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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
What's it about?
Something sinister is going on in the neighborhood, and it's up to you and your friends to find out what in SECRET NEIGHBOR. A spinoff of the cult hit survival horror game Hello Neighbor, this action game tasks a team of six intrepid young investigators to discover just what's hiding in the locked basement of the mysterious and menacing Neighbor. The kids must work together to explore the house, searching floor by floor to find the keys needed to unlock the chained basement door and uncover whatever dark secrets are sealed away behind. But one of your team isn't what he or she seems to be. One of the six kids is actually the Neighbor in disguise … in fact, it could even be you. Using his shapeshifting abilities, the Neighbor stealthily sabotages the kids' efforts, misleading, separating, and capturing them, never to be seen again.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teamwork. What are some of the benefits to working together as a team? How important is communication when working with others towards a common goal?
What are some warning signs to look for that someone may be up to no good? What are some ways to recognize where to place your trust?
- Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: tinyBuild
- Release date: October 24, 2019
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Mild Violence
- Last updated: November 11, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.