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A Hat in Time

05 October 2017
A Hat in Time - cover art
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3.81 / 5.0
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851 Ratings / 5 Reviews
#477 All-time
#20 for 2017
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GB 5 060146 467797 LA-H-ALBLA-EUR
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Title
It's a Me, Hat Girl!
A Hat in Time isn’t shy about its inspirations. The jump/forward dive/midair recovery combo had me thinking Super Mario 64 [スーパーマリオ64] right from the start, and A Hat in Time has liberally cribbed many other elements from that classic game as well. Stars have been replaced by time pieces but they function in much the same way – grabbing one kicks you out of the stage and collecting enough of them unlocks new areas to explore.

It’s not a game above criticism. Collision detection is wonky; there were times when I got stuck inside a wall and hand to completely restart a stage. Some checkpoints seem poorly placed, and after falling in certain spots I felt like the walk of shame was overly long. Subcon Forest is too easy to get lost in and Alpine Skyline is too meandering. Targeting and attacking enemies feels janky. The story is hit-or-miss and the Italian/mafia stereotypes are cringeworthy. (Although, to be fair, Mr. “Itsa-me” Mario isn’t exactly innocent in this regard.)

But hey, you know what? Running, jumping, and collecting hour glasses is a blast, and the game’s simple sense of fun is more than enough to overcome any rough edges. A Hat in Time leans hard into its influences and does not disappoint.
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toadhjo 2023-03-08T07:36:30Z
2023-03-08T07:36:30Z
4.0
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Tons of personality and everything you need to make a good platformer. The gameplay isn't tight enough to be worth more than a 3/5 though. Still very much worth playing.
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Brandon657 2022-08-11T03:46:12Z
2022-08-11T03:46:12Z
2.5
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The existence of A Hat In Time makes me feel old. It never occurred to me how long it’s been since 3D platformers have been relevant in the zeitgeist of gaming. After doing the math, I realize that it’s been long enough to where the existence of a revivalist 3D platformer game seems appropriate. The years have just slipped on by. 3D platformers made up some of my favorite games as a kid while the genre was still relatively fresh. These types of games always offered solid control, a fair challenge, and the most varied level themes and layouts. Alas, a once shining star always has to burn out eventually and the 3D platformer went the wayside to the new wave of first-person shooters and open-world sandbox games. Unlike the bright, effervescent graphics and comedic tones present in the 3D platformer genre, these games opted for gritty realism and stone-faced seriousness. These games also controlled much more rigidly than the consistently fluid 3D platformers. Needless to say, this changing of the guard left me feeling disenfranchised with gaming for quite a while. I always had the 3D platformers I grew up with to go back to, creating a nostalgic comfort zone that I almost feel embarrassed by. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who blanketed themselves from the emanate lapse of time by immersing themselves in the era of 3D platformers. Otherwise, what would be the impetus for creating A Hat In Time?

As I’ve expressed before, nostalgia is sweet and comfortable, but cloudy and vapid. It’s nice to indulge one’s sweet tooth in the recesses of their past once in a while, but not to the extent where someone becomes close-minded and hopelessly stuck in the past. New ideas, deviating from old trends, and expanding artistic capabilities are what sustain any medium. Vegetating in the bliss of nostalgia is never a practical means of progress. While A Hat In Time is a new release, it doesn’t seem like its existence of spells out an influx of 3D platformers, ready to take back its throne from battle royales and open-world games. These revivalist games are passion projects of indie developers who create these games because triple-A developers have abandoned them out of catering to new, marketable trends. These indie developers may have the passion and the dedication to create something in the vein of a bygone era, but might be limited by budgetary restrictions. These indie developers tend to be so destitute that they resort to collecting funds from online sources like Kickstarter, a source with a less than stellar reputation. It begs the question: why do we need these technologically inferior revival games when we already have the older triple-A titles that are still enjoyable? A game that is often compared to A Hat In Time is Yooka-Laylee, a revivalist 3D platformer game from an indie developer that came out the same year. Its mission was to act as a spiritual successor to the forsaken Banjo-Kazooie series. While the developers obviously understood the source material, Yooka-Laylee was too uninspired and marred by amateurish, indie developer hiccups to make any real impact. The game just makes you want to replay Banjo-Kazooie. While A Hat In Time wears its influences on its sleeves, it is not the same insipid, nostalgia-wankery that Yooka Laylee is. A Hat In Time uses its influences to create something considerably fresh.

