I barely play collect-a-thon platformers but the ones that I have played, I loved. Games like “Banjo-Kazooie” and “Super Mario Odyssey” were extremely fun and had great music. So why are collect-a-thons so hard to come by? A certain Nintendo 64 game called Donkey Kong 64 injured the reputation of the genre. Since then, there haven’t been many games of that genre until recently with games like Super Mario Odyssey and Yooka-Laylee (which is a game that I haven’t played yet).
Before those games were released, however, the shortage of this genre was very noticeable, so Jonas Kærlev started a project in August 2012. As the project was in development, it grew into Gears for Breakfast. The game was on Kickstarter for the goal of $30,000 but got about $296,360. On October 5, 2017, A Hat in Time was released for macOS and Windows. A few months later, it was released for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One on December 5 and 7 respectively, as well as the Nintendo Switch on October 18, 2019. The game was nominated for Best PC Game in Destructoid’s Game of the Year, Best Platformer in IGN Best of 2017 Awards, and Game, Original Family in the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards (NAVGTR). So, is the game a hat that will stand the test of time? Or do I hate it?
You play as Hat Kid, a little girl who is riding her spaceship to home. Her trip was interrupted by a member of the mafia who demanded money as a toll for passing the mafia’s planet. After she refuses to pay, the mafia member breaks the window in the ship which sucks Hat Kid and all her Time Pieces, the fuel for her ship, out of the ship and into the planet. Your goal is to find the lost Time Pieces throughout the planet in order to get home.
As you explore the many parts of the world, you will encounter fun and interesting characters like DJ Grooves, the Snatcher, Mustache Girl, etc. The interactions with Hat Kid and these characters are so cute and funny; I just love it. In fact, this entire game is just so cute (well most of it). The characters are charming and some of their backstories are really interesting. In time rift levels, you can collect storybooks that detail more on these characters. My favorite one is Queen Vanessa’s backstory. I give the story an A-.
As Hat Kid, you can use special abilities depending on the hat you’re wearing. As you explore multiple parts of the planet like Mafia Town, Subcon Forest, etc. you will collect yarn pieces where, if you collect enough, you can craft new hats. With these hats, you can run faster, transform into an ice statue to ground pound, throw explosive potions, etc. Similar to Super Mario 64, the more Time Pieces you collect, the more worlds you will have access to.
You can also buy badges with the pons, the game’s currency, you collect along the way. Similar to hats, you can equip them for special abilities like a camera to take pictures, shoot projectiles, becoming an item magnet, etc. Unlike hats, however, you can equip more than one.
In order to reach certain areas, you will need to perform dives, homing attacks, and many other tricks. I really enjoyed the platforming in this game. There are also time rifts that can either be platforming challenges (aka the blue time rifts) or collecting rift pons to continue further into the rift (aka the purple ones). After completing a rift level, you will get to use the Roulette which you can get skins for your hat, new colors for Hat Kids clothing, or remixes of songs in the game. Overall, I had a ton of fun with the gameplay. I give it an A+.
The music in A Hat in Time is great. Pascal Michael Stiefel (and a tiny bit from Grant Kirkhope) composed the soundtrack. It has great songs like “Your Contract Has Expired,” “Train Rush,” and “The Battle of Award 42.” Not to mention it has some sweet unlockable remixes composed by other creators like Qumu, AdulescensFMusic, Insaneintherainmusic, and Cameron Munoz. I give the soundtrack an A+.
To conclude, I LOVE this game. It has cute and charming characters, fun gameplay, and a great soundtrack to boot. While the story may be lacking, you will probably find something to love in this game. I give it a 9/10.
At a Glance: A Hat in Time
Summary: Collect your lost Time Pieces in order to get to your home planet.
Rated: T for Teen: Blood, Fantasy Violence
Distributor: Humble Bundle
Systems: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows, and macOS.
- macOS and Windows: October 5, 2017
- PS4: December 5, 2017
- Xbox One: December 7, 2017.
- Nintendo Switch: October 18, 2019.
- Rating: 9/10