2017 has been a great year for gaming and it is also a nice trip down the memory lane with the resurrection of classic 3D platformers. It started with the release of Yooka-Laylee and continued with Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. We had many great platformers released this year so far but A Hat In Time is one of the surprise release of the year with its great world design, charming humor and an enjoyable platforming experience.
It is rare to still see a great collectathon 3D platformer. Even if we go back in history, there weren’t many games that stand out much today, so imagine my surprise when I played A Hat In Time and found myself stuck in the world, searching around every nook and cranny to uncover secrets. As my first look at the game was in the form of its original Kickstarter, I wasn’t really expecting such depth and attention to detail in its gameplay. The original pitch felt like a fairly simple platformer that was inspired from games like Super Mario 64, but the final game manages to stand up on its own rather than appearing a copy cat of another game.
The main character that you will be taking control here is called the Hat Kid. As a platformer, the story presented here is mainly intended as a backdrop to create the worlds and offer witty and humorous dialogue. The opening introduces the player to the Hat Kid, who is flying in her ship which is fueled by a magical hourglass. Things don’t go as smooth for her once she has to face a mafia goon who comes to her ship to collect toll from her. The aftermath of this leads the Hat Kid into a journey across the multiple worlds in order to collect back the hourglass time pieces which are required for the ship.
As a platformer, it was important to nail the movement and feel of jumping throughout the world and it seems like the developer have paid extra attention here. Jumping feels just right so you won’t have much trouble with navigating the world. It might not be as fluid as Super Mario Odyssey, but it is also above the quality level that one might expect from an indie game. The jumping is combined with a series of sprinting and double jumps to offer some fun playable levels.
The worlds that are presented in A Hat in Time are not your standard platformer level, but offer a lot more to do aside from jumping and find collectibles. Some of these change the journey forcing you to go stealth, others attempt to present an ever evolving mission structure by taking you on a string of quests. The writing here is genuinely funny with some witty dialogue often cropping up now and then. Each of the world is expertly crafted and centered around a theme that relates to the characters inside, the mission structure and the enemy design.
A Hat in Time also works with a progression based system that lets you unlock new abilities as you make your way through the different worlds. Some of the abilities like the Hookshot and Dweller’s Mask lets you access new locations. The way the abilities work here is instant so if you want to switch between them in the middle of performing a series of jumps, it is simply a matter of pressing a button. This blends in nicely with the already seamless jumping segments.
You won’t be simply roaming around each world trying to find collectibles or attempt missions. The game also presents some boss fights, some of which can end up being rather memorable. These boss fights don’t present much challenge for the most part, although their encounter with the main character is executed well here. Aside from that, you will be able to discover time rifts hidden across each level. These usually offer a challenging platforming segment that will test your skills, however since these are optional, you can also skip them.
Visually, the game is not exactly a technical masterpiece but I feel like it is all intentional. The game is inspired from the platformers of the 90s so the developers are trying to bring the same look here. It looks fairly modern though with the clean sprites and the colorful visuals. The soundtrack is great for the game and I really enjoyed some of the music presented here.
A Hat In Time Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: A Hat in Time is a platform game developed by Gears for Breakfast and published by Humble Bundle for macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
A Hat in Time is a cute and whimsical 3D platformer that draws inspiration from many of the cult classic games in the genre. It brings together a richly detailed world with multiple levels, a quirky cast of characters and supplements it with some fun gameplay systems.