In saying this, the games that have inspired A Hat In Time are the crux of its foundation. The most obvious influence is the 3D Mario games, especially Super Mario Sunshine. Like the Mario games, A Hat In Time’s levels is divided between “episodes” that showcase a different area with a different setting and theme which are accessed in the game’s hub world. More specifically to Super Mario Sunshine, the trajectory of each episode is confined to a specific objective. The background of the sub-chapter is presented with a series of overhead shots, having the player survey the scope of their objectives exactly like in Super Mario Sunshine. Instead of receiving stars or Shine Sprites after completing these objectives, the player receives timepieces; floating hourglasses that sparkle like diamond jewelry. They may emit a different glow than stars and Shine Sprites from Mario, but act as the same platformer Macguffin object that furthers the game by collecting them.

The timepieces do however hold a specific power that holds some stake in the story. Hat Kid, the vague moniker of the protagonist, is an adorable, spunky little lass with a mysterious background. She seems to be a space traveler, warping through the hidden realms of the universe in a spaceship that is just as precious as she is. She seems to be doing all of this under a severe lack of supervision, so is the protagonist really a little girl? My theory is that her true alien form is intangible to most beings, so she presents herself as a little girl in a corporeal form, also reflecting her effervescent nature. If she is a little girl, she’s got quite a heavy responsibility: guarding the timepieces in a vault on her spaceship which she also uses as a source of fuel for her ship. One day while parked over an unknown planet, someone from “The Mafia” knocks at the glass on her ship, badgering her to pay a fine for floating over their planet. This altercation turns perilous as the man punches the glass window, breaking it and creating a vacuum that sucks Hat Kid and all of the timepieces into the gravitational pull of the nearby world. Hat Kid arrives in Mafia Town, the base of operations for the man who accosted her and his uncanny cohorts. Hat Girl isn’t the only peculiar little girl here. Another little girl nicknamed “Mustache Girl” is seen here fighting The Mafia with more of a passionate vigor. Hat Girl and Mustache Girl work to defeat The Mafia’s boss in the fourth episode of Mafia Town and dismantle their establishment. We then learn about the powerful time-bending properties of the timepieces when Mustache Girl carelessly drops one, putting the importance of Hat Kid’s goal to collect them in perspective. Mustache Girl is spellbound by the opportunities these timepieces could have, mostly plans to vindictively stomp The Mafia even further into the dirt. Hat Kid rejects Mustache Girl’s proposal and Mustache Girl leaves in a huff. They form a rivalry that is fueled by their desire to retrieve the remaining timepieces and the rest of the game is a race between the two to gather them all up for their own prerogatives.

An essential aspect of any 3D platformer game is control. In a genre that requires a lot of precise jumping, the objective quality of a 3D platformer is marked by its fluidity in movement. Considering that A Hat In Time is a grassroots indie game funded by donations, the level of quality in the controls may be a legitimate concern. While I can’t say that the controls in A Hat In Time are exactly refined, it compensates well with the range of Hat Kid’s movement. Hat Kid can double-jump just like any other 3D platformer character, but her trademark method of traversal is a mid-air dive that can be followed up with a mid-air cancel to maintain momentum. The player’s skill with the mid-air dive move will directly affect traversing at any point in this game. Traversing the levels in the game will often make the player feel like they’re flying, mostly thanks to this mid-air dive move. It makes playing as Hat Kid feel less like Mario and more like Spider-Man. Hat Kid’s expansive range of movement is tested to its fullest potential in the time rift sections: isolated timepiece challenges that are obviously inspired by the FLUDD-less sections from Super Mario Sunshine. It’s pure platforming bliss, an emphasis on the bliss factor of these levels thanks to the ethereal design and peaceful music track. These levels are pure ecstasy.

