Looking back at indie games from the last decade, the stealth horror venture Hello Neighbor might get lost in the shuffle of superior titles. Despite unfavorable critical reviews, Hello Neighbor managed to carve a unique place for itself amongst its target demographic, eventually spawning several more titles and even a small-screen adaptation. One such successor is Secret Neighbor, a multiplayer version with a twist. This intriguing game casts players as a group of children tasked to rescue their friend from the sinister Mr. Peterson’s house. But here’s the twist: One of the children is actually Mr. Peterson in disguise, determined to thwart the rescue mission.
Gameplay: Hide, Seek, and Deceive
Secret Neighbor keeps the core gameplay mechanics of its predecessor relatively intact. Played from a first-person perspective, you can explore every corner of the eerie house. Initial movement can prove rather clunky, with sluggish sensitivity and excessive motion blur. Thankfully, these can be adjusted in the settings to provide a better gaming experience.
Playing as either a child or a Neighbor depends on your luck during matchmaking. You can select from different character types while playing as a child, with some players often choosing the same character potentially as a strategy. The matchmaking process is fast, ensuring minimal wait times as long as you stick to the default mode.
Graphics and Environments: A Journey Through Darkness
Upon entering a match, you are privy to your assigned role for the game and are given basic objectives. However, playing as a child initially feels puzzling due to the lack of clear tutorial or guidance. Seeking out keys in the underlit house while dealing with clunky controls and repetitive environmental design gets tiresome pretty soon.
Assuming the role of the Neighbor, however, offers a fun role-playing experience. The game lets you adapt your strategies, choosing either to reveal your identity early or bide your time and strike when the children are vulnerable.
The Discord of Multiplayer: All Fun and No Play?
The game’s concept has potential. However, its fun quotient hinges heavily on your teammates and can even get chaotic. Unless you are playing with friends or a committed group, it’s hard to have consistent, meaningful matches. Winning a match as the Neighbor feels relatively easy, exposing the game's balance issues.
This imbalance, combined with lackluster controls and uninspiring design, dampens your enthusiasm pretty quickly unless you play with a group of dedicated players.
- Intriguing concept
- Engaging role-playing experience as the Neighbor
- Fast matchmaking
- Clunky controls
- Repetitive environmental design
- Poor game balance
- Dependency on committed team play
Secret Neighbor teases an engaging extension of Hello Neighbor, luring players with intriguing multiplayer elements. Nevertheless, the actual implementation falls short of expectations. Hindered by subpar controls, bland environment design, and a frequently disorderly player population, gameplay strays far from expectations. The scale tips heavily in favor of the Neighbor, undermining the gameplay balance. Despite its promising asymmetric multiplayer concept, Secret Neighbor falls short of delivering a compelling play experience.
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