Neighbors back From Hell is a short but enjoyable remaster that only suffers from the lack of replayability.
Genres: Point and click, Adventure
Developer: THQ Nordic, JoWooD, FarbWorks
Publisher: THQ Nordic, HandyGames
Release date: 8 October, 2020
Neighbors back From Hell brought me right back to my childhood days when me and my fellow classmates played the original game at our elementary school. As we were devious little kids, causing harm to others in this game was something we all found very amusing. So, I naturally had to get my hands on this remaster, which consists of the first two games, to find out whether it is still an enjoyable title and if it is actually worth getting.
The game’s protagonist, Woody, is trying to enjoy life by relaxing in his beautiful garden. That would be way too perfect, so his neighbors, called Rottweilers, make his life miserable. They throw garbage onto his garden, making clamor all the time, and heir dog even excretions near his glamorous flowers! Being fed up with them, Woody gets in touch with a TV group with which he has but one goal to achieve: prank his neighbors during various situations and humiliate him in front of the entire nation. Shame that this company does not operate in my country, as I could provide them with content for dozens of seasons.
That basically sums up the whole plot, as there are not any cutscenes or dialogues except the introductory one. Woody just takes his revenge viciously, and he does not allow his neighbors to rest even during their holiday! I would say it is quite a commitment to follow the Rottweiler family across the world to Mexico and other places. Well, to each their own, the TV show must continue, I guess. Although I was quite surprised about how far is Woody willing to go in his pranks. I mean, trying to kill a neighbors’ dog several times? That is quite sick. And impressive at the same time.
Neighbors back From Hell is a point and click game focused on simple puzzles. It is that kind of game you will find relaxing to play rather than thinking about how to proceed next. Due to that, my playthrough went pretty smoothly, without any problems whatsoever, and I finished it in around five hours, with completing all the challenges.
The game firstly introduces you to your neighbors’ house, which divides into several rooms, adding new ones in the latter levels. Although they always look quite similar, the interactable objects and items change throughout each mission due to the neighbor’s different activities. For example, he has a birthday party one day, while the other day he is busy with housework. As revisiting the said house would be boring, you are going to visit various exotic countries, such as China or Mexico, in the second half of the game. That creates a sweet variety, as every mission plays differently, so I was motivated to continue in the campaign.
We are here to make fun of our neighbor, though, not to admire the scenery! To do that, you have to explore the locations and find items, which can be anything from food, various tools, chemicals, and so on. Once you have them, you need to use them in appropriate places to set up the traps. A short, entertaining animation starts playing after each successful prank. So, you can witness your neighbor getting hit by electricity or eating way too spicy meal. Sometimes you can use an environment in a weird but hilarious way, such as giving a cricket bat to an elephant, who proceeds to beat up the neighbor’s dog into unconsciousness. Do not ask me. While I cannot say I laughed loudly every time, unusual situations like this made me chuckle a bit.
Well, just walking around and being mischievous would be effortless, so you have to avoid the neighbor, who roams around constantly. He does have a designated path, though, so he cannot really surprise you. Sometimes, his parrot or dog guard an area, so you have to sneak around them. If you accidentally cause havoc, you have to quickly find a hiding spot, such as the wardrobe, or the neighbor will catch you and introduce you to his fists. The problem is that the neighbor does not walk in some locations in certain levels, thus making them easier than others.
The remaster also adds a small additional gameplay mechanics. For example, you have to sneak around a sleeping person now instead of running around. There is also a new minigame when searching for items in bins or boxes, which reminds of slot machines. On the other hand, there is some missing content, as it does not include three missions. Adding aspects that make it a bit better while removing other ones just leave a bittersweet taste in my mouth.
Audiovisuals & Performance
With what this remaster undoubtedly shines are the newly updated graphics and animations, which is especially visible in the missions placed in the exotic countries, as they are very colourful. The cartoony art style looks beautiful and is pretty detailed too. The music, sounds, and gibberish noises made by the characters just add to the funny nature of this game.
The game was tested with an i5 8300H, GTX 1060 6GB, and 16GB RAM, running at the highest settings, at 60 frames per second, at 1920×1080 resolution. While the game runs smoothly without any problems, it does not have any graphical settings whatsoever, which is something I would expect from a remastered version.
Even though I had a fair amount of fun with Neighbors back From Hell, I can only recommend it to people who do not mind the lack of replayability, while the others should wait for a sale. Because even despite its issues, it is still a solid title.