Hat Kid’s weapon of choice to combat the denizens of this planet is an umbrella. It’s a weapon that fits her quirky personality, but not as effective one as you could probably imagine. The umbrella doesn’t have any range of attack and the only way to use it well is to flail it recklessly when an enemy is coming right for Hat Kid. A more practical method of combat is a homing dive that sort of acts like the homing attack from the 3D Sonic games. Once Hat Kid is airborne, an indicator button will pop up, guaranteeing that Hat Kid will home in on the enemy. It’s a move that compliments the fluidity of the game and one that doesn’t interrupt the pace of Hat Kid’s movement when platforming. Like most 3D platformers, the game isn’t very combat-oriented as the enemy placements are designed as sums of the level, scattered around the level to breathe more life into it. While the combat isn’t consistently enthralling, the boss fights certainly make up for that in spades. There are only a few bosses in the game, but each of them is multi-phased fights that are all surprisingly lengthy for 3D platformer bosses. Each boss is unpredictable and they don’t falter by implementing the platformer trope of waiting for an obvious weak point. The more combat-focused fights here never break up the quick pace of Hat Kid’s fluid movement.

Assisting Hat Kid in both combat and level traversal are the different hats and badges acquired throughout the course of the game. The material for the hats is scattered all over each level and Hat Kid knits these hats after acquiring an arbitrary number of their raw essences. Each hat gives Hat Kid a different ability that is mostly used for traversal. Some of these different hats are required for certain parts of certain missions, but can also be incorporated to change up Hat Kid’s array of movement. The Sprint Hat lets Hat Kid execute a lunge, the Brewing Hat cooks a short-ranged projectile, the Ice Hat transforms Hat Kid into a solid block of ice that lets Hat Kid launch herself from different ice panels, and the Dweller’s Mask materializes platforms and objects for a short period of time. All of these hats are utilized greatly in the game except for the last hat, the Time Stop Hat. This one is acquired very late in the game and is only used for one mission. Hat Kid can also implement a smattering of badges, alternate abilities for Hat Kid separate from the hats. These badges are bought from a mysterious merchant with pons, the game’s form of currency. Most of these badges are for the sake of novelty with some of them having negative effects like not being able to sustain a single hit. However, some prove to accentuate the fluidity of Hat Kid’s movement such as the hover, Hookshot, and no bonk badge. This is my optimal combination of badges to make traversal the smoothest for Hat Kid. All of these different abilities are most likely taken from Psychonauts, another classic 3D platformer in which the protagonist has a large array of gadgets and abilities. However, Psychonauts uses these a little more cleverly than in A Hat In Time as each ability and gadget is used for more than just traversal and simple novelty. The aspect of this that A Hat In Time has over Psychonauts is the customization options. A plethora of different designs and color pallets are available for Hat Kid in a roulette accessed in the hub. I may be impatient and apathetic with character customizations in most games, but mixing and matching Hat Kid’s aesthetic is something I take great joy in.

Platforming and combat always feel smooth and gives the player the sense that any mistake made while platforming is due to their performance and not the games. This factor in the gameplay is ideal for any 3D platformer. The same cannot be said for wall jumping, another staple in the 3D platformer genre present in the game. On such occasions that Hat Kid cannot make it up to a higher platform, she will run up the side of it in an attempt to save face. Oftentimes when a platform is still too high to run up it, there is usually another high wall parallel to it for wall jumping. This usually amounts to something I’ll call “wall scaling” as most platformer characters will hop from wall to wall without running up it. These moments can be quite finicky at times and Hat Kid might not jump in the intended direction after scaling the wall, resulting in a mismatched jump that punishes the player unfairly. Sometimes, the camera will move erratically during these segments, and being able to accomplish the intended trajectory of the jump will practically be based on chance. This doesn’t happen very often and isn’t a severe detriment to A Hat In Time’s gameplay, but the inconsistencies with the fluid control illustrate the cracks in the foundation one would expect from a Kickstarter-funded indie game.

I suppose that the Kickstarter level of quality bleeds into the graphics of A Hat In Time as well. The cel-shaded graphical style greatly compliments the bubbly tone of the game, but they lack a certain level of refinement. The character models are outlined rigidly with their physical features looking very “drawn-on”. The graphical layout of each level also seems to follow the same amateurish level of quality. For a game that takes the most inspiration from second-generation 3D platformers, A Hat In Time bears the rudimentary qualities of an early platformer game. In an era when the genre was considered a radical advancement of video game potential, developers could get away with the platforms looking like blocks. The platformers of the second generation refined the graphics to make the platforms less obvious. A lot of the terrain in A Hat In Time looks about as subtle as the blocky platforms from Super Mario 64. I also noticed many unrefined sections where some of the foregrounds looks as if it was neglected to be enhanced by the developers. These sections tend to be hidden from plain sight, but show inconsistencies in quality as a whole. A game that was made to usher in an extinct genre, revitalized for a modern gaming climate, is ironically many steps down from the games that are generations older than it. Then again, I guess I have to put the Kickstarter funding into consideration.

