Hello Puppets!
Follow Genre: Stealth horror adventure
Developer: Otherworld Interactive
Publisher: Otherworld Interactive
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Hello Puppets: Midnight Show – Review

Site Score
8.8
Good: Unique gameplay for a stealth horror, Great combo between scary and silly
Bad: UI looks a bit childish, Sound design could have been better
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0
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While puppets are often meant to invoke a sense of childish whimsy, for some people they are more horrifying than cute. There’s an uncanny valley vibe to them people can’t shake, and the horror genre hasn’t hesitated to cash in on that with games like Five Nights at Freddy’s and Poppy Playtime. Hello Puppets! VR was also one of these games, but it was sadly, as the name implies, only playable in VR. Developer Otherworld Interactive decided to bring their franchise to a wider audience with Hello Puppets: Midnight Show. Once more, it is time to dive into the studio where the Handeemen live and see if we can break the curse – or die trying.

Hello Puppets!

Story

An impressively animated cutscene introduces us to the setting of Hello Puppets: Midnight Show. We play the game as Owen Gubberson: master puppet maker and creator of “Mortimer’s Handeemen”. This popular children’s TV show is close to being canceled, and in a desperate bid to keep his show on air Gubberson decides to try an ancient ritual to bring his puppets to life. What he’s hoping to accomplish remains unclear, but it definitely wasn’t for the Handeemen to turn out to be murderous maniacs. Locked in the studio, Gubberson only has one night to try and reverse the ritual if he doesn’t want the puppets to get out and stain their hands with the blood of many more humans.

The game has a lot of deeper, more complex lore that you can discover through finding audio tapes, written documents and even solving optional puzzles. Your experience won’t be any less enjoyable if you skip them, but the plot is quite intriguing and it allows the ending to make more sense if you put some effort into revealing the lore, so we highly recommend it.

Graphics

Overall, this game has a pleasing visual style. Leaning more towards cartoony exaggeration over realism was a good choice for a horror game with a more silly approach. The puppets themselves look horrifying despite seeming a bit silly, perfectly straddling that line where they’re convincing as the main characters from a children’s show while still being unnerving to look at. This doesn’t work in every aspect though. The UI of the game, such as the stamina bar and the inventory, look almost too cartoony and out of place. Obviously, this is pretty subjective, but it makes the game look a bit cheap in our opinion.

Sound

When we previewed this game, we noted that the music was basic but not bad. That hasn’t changed much. Some new songs have been added but nothing that stands out and the chase music is pretty standard, meaning it will get annoying fast since you’ll be hearing it a lot. The voice acting is still top-notch though, especially from the puppets. Insanity drips from their every word in a delightful way. Sadly, their lines are repeated often, wearing out their welcome quickly.

Gameplay

Hello Puppets: Midnight Show is a stealth horror game. It only has three levels, but they’re giant sprawling mazes with rooms, puzzles, and items moving around randomly each time you play, meaning you can get a very different experience each time you decide to try and reverse the ritual. There are also three different puppets that can chase you, with them being slightly different in personality and the methods they use to hunt you down. This keeps the game from growing stale and makes it enticing to go back even after finishing it once, to get achievements and lore you’ve missed on your first playthrough. The goal of each level remains the same: you’ll have to find and unlock the exit.

Obviously, this isn’t going to be as simple as it sounds. The game is littered with puzzles you need to solve and items you need to find. One interesting element is the battery system. Everything in the studio that requires electricity needs a battery to function. You can take batteries out of machines and carry them around in your limited inventory, but this does mean you should employ some strategy in your actions. Being smart will serve you well since the game doesn’t give you a lot of stamina. Don’t expect to outrun these puppets. Try to stay out of their sight and don’t make any noise, hide in lockers when you can while completing quick time events to stay hidden, but most importantly be smart about using traps and other special items that can either stun those chasing you or allow you to bypass hard puzzles.

The game only has one difficulty setting and can be very unforgiving. Originally there was an instadeath mechanic but this has been adjusted to a system where you have three lives. Still, the puppet AI can be ruthless, with the Handeemen using their own traps on top of the time limit that forces you to keep going. Most people will like the challenge, but it would be nice if there was an easier difficulty available for those who prefer to focus on the story and puzzle-solving rather than running for their life all the time.

Conclusion

Hello Puppets: Midnight Show is both a great second installment for fans of the franchise and a good starting point for new players to jump in. As far as horror games go, this is a lot more silly and humorous than it is outright scary, but the gameplay is fun and the unforgiving nature of the puppets chasing you still induces some fear. If you don’t mind a lot of trial and error, or horror with a more relaxed atmosphere, this game could be right up your alley.

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Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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