How does your child play this? Alone, with friends, with family? How did they discover it and what kept them coming back for more?
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On the set of a now-defunct fictional Saturday morning puppet show, not unlike Sesame Street, something strange is happening. You play a repairman sent to investigate and are soon fending off the come-to-life puppets and trying to survive.
Play involves exploring the street, buildings and our houses to solve the mystery of what is going on with the puppets. Drawing on the slow-creeping zombie survival of Resident Evil, alongside the dystopian world of Bioshock, this is a horror survival game with a kooky puppet twist that makes it all the more disturbing.
As you progress you learn the geography of the set and discover make-shift weapons to defend yourself with. There's only so much you can fit into your grid-style inventory which means choosing your kit intelligently is crucial.
The result is an unsettling mascot horror game full of different puppets to meet and defeat. While more mature players may find the thin conceit and simple gameplay questionable. But to get hung up on this is to miss the point. This is a game that leans on the strange and the weird rather than jump scares to unsettle its players. It has a surprising deep fictional back story about the Vietnam War and its impact on that world's media landscape. It's all wrapped up in multiple endings that depend on how you do.
Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked My Friendly Neighborhood 7 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 6 months ago.
Unlike other mascot horror games, the intention here isn't to turn from cut puppets to shocking horror. You are simply flung to the ground when caught. There is no blood and no jump scares. When you shoot the puppets they yelp and rag doll into the distance.
9+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. You need to be able to solve positional puzzles as well as navigate the world under some considerable pressure. Although there's no actual gore the scary and disturbing nature of the game still requires resilience.