I suppose I can’t fault A Hat In Time, or Yooka-Laylee for that matter, for their lackluster execution. The indie circle of game developers cannot compete with the frills of triple-A gaming, even with the triple-A games of generations past. From a technical standpoint, these revivalist games cannot hold a leg to their influences. Yooka-Laylee is a Kirkland brand Banjo-Kazooie, not a worthy successor. Being a successor to something sort of entails a leap in quality, or at least something comparable. A Hat In Time is not technically on par with its influences, but it’s anything but pastiche. The winning factor of A Hat In Time that gives it its substance is its astounding level of heart and charm. Do you know that aged adage about how if you keep making a face it’ll stick? If that were true, I’d hold a perpetual smile on my face thanks to A Hat In Time. It’s a game that seems self-aware of its shortcomings and compensates for them with buoyant creativity.

Hat Kid herself is the centerpiece of the overall bubbly tone of A Hat In Time. Her innocent and adorable persona is just too much to handle. She’s constantly touting a wide smile on her face, even when another face is scowling at her. Besides her variety of hats and color-pallets for her clothes, there are smaller touches to her character that add to her charm. She seldom utters a word but is not quite the typical mute protagonist. Anytime she does speak, it’s a darling pipsqueak voice that is irresistible. She has two reaction options on opposite sides of the d-pad. One blows a kiss and the other blows a raspberry. Neither of these is useful, but that didn’t stop me from constantly alternating between both reactions ad nauseum. Hat Kid’s ship, the hub-world of A Hat In Time, is Hat Kid’s kingdom of cuteness. The design and color scheme of it answer the seldom asked question: what if little girls had the opportunity to design the interior of their own spaceship, no holds barred? The answer is exactly the look of this hub world. The beige and pink color scheme signal an almost sickeningly sweet pallet that no one passed the age of 10 would find appealing. Hat Kid has a pool of pillows complete with a diving board in her room, and diving into it reveals a hidden fortress where she catalogs the events of the game in a secret diary. A Roomba constantly vacuums the living space and Hat Kid can even ride it like a dog (which looks incredibly painful for the Roomba). The central computer even comes with a fully interactive text-based adventure starring a Corgi. This might just be one of my favorite hubs in all of gaming, and I’ve never lived a day as a little girl in my entire life.

Every chapter in this game is also oozing with the enchantment of the same degree. It’s difficult to summarize the overall charm easily because each chapter is so contained with its own characters, tone, and objectives. This level of charm and creativity also fluctuates through the course of all four chapters. Mafia Town presents a relatively open level situated on an island with palm trees, seagulls, and a towering lighthouse. It’s the chapter in this game that reminds me the most of Super Mario Sunshine, namely the Ricco Harbor level with its industrialized beachfront setting. According to a developer, this level is inspired by a town in Greece which might explain the bald, olive-skinned Mafia members that have set up shop here. As imposing as one might expect the Mafia to be, A Hat In Time does a great job making them as endearing as everything else in the game. They all speak broken English through an accent ripped straight from The Soviet Union, which I never get tired of hearing. They might seem to be a formidable force, but Hat Kid plays them off with whimsy and humor like Bugs Bunny does with Elmer Fudd. Some of the background mafia members even squeak when you hit them. The members of the mafia might do some dastardly, albeit cartoonishly bad things like tie up Mustache Girl and strap her to a pyramid of explosive barrels, but their stronghold here is the least heinous front I could imagine the mafia doing: cooking for their prestigious seafood restaurant. Mafia members are even wearing aprons that say “kiss the cook” on them. I want to collectively kiss each mafia member on their bald heads.

