Ever wonder what happened to Mr Peterson, the villain from Hello Neighbour? We didn’t, and he’s the least interesting thing about Hello Engineer.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that even if, like us, you don’t give two hoots about the big chinned menace, there’s plenty of fun to be had here. There’s a Stranger Things/Stand By Me vibe here, as a group of four children drive their way around an abandoned theme park.
That sounds like a cue to call Child Protection Services, but making your protagonist (or protagonists if you’re in multiplayer) a child adds a dose of charm to the game. You’re tasked with constructing your own vehicles but, being a child, you end up with wheels that look like giant donuts and so on.
The story mode guides you through the basics of construction. But if you want to go absolutely wild, there’s the sandbox mode to mess around in. The latter’s more challenging but it’s rewarding to make your own vehicle from scratch.
Whether you began with half a vehicle or you built it piece by piece, there’s a fair amount of racing. We’re talking time trials and obstacle courses here. There’s at least one boss battle in the game but, during our time with the game, no-one challenged us to a head-to-head race.
And you know what? We’re okay with that. You can concentrate on admiring your vehicle when you’re not dealing with seven other rubber-banding racers. Finally making it to the finish line under your own steam is pretty satisfying.
What we’re not entirely on board with is the game’s physics. It feels as if things are a little off. We know very little about actual construction but on the second level, our vehicle kept flipping over and bouncing around.
We’d used the parts provided and, as it turns out, moving very slowly was the key. Not all the single-player levels are so frustrating but it wasn’t a great introduction to the game. Vehicles and items in general could do with a little more weight.
Multiplayer mode has plenty of promise, letting you save and share creations. And the single player mode throws in enough non-racing stages – collecting items and so on- to stop things from getting dull.
It isn’t the only build-em-up out there. Terratech, for example, is more flexible but it’s a little tougher to get into. Hello Engineer, on the other hand, offers a clear direction if that’s what you’re after and the option to go full sandbox when you’re ready.
If you want a straight up racing game there are plenty of other options. But if you’ve a craving for some Tears of the Kingdom-style wacky construction antics (with more components than you can shake a stick at), you’ll have a blast with Hello Engineer.
Originally a Google Stadia exclusive, Hello Engineer is available now on Xbox, PC and Nintendo Switch. We played it on PC, with a code provided by the publisher.