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Hello Neighbor 2 offers impressive open-ended puzzling and one creepy villain

The 2017 video game Hey Neighbor had a scary theme. It followed the narrative of the main character Nicky Roth, who, with the help of the player’s input, invaded the maze-like home of a deranged guy who had a few too many sinister secrets up his sleeve. Without giving too much away, the first film’s three main acts were full of the kinds of horrors one might encounter if they ventured into their sketchy neighbor’s basement in the middle of the night, only to discover them creeping around the corner with a hatchet in their hand and a menacing glint in their eye.

But, the typical neighbor does not hide horrific secrets in their basement behind traps and puzzles, thus Hey Neighbor 2 may be the next big thing for anyone who has ever dreamed of unravelling mysteries in the middle of night. Try Hello Neighbor 2, not at home, or rather, at your neighbor’s house.

While playing a demo of Hey Neighbor 2 at PAX West a few weeks back, I found that amid the hiding and terrified running that soon followed, there was a pleasant 30-minute chunk of fiddling and playing.

Neighborly comforts

My Hey Neighbor 2 demo’s opening moments were quite demeaning. Dazed and disoriented, I awoke in a barn and used a crowbar and various trinkets to smash together a large door that allowed me to stroll out into the broad outdoors and eventually into my neighbor’s house. The physics and inventory systems took me a while to understand. Nonetheless, I ultimately discovered that I could toss a rock to shatter a glass case that contained one of the numerous gears needed to open the large door, and that accomplishment alone was cause for celebration.

I quickly escaped the barn and made my way to the large clearing outside, where I caught my first glimpse of the house I was supposed to be hiding out in. The Hey Neighbor 2 demo’s geography is rather condensed and centers around a two-story house with a porch and the property’s surroundings. I wasn’t able to truly solve any of the puzzles, but I was still quite happy to explore and get a sense of how intricate the level design in Hello Neighbor 2 was. There were several unrelated items to pick up that had various intended applications, such as a shovel I used to uncover a specific prize.

There was also a really cool part where I had to swiftly adjust a number of picture frames within a certain amount of time without being seen. This task became significantly more difficult once the neighbor noticed me.

Squeaky wheels

If there wasn’t a constant lurking possibility of being discovered and, most likely, turned in to the authorities, breaking into a neighbor’s house wouldn’t be quite as thrilling. Theodore Masters Peterson, a regular neighbor and antagonist from the first Hello Neighbor, has a tendency to act in an unconventional and frequently aggressive manner. Fortunately, he’ll just throw you outdoors without any of the goods you might have gathered and had in your inventory if you were caught in the first level of Hey Neighbor 2 instead. Given what he did to the last person he caught looking about his house, that’s definitely a fair trade.

I had the impression that the wicked next-door neighbor was just around the corner because the AI is still razor-sharp. This is due to the fact that the house is also rather open, with rooms spiraling into one another. This provided numerous opportunities for ambushes. It took some getting acclimated to the place, and even while I figured out the layout rather quickly, the extra tension of being pursued or followed was constant.

You’ll also need to be aware of noise because the floor is littered with glass shards. Making noise is necessary to solve some challenges, such opening a safe, but you can also use sound to trick the AI attacker. For instance, I fled away while luring the neighbor into a room filled with squeaky toys. This was only one of numerous tactics that might be used, and I’m really curious to see how Hello Neighbor 2’s open-world strategy performs later on when I’ll ostensibly have a much greater play area to occupy.

The same Hey Neighbor 2 demo I played at PAX is now accessible to the general public if you can’t wait to get your hands on it. It is presently available for free download on Steam. I can state with certainty that Hey Neighbor 2 is something you should keep an eye on when it debuts on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch on December 6.