While Mafia Town was certainly an enjoyable experience, the next chapter is the one that won me over. “Battle of the Birds” takes place in a film studio that is divided between two rival bird directors who viciously compete every single year to win at the bird studio equivalent of the Oscars. Hat Kid gets wrapped up in performing the lead role in both director’s films and both have completely different creative visions. The Conductor is an (owl?) who sports the most exaggerated Scottish accent since everyone’s impressions of Shrek. He specializes in thrilling steam train-oriented westerns involving a murder mystery and defusing a bomb on the train. DJ Grooves is a fat penguin donning an unabashedly garish disco suit with a big, puffy afro. His vision is in the vein of flashy dance films like La La Land. As the player progresses through the chapter, a meter between both directors will increase on either side. This signifies the winner of the film competition. What the game doesn't tell the player is that the score of the bird you dislike the most should be the higher one. The winning birds will be exposed as a cheater and they'll be the chapter's final boss. They’re both wankers, so the decision shouldn’t be too difficult. I chose DJ Grooves because I am biased against guys who unironically wear disco outfits post-1979. . This was the chapter that solidified my praise for this game because of how creative it was. In terms of narrative, the developers borrowed more from the quirky, irreverent Paper Mario games more than the 3D platformers. Yet, they still managed to execute something so bold in narrative with the platformer elements still being used to the finest degree.

“Subcon Forest” is another impressive chapter that delves into the horror genre, definitely not expected from this game at first glance. The chapter takes place in an eerie land with a very light-hearted, Halloweeny vibe and aesthetic. The prime force of this land is a being referred to as “The Snatcher '', a ghoul-like figure with a jovial presence and a wide, Jack-O-Lantern smile. He catches Hat Kid off guard and forces her to sell her soul to him in exchange for timepieces. These tasks involve a myriad of things including fighting a possessed toilet and delivering mail to his minions. He tries to oust Hat Kid once all of his missions are complete, but Hat Kid overcomes his ghoulish grasp in a duel. Once he loses, The Snatcher becomes annoyed with Hat Kid and tells her to get lost. Hat Kid then starts making new contracts with him to be her best friend and play with her. At that moment, The Snatcher’s cold heart grew two times its size. Mine certainly did when this happened. While “Subcon Forest” is as subversive and substantial as the previous chapter, The Snatcher is not the reason why I hold it in high regard. One of The Snatcher’s missions, “Queen Vanessa’s Manor” is an exemplary piece of horror in gaming. Hat Kid ventures off to a gothic mansion in the hidden, icy realms of Subcon Forest. The one denizen inside is Queen Vanessa, a forsaken queen marred by years of loneliness and jealousy that has reduced her to a horrific, indescribable form with one twinkling red eye. This mission is a stealth section accompanied by a storm, menacing music, and the creepy, ominous dialogue from Queen Vanessa. If her eye catches Hat Kid, the screen will get blurry as she’ll run at you like an angry hornet, hoisting Hat Kid up by her neck where she will meet her doom. This isn’t just a horror section in the vein of a cutesy platformer: it’s genuinely one of the most terrifying and hair-raising sections in all of gaming. Eat your heart out, Silent Hill.

Unfortunately, the last chapter in the game is where the quality of creativity and charm flatlines. “Alpine Skyline” is an open-world chapter in which Hat Kid swings past a series of cliffs with their own themes. One is a mountainous birdhouse, one is an active volcano, and my favorite of these is a moody, borderline psychedelic bell with waterfalls and strange architecture. Unlike the other chapters, there are no interesting characters or creative narratives. In any other platformer, this would have been an acceptable level. As I’ve explained before, A Hat In Time’s strength is not its world-building or technical prowess. Without the elements from the other chapters, “Alpine Skyline” just doesn’t deliver on the same impressive scale.

After a certain number of pieces, Hat Kid will unlock the attic of her ship to the final level. Since we’ve last seen her in Mafia Town, Mustache Girl has been liberally using the timepieces she’s found to set up an intimidating fortress where she sits on a throne judging essentially every character in the game on their morals. If they don’t meet her criteria of “good” (which none of them do), she sentences them like a ruthless emperor. The run-up to Mustache Girl is obviously taken from the Mario games as everything is reminiscent of Bowser’s castle. The fight with Mustache Girl has an epic scale, but the finale here feels undeserved. By the time we fight Mustache Girl, so much has happened in the game that is completely removed from the narrative of Mafia Town. I’d be surprised if some players forgot about Mustache Girl and her grievances with the mafia at this point. Nevertheless, it’s an epic final fight that effectively incorporates all of the familiar faces in this game (except that of the horrific Queen Vanessa) to aid Hat Kid in her battle against Mustache Girl. Hat Kid then gets to journey back home while all of her new friends beg her to stay.

