For the amount of hype that was behind the original Hello Neighbor, the game didn’t really hit its stride outside of a niche audience, and due to that it sits at a 38/100 score on MetaCritic. Two years after the release of Hello Neighbor, developer Dynamic Pixels took another shot at the concept, this time with Secret Neighbor, only this time one of your play group would actually be the neighbor in disguise!
An Asymmetrical Twist
If you’ve played the original Hello Neighbor, gameplay in Secret Neighbor will feel very familiar. You’ll be skulking around your neighbor's house looking for your friend, and avoiding the neighbor at all costs. You’ll be doing this in a team, but one member of your team will also be the neighbor, and they will be laying traps and trying to halt your progress. You’ll need to learn who to trust here in order to succeed. Unfortunately, it is relatively easy to defeat the neighbor once you work out who they are – so there isn’t a great balance. It’s a cool twist for the series though, as playing against a human is going to be much harder to learn how to deal with. We have seen this type of gameplay make the rounds in recent years, with games like Evolve, Dead by Daylight and Friday the 13th, so its nothing new, and not really that innovative.
An Ooky-Spooky Setting
In Secret Neighbor, the house is dolled up. Halloween decorations litter the walls, and really carry a Scooby Doo-ish vibe to them. You’ll be seeing a lot of the same patterns and rooms throughout your time with the game, so it’s a relief that they look as aesthetically sound as they do. They don’t really fit though, as the game is trying to be a horror, but it comes across more like a Courage cartoon than a real reason to be scared.
A Fleeting Nightmare
You’re not likely to play Secret Neighbor for a long time, as the average across its player-base on Steam is just five hours, and the playerbase itself is also quite small for a game that requires other people to function. You’ll have a hard time finding a match and an even harder time keeping the drive to play it. I’d suggest you get your hands on Puppet Master: The Game instead.
Secret Neighbor, whilst a solid improvement over its predecessor, isn’t that great of an experience. They are much better alternatives out there like Dead by Daylight, and it’s just not that memorable. Making horror games work with a colorful, cheery aesthetic is difficult, and while I do like the look of the game, it doesn’t lend itself too well to the overall theme of the genre. Coupling this with the balancing issues between kids and neighbor, and you just don’t have a very good game on your hands.
- Great Halloween aesthetic.
- Interesting concept for the series.
- Balancing issues.
- Struggles to find a mix between scary and cheery.