I’m suddenly very happy that I’m too old to play hide and seek.
When Hello Neighbor released back in 2017 when it first released, it seemed like everyone was talking about it. Its intelligent A.I. learned how you played and used it as a way to make the game continuously more difficult and that was a pretty cool concept. In spite of its unique premise though, Hello Neighbor just wasn’t that good. Our own impressions of the game were pretty unfavourable, and on PC it has a Metascore of just 38. Yikes.
The question became whether or not Hello Neighbor’s prequel, Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek, could improve upon what its predecessor didn’t do so well while keeping consistent with what many believe to be the strong points of the original.
Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek is follows the neighbor’s (Mr. Peterson’s) daughter Mya who is playing hide and seek with her brother. Their game of hide and seek acts as the main backdrop of the game and it give players some of the insight into why Mr. Peterson is as, well let’s just say “peculiar”, as he is.
You start your game of hide and seek with your brother inside the Petersons’ home, but soon it moves to a more magical place – inside Mya’s imagination. As you move from chapter to chapter, the settings change and each place is just as intriguing as the last. One second you’ll be in a lush forest setting and then you’ll be trying to find bags of money in a game of cops and robbers.
Random items will be strewn about each level and your goal is to collect them before your brother Aaron finds you. Aaron takes on the role that the neighbor had in the original, where he will learn your pathways each time you get caught. For example, if you start the map going right every time, eventually he’ll be looking right immediately and catch you. If you switch up your routine, he has a much harder time figuring you out. It isn’t too terribly difficult to avoid Aaron; climbing up on a rock, or hiding in some tall grass is enough to do it, so the AI isn’t as intelligent as it may seem. The gameplay can be a bit clunky, but overall its pretty easy to get down after playing for a few minutes.
Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek doesn’t do anything particularly innovative aside from taking the concept of the original and moving it into the mind of a young girl. It’s also much less scary, and there isn’t quite as much urgency as there was in Hello Neighbor. Still, I managed to actually play the game for an extended period of time, which is more than most can say for the first. It’s a step in the right direction in some regards, but still don’t expect it to blow you away.