It almost feels like the final level in A Hat In Time was just to wrap things up like any other 3D platformer. Each episode is so contained with its own unique properties that wrapping them all up with this fight seems inappropriate. The conflict with Mustache Girl and The Mafia is only one plot in the game, so it feels uneven to incorporate elements from the other chapters as a whole finale for this game. However, I realize that this is only from a point of progression in the sense of the game. Narratively, it ties the individual experiences of Hat Kid as a whole. The surprising depth of A Hat In Time comes with a lesson of forgiveness. As Mustache Girl climbs to the top, she becomes the villain over all of these imposing forces; the mafia, deceitful, ego-driven directors, and even demonic spirits. She’s a giant hypocrite that turns into what we sought out to destroy. Even though The Mafia might have wronged her in the past, her consuming anger lets her become more insidious than they ever were. Hat Kid on the other hand faces these imposing forces directly and tries to see the best in them despite their malevolent intentions. In turn, they end up supporting her when she needs it. It’s an old lesson from the dustiest of Aesop’s Fables, but having these themes in a video game gives A Hat In Time a surprising depth underneath the endearing presentation. Mario certainly never had any underlying themes like this. .

Generations on, the 3D platformer genre that was a staple of my childhood is still deader than disco. Revivalist games made by indie studios make a valiant effort to recreate this forgotten era, but it comes off as a shameless nostalgia-fueled re-hash with inferior elements. A Hat In Time bears all the markings of games like Super Mario Sunshine and other games of that ilk, but the end product is not the slimy afterbirth of the Italian plumber. It’s a unique experience that kept a stupid grin on my face for the entire time. The game is often compared to Yooka-Laylee due to its similar, retro-inspired initiative, but the quality between these games is totally unequal. A Hat In Time proves to us that games like this needn’t be forgotten, and treats us to the first great 3D platformer of the current generation. Hell, I liked this game even more than Super Mario Odyssey. Nintendo may have had all the branding and money to secure another good Mario game, but A Hat In Time beats it with its large, ever-beating, beguiling heart.
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Erockthestrange 2018-04-17T02:38:17Z
2018-04-17T02:38:17Z
8.5
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The golden age of 3D platformers has long past. With the exception of the Galaxy games, 3D platformers have largely fell out of popularity in the modern, mainstream gaming landscape. Recently, however, Kickstarter has created a platform for fans to crowdfund projects which may not have the mainstream appeal to secure corporate funding. Out of this recent crowdfunding phenomenon emerged a couple games which have aimed to revive the 3D platforming genre, the two most notable examples being Yooka Laylee and A Hat in Time.

Yooka Laylee released first, and was met with lukewarm reception from fans. Aside from the game's technical issues, the biggest complaint leveled against Yooka Laylee was its alleged failure to update the formula of the old 3D platformers which inspired it. Not only did critics say it failed to innovate, but also that the basic formula felt dated, and that it didn't work in the current gaming landscape as well as it did back then.

So how does A Hat in Time do in that regard? In my opinion, it doesn't do much to innovate on basic mechanics, although it does a great job of framing levels in different and interesting ways. First off, the movement mechanics are tight and satisfying. It's a shame that they aren't really given a chance to shine, as the difficulty never escalates high enough to force the player to master its mechanics. I feel like there was an effort to keep the game accessible to all age groups, which makes sense given how kid friendly it is, but I would have really appreciated more challenging areas, perhaps as optional content. The gameplay itself is quite standard when it comes to 3D platformers. The basic gameplay loop consists of running, climbing, and jumping through the levels, acquiring collectibles, discovering new powers, light puzzle-solving, and the occasional boss fight. The real star of the show here, though, are the unique ways A Hat in Time frames all of this through its unique level design. While the first world (Mafia Town) is a fairly standard, open level, the subsequent worlds apply many interesting twists. The second world, for example, is split in half as you help two competing groups who are trying to win a film award. On one side, you have to participate in a murder mystery, while on the other, you must lead a marching band, jumping rooftop to rooftop as you avoid falling into the masses of adoring fans lining the streets below you. While neither of these scenarios drastically affect the fundamental gameplay behind it all, they manage to make it feel fresh, and keep the player on his/her toes.

