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Hello Neighbor 2 Review – Fun with Caveats

Hello Neighbor 2 is a first-person stealth horror game developed by Eerie Guest and published by tinyBuild. It released on December 7, 2022, on PC, Xbox and PlayStation and this review focuses on the Steam version. A sequel to the 2017 original game, you play as Quentin, a local investigative journalist living in the strange little town of Raven Brooks. The gameplay features a mix of stealth exploration and puzzle solving and while the puzzles are clever, playing cat and mouse with house habitants got frustrating quickly.

After witnessing eccentric architect and engineer Mr. Peterson kidnapping a boy. He spots you from across the street. Spooked, you attempt to drive away but you see something in the road and swerve to miss it, crashing into a nearby barn. This acts as a tutorial area where you need to figure out how to leave the barn. You need to find cogs that are hidden around the barn, smashing glass and climbing blocks to search every nook and cranny. Once out of the barn, Mr. Peterson catches you and knocks you out, taking your camera and the evidence of the crime with him. There are some elements of horror here, more so in the final chapter, but with the cartoon-like visuals, it’s more an intriguing premise than being straight up horror.

You wake up in your bed with a bandage on your head, and then you are left to explore. But we just got captured by a potential kidnapper. Shouldn’t we be bound and held in a basement or something? I hadn’t played the first game and so struggled to know what to do next. I looked around and found objects like a camera and drone, but then ran around the open planned town aimlessly without direction. While you can look through windows, you can’t get into any of the houses. For a good 15 minutes I was running around aimlessly wondering what the heck to do, until I saw a policeman on the steps of a house. I ran up to him thinking that’s what you’d do if you had witnessed a crime, but he knocked me out. I woke up on the road outside the same house looking back at the policeman, and I was confused as to what I was playing.

I snuck around the side of house and found a back entrance. Inside, I came across rooms in the house that had police tape, signifying crime scenes. Then in walks the policeman who spots me and subsequently chucked me back out onto the street. Turns out you must avoid the policeman, even though I had evidence that implicated Mr Peterson in a kidnapping and must solve the riddles of the house in order to do… something else. I know this is a sequel and I should have looked up YouTube videos, but a quick flashcard of a tutorial tip or two would have been excellent.

The first house had several puzzles to solve, all of which needed this, that and the other to be discovered, collected, cut out and put together with a whole combination of things. It involved a mix of clever logic as well as searching every corner for interactable items. There are cupboards placed around the house that you can hide in if you think you may have made too much noise, or if the policeman spots you, you can run to them if you manage to break line of sight.

If you had picked up some items as you explored but then get caught, you will lose everything you had found in that house. Basic tools like crowbars and scissors that you found in other buildings are ok. The AI of these characters is quite smart and will usually hang around the area they last see, hear or have caught you. As I was getting close to solving all puzzles in the first house, the damn policeman kept snooping close to the last clue and so for a good little while I had to play cat and mouse to draw him away, but he is quick! Eventually I got it all pieced together and escaped from the basement.

There are four major locations that you will need to progress through before coming to the final location. You’ll visit a baker, a taxidermist, the museum and the mayor. However, while I was having fun solving various types of puzzles in each location, I was struggling to see what the point of the story was. It wasn’t until I went and watched YouTube videos of the first game’s cutscenes that I realised how deep and impactful the overarching story of the first game really is. If you are like me and never played the first game, at least watch some of the story videos summarised on YouTube first to get yourself up to speed. It makes a lot more sense now.

Getting to the final location in Hello Neighbor bought it all home for me and I felt bad for not knowing the full backstory before playing through the game. It was here where the only real horror nature of the game was felt as you tried to escape from Mr Peterson. At the end of the credits, we are informed there is more to come, and then we are left to freely explore around the town.

Overall, Hello Neighbor 2 is a decent puzzle game that requires stealth to avoid house inhabitants but needed more horror moments. As a straight puzzle game, there was very clever logic and hidden objects to find and use together. I went in not knowing much about the first game which was a mistake as there is very little instruction or connection as to why you’re going between each house. Some simple tutorial prompts would have helped a lot, but it came together at the end and left me wanting more.

This review utilised a Steam key provided by White Label PR, and Hello Neighbor 2 is out now on PC, Xbox and PlayStation.


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