My Friendly Neighborhood review
There is a growing fatigue among horror aficionados when it comes to mascot horror games. These games are often marked by a charming and innocent-looking character somehow associated with a corporation that met a tragedy, transforming the wholesome cartoon ambiance into a twisted corruption. Five Nights At Freddy’s has been triumphant in this genre, but other games like Bendy And The Ink Machine and Poppy Playtime have started to wear out the fandom. Garten Of BanBan, with its austere art style, was the last straw. Gamers are fed up with the unvarying appearance of these games.
Now, the game titled My Friendly Neighborhood has joined this genre, but with a delightful twist. It is refreshingly distinct and even enjoyable in comparison to other mascot horror games. Remember, DreadX, the publisher, has already released a similar theme game named Amanda The Adventurer, yet this game offers a storyline more intriguing and developed than Amanda’s adventure.
In the game, Gordon O’Brian, a repairman known for his brusque behavior, stands on the verge of termination. His final chance at redemption is to turn off a massive antenna atop the City Network Hotel. This specific location was once the hub of an old scrapped TV show, My Friendly Neighborhood. The unexpected twist is - this ghost studio is populated with puppets now. Unlike their original adorable portrayal on TV, they now display uncanny aggression, prone to giving a powerful hug to anything in sight. With the elevator inoperative, Gordon is trapped amidst the chaos, commanding him to not only navigate the entire studio to reach the antenna but also to unravel the mysteries of the place.
The game guides the players through a gradually expanding, open world, similar to a child-friendly version of Resident Evil Village. Each stage is unlocked progressively, challenging the players with puzzles and threats alike. The weapon options are amusingly designed to fit the cartoonish theme, like a text-shooting pistol or a page-blasting shotgun. Even the heavy-duty minigun offering the highest ammo counts but lacking the reload feature is bizarrely cartoonish.
Contradicting the usual dread-filled aesthetics of mascot horror games, this game revels in its gentle and playful vibe. Its characters are not portrayed as petrifying figures, unlike Five Nights At Freddy’s or other games. The game does have an undercurrent of a storyline, but nothing so convoluted that it would require a visit to the game’s wiki page for clarity. Instead, the game is proudly cartoonish with a sprinkling of slight innocuous scares.
Aesthetically, the world is captivating and intricately designed. The environment resonates with the theme, providing insightful details about the game. You will be constantly stalked by unique puppets in each area, but once you figure out their necessities, these puppets will cease to pose a threat. Additionally, the various intriguing endings add to the excitement, adding replay value, and the grading system encourages a repeated exploration of the world.
However, the game is not flawless. Its save-point limitations, endlessly repeating dialogues, and unpredictable combat sequences might bother some players. However, the overall experience outweighs these minor frustrations, thanks to the game’s refreshing approach and a surprisingly emotional storyline. Priced at a reasonable $30, its demo gives players a look into the game to test the waters before hopping onto this comical yet terrifying neighborhood. Intrigued? Will you be our neighbor then?