The “Neighbor” franchise continues to expand, this time with a multiplayer focus to the action. This is straight up a single map, cooperative game. You play as one kid in a group that’s attempting to break into the bad neighbor’s basement through the collection of keys. It’s a rather strange objective that kids would want to get into the basement of a stranger, but that’s the goal here. It sounds relatively easy, but it actually isn’t.
This house is a maze, and one of the kids amongst you is actually the neighbor in disguise! Mind blowing, right? So there’s that dynamic to play, some of you are working together while one is against the team and being mysterious about it. It’s an interesting concept quite honestly, and you’re never sure who might be the one to betray you. You’ll need to be careful if you’re ever alone, as that will either be an opportunity for you to be attacked or perhaps for you to catch a kid.
Remember that you can take on either role, and it’s interesting. For the most part things will be rather tame, you’re going around looking through the house for keys. There are many rooms, and neat layers to this place. Each match the area slightly changes, and that will require slight adjustments to your strategies.
It handles fairly well, whether you’re going around fiddling with drawers to find the keys or if you’re catching the other kids in the group. Kid wise you’re able to hold objects to throw at the neighbor or to use as an assistance on your journey around the house. There are multiple character classes to play as, each has a special ability. In the overall menu you can customize the kids quite a bit, with some options for the neighbor too. That character has more abilities, such as an object disguise that really doesn’t help much.
Other than that you can switch into your regular mode from a kid to grab them. The goal is to catch them all. You can also level up with machines that are placed around the map. If you die you spawn in a central area and will need to shift through bookshelves to come back. You do lose if you can’t stop those meddling kids from unlocking the various locks on your basement door. With the core gameplay mechanics discussed, time to jump into other elements of play. The game doesn’t quite run well, even on the Xbox One X. There are performance issues present, and also matchmaking issues as well. The lobby setup could have definitely been handled better.
This is also a very repetitive game, there’s the single map and the lack of variation will make this be something that you’re likely to drop fairly quickly. They did a good job with the house despite it basically being from the main series and copied over here. You can interact with tons of objects, and the house does feel like quite a maze with many levels of verticality to it. Also, wish the sprint was a single push to use instead of you having to hold the stick down as that’s tiring.
Secret Neighbor is a multiplayer game that can be fun at times, while also being rather repetitive and having a number of issues involved. There just isn’t enough to this, if they expand it further they could have something special here. It lacks content, despite having a really nice in-game coin system for customization and perhaps a fun core experience. It’s just really shallow, and lacks depth.
Sometimes it also gets quite boring with the changes to the setup that was made in a recent update. I can see this being fun for a short period of time, and then you’ll easily move onto other tiles. I can see this being a ghost town in the future, so get in while it has players swarming it. I compare this design to what Dead by Daylight presents. This just being more kid friendly despite it featuring a creepy old guy grabbing kids.
This is definitely meant for the younger audience, don’t worry, it’s fun as opposed to scary just by how it’s designed. I say the game I’ve mentioned as the idea is somewhat the same, this just doesn’t have enough to it to make it compelling which is a shame. Hopefully we see this get expanded upon and cleaned up a bit performance/matchmaking wise as there’s potential within this one. I do believe it’s my favorite of this awkward series thus far.
Read our Dead by Daylight Switch Review
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Secret Neighbor Review on Xbox One X