Secret Neighbor is an online multiplayer version of Hello Neighbor, a spinoff that takes place between the acts of the origin. One side of the game is a party of kids searching for their friend in the Neighbor’s basement. Another is himself, able to pretend a kid. Will the kids reach the basement? Or will the host catch them one by one?
Graphics and Sound 4/5
If you have played Hello Neighbor, you’ll never confuse its style to anything else. It’s thoroughly recreated in Secret Neighbor, with bright juicy colors, contrasting objects, caricaturized faces (especially that of the Neighbor) and strange devices all around. The only trouble is that the keys you’re looking for can get lost on surfaces of the same color, though it may be a feature. As for sounds, they are designed to bear the information of what’s going on around. Given that the team is supposed to voice chat during the game, it takes even more work for them to be distinct, and so it is.
There are two parties in the game. The first is a group of kids infiltrating the Neighbor’s house to rescue their friend caught in the basement. They have various classes: Detective (good at finding keys), Leader (cheering up the others), Brave (able to escape when caught), Bagger (carrying more items), Inventor (able to make machines), and Scout (shooting the Neighbor with a slingshot). The second is the Neighbor. His abilities include building traps, pretending to be the nearest kids, and getting unstoppable after being hit five times.
The mission of the kids is to collect the keys and reach the basement door. The neighbor needs to prevent that. Despite the asymmetry, the overall balance is well, and the game doesn’t offer advantages to either side.
Being released on Xbox and PC, the game is optimized for both controllers and keyboard and mouse sets. In fact, though, the update that added support for the most common gamepad models was only released in January 2020. If you felt uncomfortable with your default PC inputs and quit the game before that, retry it with a controller.
Lasting Appeal 4/5
Multiplayer games are less predictable and thus more replayable. When played with friends, it’s fun due to communication. Random parties bring more surprises. Pleasure killers are first of all glitches. The game still has some; officially released, it hasn’t been polished enough. But innovations brought in updates pay for that.
While the overall balance is decent, and the only map is easy to learn, there are still troubles in Secret Neighbor, first of all for the kids’ team. Playing with friends is recommended, because you explore and learn the house together, and (more important) you have no language gap with them. With random mates, there is always a possibility of language issues. On the other hand, these chances make the game more challenging.
Secret Neighbor is a decent evolution of the origin. It lacks that irrationality of Hello Neighbor, its visuals are no more a revelation, and crowd exploration is not a thing anymore. Instead, it benefits from multiplayer interaction and asymmetric opposition. Definitely worthy, in spite of some glitches still unfixed.