A Hat in Time is a 3D platformer developed by Gears for Breakfast and published by Humble Bundle. It tells the story of a little girl’s journey throughout the universe to retrieve the lost Time Pieces and eventually return home. The game starts with you being awoken by an automated alert system and you are met with an individual from the dreaded Mafia Town. Refusing to let him in, he forces a door open which throws all your beloved Time Pieces out the hatch into the vast and desolate space. It is your job to recover these relics and save the day. Are you ready for the adventure of your life?
The gameplay mechanics of this title are very similar to Super Mario 64 and other platformers of that era. You travel between different worlds to collect the Time Pieces to unlock different areas of your spaceship, thus unlocking new and unique levels to explore. The awesome thing about this game is the open world experience you get on most of the levels. For example, when you are in Mafia Town at the beginning of the game, you are given an objective to follow, but you are allowed to travel where you want when you want. This gives depth to A Hat in Time and keeps the game from becoming too linear.
This game also offers a lot of variety in objectives to prevent boredom and they are implemented quite well. Whether it be a simple puzzle, a stealth section, or hell even a murder mystery for crying out loud, there is something for almost any playstyle. I was astonished when I was meet with so many differing as I was expecting a simple platformer out of this one. Let’s just say that I was not disappointed one bit.
One thing that really caught my attention was the unique way your character leveled up throughout the game. During the missions, you can traverse the open world area and collect yarn balls that are used to knit different hats. Each hat provided a different ability to add to your arsenal that could be paired with pins that you could purchase from various merchants. Want to get somewhere quickly? Try picking up the sprint hat. Or maybe you are more of a pyromaniac. I see, well there is a hat for that too. It adds a bit of challenge, requiring you to don specific hats to get certain collectibles.
This visuals and soundtrack of this game brought everything they needed to the table and succeeded exceptionally. The visuals were cute, colorful, and struck the nostalgia nail into the coffin. I honestly felt that I was transported back in time to enjoy the games of my childhood and I could not have been happier with the experience that I was presented with. Now soundtracks are usually not my thing, but I really enjoyed this one. The mixture of childish sounds and pleasant orchestral scores from time to time are perfect. It’s seldom that I will stand around and just listen to the music in the games I play, but A Hat in Time made me want to just sit back and adore the experience around me.
With all the different archetypes of gameplay I was exposed to, it was hard to pinpoint the one that I enjoyed the most. While Mafia Town was a great introductory level, I felt that it was just that, an introduction to familiarize the player with the world around you. However, moving on to the second world, I was instantly struck with various characters flowing with personality. The battle between the two movie producers just seemed like a generic conflict that forms into some of the best levels throughout this game. My favorite being the Murder on Owl Express due to the combination of stealth gameplay and a murder mystery. For all that don’t know, I fancy games like the newer Sherlock Holmes titles that put you in a somewhat open-world solving puzzles to find the culprit. It is a guilty pleasure and I don’t find that many games that fit this profile. Nevertheless, that level in A Hat in Time is so charming I could not get over it. It was such an amazing experience, albeit short, that just brought everything together and proves that you can add a little flair to your platformers. At first, I was quite neutral about this title and I wasn’t sure if anything would blow me away. Thankfully, I was dead wrong, and this game just kept getting better and better.
Overall, A Hat in Time was a phenomenal experience that brought everything it needed to the table. The game is priced around $30 USD, which is usually pretty high for an independent developer, but if I was told this game was made by a Triple-A Studio, I would not second guess it. The men and women behind this game made a masterpiece and I would wholeheartedly recommend picking this game.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 9/10
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