While I'm on the topic of the game's basic mechanics, I have to say that the combat was pretty underwhelming. Often, the combat encounters felt tacked on and unnecessary, particularly whenever the combat felt like it didn't relate to the platforming. There are some good examples, like bouncing off enemies to get to higher platforms, or using an explosive enemy to rush you through an area, but for the most part, the basic enemies didn't add much to the game, and their presence was more of a nuisance than anything else. On the other hand, the boss fights were actually really good, mostly because they revolved around the player's platforming skills to dodge the boss' interesting attack patterns.

The biggest thing that A Hat in Time has that Yooka Laylee lacked is charm. Hat kid is adorable and super memorable, as are many of the game’s other characters. The worlds themselves are also quite fun and interesting, from an island taken over by a mafia of cooks, to a spooky forest that teeters between a child-friendly, Halloween-like atmosphere, and some genuinely dark bits.

At times, however, it felt like A Hat in Time was going through an identity crisis; I couldn't tell what audience it was aiming for. On one hand, the content is mostly kid friendly, and the difficulty is low enough for a younger audience to complete. But on the other hand, the game coasts on the nostalgia of the golden age of 3D platformers, there are some actually creepy moments in the Subcon Forest (e.g. the fox spirits which exclaim “we want to die!” and the talking nooses with dialogue like “I wouldn’t mind being strapped around a cute neck like yours”).

This is really a part of A Hat in Time’s biggest problem in general: inconsistency. The game definitely has some really good moments, but unfortunately, it can’t maintain that quality all the time. This, in combination will the lack of major innovations on an old genre, prevent A Hat in Time from being as great as it could have been.
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Gaj7 2017-10-23T22:06:11Z
2017-10-23T22:06:11Z
3.5
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Catalog

Gynoplasm A Hat in Time 2024-04-12T05:24:24Z
Windows / Mac
2024-04-12T05:24:24Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
anthinja A Hat in Time 2024-04-11T16:14:08Z
2024-04-11T16:14:08Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
citrus3 A Hat in Time 2024-04-09T01:16:49Z
2024-04-09T01:16:49Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Beo A Hat in Time 2024-04-03T05:31:30Z
2024-04-03T05:31:30Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Psychochimecho A Hat in Time 2024-04-02T01:33:45Z
2024-04-02T01:33:45Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
finnaboing A Hat in Time 2024-04-01T05:19:04Z
Windows / Mac
2024-04-01T05:19:04Z
8
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Dafinition A Hat in Time 2024-03-31T23:37:30Z
Windows / Mac
2024-03-31T23:37:30Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
foiebump A Hat in Time 2024-03-31T17:57:08Z
PS4
2024-03-31T17:57:08Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hi
rimibuin A Hat in Time 2024-03-30T22:28:34Z
2024-03-30T22:28:34Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Aappen21 A Hat in Time 2024-03-28T20:55:57Z
2024-03-28T20:55:57Z
7.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
pkhg_ A Hat in Time 2024-03-26T07:58:57Z
2024-03-26T07:58:57Z
4.0
2
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
GlitchwaveAccount A Hat in Time 2024-03-25T17:33:25Z
2024-03-25T17:33:25Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • Previous comments (24) Loading...
  • ssguiss 2023-08-25 16:51:36.907076+00
    Murder on the Owl Express is probably my favourite level in any 3D platformer ever
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  • ssguiss 2023-08-25 16:53:10.153457+00
    and Battle of the Birds in general tbh. perfect
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  • Drawdler 2023-10-29 01:59:20.050897+00
    Wait I knew I hadn’t played this but how the hell do I not even own this. Oml im ashamed
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  • blendernoob64 2024-01-24 01:28:29.515623+00
    This game has charm for days. I love the character designs and writing. I just wish the platforming was more interesting and challenging
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  • eebyhead 2024-01-28 13:46:49.033765+00
    Very lovely platformer but loses a lot of its novelty after the first playthrough.
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  • charredwind 2024-03-03 22:02:54.627824+00
    quite fun. one problem i had is that the movement is liberating enough that it can be hard to tell where the game wants you to go due to it feeling like you can go anywhere
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  • babyclav 2024-03-28 21:32:29.912868+00
    The cute aesthetic made almost everyone forget how mediocre a platformer this really is
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