Review By: Gabriel Strange | Posted: 26/04/2004
The Final Word
All in all this is not a game for me so the rating may seem a little low, however I?m sure for a younger audience the rating should be at least 20 points higher.
Well I'm open to new gaming experiences and new challenges, so I decided to have ago at this game. To be fair it's not a bad game, but it is by no means groundbreaking or exiting, it's just a mindless bit of fun. One thing I will say this games would be much better aimed at the younger pre-teen audience, however because of the considerable amount inferred cartoon violence it might not be suitable for some children.
I'm unsure as to how much I can write about this game, as the concept is quite simple and has little depth other than basic puzzle solving which eventually breaks down in to a process of elimination. I think most gamers should avoid this title as like me you will probably play it once or twice and then never pick the box up again. However if you have young pre-teen children it might be worth a look at, as it could potentially help develop hand eye co-ordination and observation sills, as well as basic problem solving by a process of elimination.
The basic premise of the game is two neighbours who are trying to get one up on each other have decided to take a vacation. It seems that one of the characters, the one you play, is the vindictive type, and the other, is a grumpy old fart. There is defiantly no depth to the story, and it seems a case of what you see on the cover and what you read on the back has more depth than the actual game itself. Again this is why I don't recommend it to gamers, but think it should be targeted at a younger audience.
Having never played the first instalment of Neighbours from Hell, I cannot compare this to the original and cover any advancement in the engine or game design, this will limit the review somewhat, but I will try my best to give this game a chance.
The control method and ease of use of this game comes primarily form the simplicity, or the point and click engine, beyond a few mouse wiggles and the odd left click your not going to need any more controls. Though they are simple they are implemented very well and there is no situation where you can grumble about problematic controls or bad configurations.
Most of the action is fluid and most of the time the characters will go where you want them to. There are odd occasion where you will click to move your character and they will take a deferent route to the one you planned and you will end up getting the crap beaten out of you by your neighbour. As I said this is all cartoon violence and nothing overly graphic is shown, so providing you have fairly sensible children this should be ok for them.
All of the graphics are pre-rendered sprites, and most of them are well put together and suit this style and feel of game. You never left in a situation where you feel thee graphics are lacking, but then again in the age of 3D, a 2D game can be considered to retro for most people. I think a few extra frames in the characters movements would defiantly help the fluidity of the game.
From a themed point of view, the graphics and menus have all been pulled together nicely, everything has a good feeling for the whole vacation aspect, but it would have been nice to see this implemented in 3D rather than 2D.
Nothing astounding it the sound department, all of the sound is functional and works well without being to irritating. The ambient effects are well done and do pull each scene together a little more, but there is noting to flash in the way they have been implemented.
The kids will love it?
The 3+ on the front of the game packaging is very telling and this should be a good guideline to the age group it has been aimed at. Most children between the ages of three and five would probably get a good amount of enjoyment out of this title. It offers enough of a challenge for the developing mind, but offers no challenge to a developed mindset.
Even thought he game has a low age rating, some parents may be a little concerned at the over emphasis of violence in this game. The fact they you have to be nasty and cause harm to another in order to gain points and beat the level, might just be a little too much for children. However I know many children these days can tell the difference between reality and fantasy, and as long as they can do that with this game, I think they will get many hours of game play and fun out of it.
Though not ground breaking, Neighbours from Hell 2, offers something for a younger audience, and offers nothing more than some minor titillation for the older crowd. I would suggest if you after something fun to help your young child develop their coordination and problem solving skills then have a look at this game. It's deceptive and will look like any other game but the kids won't see how it's helping them. As most educational titles are a bit boring and not the kind of things modern kids want. This will come at them form the blind side and get them developing new skills without them suspecting it's educational.