Do you enjoy the idea of Cat&Mouse games, while also being spooked by a disguised clown? Look no further, this might be the game for you, but only if further progress is made. Tinybuilds finally released their “finished” game: Secret neighbor. So, sit down, take a drink, and let’s read what the game has to offer for you!
What do you do? In Secret neighbor, you and 6 others, enter the house of a spooky personality. In an attempt to break in to his basement to rescue another kid. But the neighbor is amongst you, disguised as a fellow player.
What we liked!
- The general atmosphere: This might be a personal opinion, but I truly enjoyed the way this game feels. You spawn into a map, which is nice and moody, dark, but not too dark, which has simple but quite enjoyable graphics. Don’t get me wrong, you get amazing graphics, but they are what you would expect from a kids show / game, almost like fortnight.
- Music / Sound effects: The game does a great job in adding music to the whole experience that make you feel like you are being haunted by an unknown entity that could jump you at any moment. And as you would expect with horror games, there is no lack of random sound queue’s with spooky tunes if some action has been performed in the game.
- Actual gameplay: The way you play the game, is somewhat smooth, but promotes the wrong actions. As a kid, you will quickly find out that staying with other kids is a MUST, since the Neighbor could just grab you, while being left with no option to defend yourself. Which is great, but it also turns out that if kids just find the first prop, they get their hands on, and start throwing it at everyone, they will quickly find out who is the disguised killer, without counter play. As the disguised Neighbor, you will find yourself matched up against multiple people that just always stick together. Which wouldn’t be bad, if there would be a way for you to just eliminate one person safely if you perform a set of actions, but as long as his friend has a item in hand, and throws it at you during the 4 second channel, the channel to eliminate a person will be canceled, and you will just be left feeling defenseless against them.
- No randomization: In the game, you need to acquire a set of key cards to unlock certain doors. But every game, you will find out that doors that require a card 1 will be located at the exact same place. It would be more entertaining if they could mix it up, so it would be more of a search to find that one door that requires your card, instead of “who can remember the map the best”
What we disliked!
- Bugs: For a finished game, there are just way too many bugs. For a start: pressing the “close game” button, does not close the game, yet it somehow freezes the frame, which will then after a good 15seconds leave you with a windows prompt saying: “Secret neighbor.exe is unresponsive, do you want to close?” (for clarification, I am not running bad hardware, i7 8700k + GTX 1080 Also I found myself stuck in lobbies where I would just sit and wait 6+ minutes for a “quick match”, to then reboot the game, and find a match instantly. In the game itself, you can find some items randomly taking off to space, or jumping around the room.
- Microtransactions: For a game which you pay 20 euro for, to then have to pay 3 euro per skin seems questionable. I would be fine by it, if the game would allow you to use the coins you earn to buy a skin as well, but that is just not allowed. You will be stuck grinding quick play games with random players for 4h+, just to buy a simple color change. Also, the store is just a literal copy of the Fortnight store.
- Open mic by default: After joining the game for the first time, I was greeted with 5 people who were talking in their room. I might be a bit of a privacy freak, but defaulting an open mic, without giving you the notification that you have an open mic, is questionable.
- Hackers / cheaters: I found myself in a few games that were over in 25sec or less. Somewhat odd, because you could literally see your team fly through walls from door to door?
- No regional matchmaking: For a game where 8000 people are online, I can’t help but think that there must be some people that speak English that could be matched with me. Especially if half of the fun in the game is talking with your team to find out who is the Neighbor, or hearing others being scared by the Neighbor. Yet, having an average of 3 Chinese people, and 1 Russian per game, makes this quite a bit harder.
Whilst being aware that this is a low score, I do think the game deserves this rating, at least in its current state. For a “gaming with friends evening”, It would earn a solid 8, but if nothing is changed about the points mentioned above, then this game will rapidly decline it player base, just to be left with a small number of diehard fans. Yes, I am looking at you Anthem community. But if you have 5 friends, and just want to have a nice time, by all means, go for it.