Hello Neighbor 2, Hello Neighborhood

Ready for a sequel? Here's a Hello Neighbor 2 review where there's less focus on scares, and more on the puzzles and exploration.

Step away from the curtains! Your neighbours are entitled to guests, irrespective if they’re wearing PVC and ballgags. That’s their business. Wait: disappearing kids? Dubious moustaches outside of Movember? Better investigate Hello Neighbor 2, then.

Clever intro, huh? Don’t answer. In case you genuinely have been living behind barricaded doors and tinted windows, this is the follow-up to the popular stealth horror game of the same name, minus the ‘2’. You play an investigative journalist with lots of time on their hands, looking into the disappearance of local kids and their whereabouts.

How do you go about it? Collect lots of different objects to open new areas, then do that numerous times across the neighbourhood to locate the secrets. Unlike its predecessor, Hello Neighbor 2 allows the snoopy journo to explore more or less any house on the street, albeit, still in order, one at a time. Though mildly restrictive, the exploration element is the game’s highlight (outside of the visuals), but some NPCs get in the way.

Hello Neighbor 2 Review - Copper
Copper. Source: Steam

Hello Neighbor 2 Review

I don’t have much of a comparison, as I only played a demo of the original and reviewed Secret Neighbor – the multiplayer variant. Still, from what I understand, the first game was… scary. Jumpy, at least. This game wasn’t remotely frightening – perhaps the opening cutscene was the most terrifying, but that’s only if you’re a cowardly custard. Being pursued by the first ‘NPC threat’, Paul Blart, mall cop, didn’t add to the urgency, either. If anything, it’s annoying as should he capture you, or anyone else for that matter, you just get kicked out of the building, only for you to open a window and go back in. And that’s what happens with the villain, Mr Peterson.

Playing that demo years ago was poo-inducing; hearing a mouse fart, turning around, and he’s standing in front of you with a shovel. Even Secret Neighbor had that same skidmark factor. That didn’t occur in Hello Neighbor 2, and instead, it was more about gawping at the cartoon-like visuals and scratching one’s noggin at some of the perplexing puzzles. In some respects, Hello Neighbor 2 is a little Witness with a teeny whiff of Resident Evil. Without the zombies. Or death. Or menace.

And though it looks nice, I had to turn down the settings quite a bit. PC specs are case-by-case, but my mid-range workhorse typically plays everything at high – even epic settings. The framerate here was slightly jolty, and the movement felt unnatural. Dropping the settings down to 1080p was better, but this meant missing out on all though hi-res pixels. Again, it looks the part, and sniffing around town was good – especially the drone use, which was a standout feature for me.

Hello Neighbor 2 Review - No autographs
No autographs. Source: Steam

Knock, Knock

Regular readers will know I’m a narrative whore, so give me a decent background story, and I’ll lick the monitor while playing Pong. Regrettably, the storyline here was a hard pill for a noob. For starters, the journo you play is a victim of Mr Peterson and wants justice served by having the latter go down. To do so, he’ll need evidence, but these NPCs are there to get in the way and throw you off. Without any solid guidance in the game, the story was too scatty for me. Thank goodness that the majority of the puzzles were fun to play.

Thoughts on Hello Neighbor 2? I’m on the fence. On the one hand, you have a very good-looking first-person puzzle game (with a few action sequences), but on the other hand that’s covered in mud, the narrative is too patchy, and there isn’t much in the way of scares or urgency in the game. It’s hard to recommend due to the lack of comparison, but if you want something more fast-paced with other players, Secret Neighbor is the door you’ll want to open. Fellow lone wolves will relish in the one-player aspect of Hello Neighbor 2. Though the puzzles here are satisfying, be prepared for some interruptions, a.k.a. being kicked out of a house and then waking up with amnesia. Oh, and while I’m not one for spoilers, don’t expect full closure by the end, and instead, keep an eye on tinyBuild’s roadmap for the game…