.
Violence & Scariness
There's no blood or graphic violence in the game, but players still attack each other by tossing items or shooting slingshots at one another, which can cause damage. Plus, the Neighbor outright attacks the children, grabbing them and holding them as they are defeated, exploding into a pile of missing posters.
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Although there's no profanity baked into the game, the reliance on party chat for communication between players could easily expose them to offensive language and profanity from others.
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Products & Purchases
Spinoff of the Hello Neighbor game.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Secret Neighbor is a multiplayer survival horror game available for download on Xbox One and Windows-based PCs. Players group up in teams of six to search a large house for keys to access a locked basement in this spinoff of Hello Neighbor. Meanwhile, one of the six kids is secretly the villainous Neighbor in disguise, attempting to thwart the kids' plans and capture them before they can reach the basement. Although most players are encouraged to work together as a team to overcome obstacles, one player (the Neighbor) is also actively encouraged to mislead the others and betray them. There's some mild violence, but nothing graphic and no blood's shown onscreen. There's no profanity built into the game, but its reliance on party chat could (and often does) expose players to profanity and offensive language from others.
Is It Any Good?
Can you really trust that teammate helping you out, or are they just waiting for the opportunity to stab you in the back when you least expect it? In Secret Neighbor, suspicion and paranoia are just as big a threat as the creepy Neighbor you're all trying to evade. But that's the biggest part of the game's appeal as well. You've got the challenge of tracking down all the hidden keys in this massive house, requiring your team to work together while also splitting up to cover more ground. All the while, you're just waiting to see if your buddy really does need your help to open a locked door down an isolated hallway or if he's secretly just plucking you from the herd. It's a constant feeling of tension and anxiety, which only builds as you slowly lose contact with captured teammates. And there's nothing quite as terrifying as turning away from a friend one second, only to turn back around and come face to face with the creepy glare of the Neighbor the next. It an insane and exhilarating formula that almost makes up for its shortcomings.
Much like the disguised Neighbor, there are technical and design issues hiding under the surface that hold the game back. For starters, the controls feel stiff and clunky. It's difficult to maneuver around the cluttered house without getting tripped up on random objects or the occasional pitfall. Also, while the game's style is colorful and cartoonish, it's also far too easy for things to blend together. This is particularly frustrating when you overlook, say, a red key sitting on a red desk because it's almost hiding in plain sight. One other problem is a standard issue with these kinds of games, which is that you're required to play online. That's fine if you're playing with friends, but playing with strangers is often a coin toss. It's a lot of fun if you happen to stumble upon a good group, but if even one player is a jerk, the entire match can quickly devolve into a toxic mess that makes you want to leave this neighborhood.
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