Over the past few years, I have become increasingly fascinated with PC games. I downloaded Slender: The 9 Pages the day I learned about it, after which I could barely even play the game out of sheer terror. I got sucked into the craze of Five Nights at Freddy’s and have spent no shortage of time attempting to create my own theories to explain the madness the story has become. I’ve also been wanting very badly to play Undertale, but for whatever reason, I keep putting off creating a Steam account. I’m weird, I guess.
The newest PC game that came to my attention was Hello Neighbor. I guess I’m mainly drawn to horror games because this one, like Slender and FNAF, falls under that category, though it’s totally not what you’d expect. You see, your objective is to…well…the thing is…you’re supposed to break into your neighbor’s house and try to find out what he’s hiding in his basement.
Once inside, you’re tasked with solving puzzles and the like in order to get ever deeper into his house, with the goal of finding the correct tools to unlock his basement door. All the while, the neighbor is supposed to learn your actions and plan accordingly. He may leave a bear trap in a doorway you frequently pass through or place security cameras facing a window you keep entering. Sometimes, he might just lie in wait for you himself. It’s all pretty cool, and if you want to get through the game’s demo versions (Alpha 1, 2, and 3 are available right now), you’d best do so on as few tries as possible. The more attempts it takes, the harder it gets.
Now, before I go on, I wanted to address one question you may be asking. Who exactly is the villain here? Well, many people have already questioned whether or not the “neighbor” is the villain or if it is, in fact, the player. The only crime the neighbor is guilty of that I am aware of thus far is kicking you out of his house once he catches you, which he is clearly justified in doing. Or…as is the case of the Alpha 1 version, burying you alive in a coffin, which…is rather harsh, I guess. Then again…
Ahem. With that out of the way, there’s a lot of things about this game that interests me. I’m a fan of any game that lets you solve puzzles and which has a mysterious story to uncover. I also like a good scare, and though this game does not provide you with the same kind of “horror” as games like Slender and FNAF, it’s still pretty frightening being chased through the house by the neighbor, justified though he may be. I also love the semi-real-world physics this game offers and the “smart AI”, as they call it. But what I think I have enjoyed the most about watching this game on Youtube were the differences between each demo.
I rarely watch demo versions of games, so seeing the changes made to a game in progress was all pretty interesting to me. The neighbor’s house is arranged differently every time. The outcome of opening the basement door is also entirely different between versions. There are also smaller changes, as well. In Alpha 1, the neighbor’s house is far more whimsical and less realistic. There’s a shark swimming around in one room. There’s a classroom and a shooting gallery upstairs. There’s even a grave in one of the ground floor rooms, which you can dig up. Alpha 2 allows you to put sleeping pills in the neighbor’s milk. Alpha 3 takes place at night and forces you to find a flashlight before you even stand a chance at finding your way around. And bottles of glue have the surprising ability to slow the neighbor down if he’s chasing you.
It’s all going to make for a pretty unique game once the completed version finally comes out, to be sure. I might even consider playing it myself once the final version is released. In the meantime, I can at least divulge what I would like to see from the completed game. Honestly, I kind of liked the really random rooms in Alpha 1 because you never knew what you were going to find. In later versions, much of the neighbor’s house is comprised of mostly empty rooms containing random boxes, which is not terribly interesting. For the final version, I do hope that the neighbor’s house will be arranged and furnished more like a regular house, with maybe some of the whimsy of Alpha 1 returning for good.
I also hope that whatever lies behind that basement door isn’t…too creepy. I find the game quite fascinating, and I hope that whatever the basement holds doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth, so to speak. I mean, FNAF went from animatronics that mistake you for an endoskeleton without its suit on to a complex story about a child murderer. Yeah. That kind of ruined some things for me. I really hope that we don’t find out some similar disturbing history behind the neighbor. I would greatly prefer it if what the basement contains is interesting and surprising rather than scary. That’s all I can say.
Video from Youtube User: GameSpot
Who else has been following the demos for Hello Neighbor? What would you like to see in the completed version of the game? And if you are not familiar with this game, does this sound like something that would interest you? Please let me know in the comments.
Image from Flickr User: AustriaGaming