Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Jan 062020

After all the time I spent blogging about A Hat in Time, it’s amazing it took me over two years and being assigned it in a holiday game recommendation exchange before I finally played it.

I backed A Hat in Time on Kickstarter back when I was desperate for a new 3D platformer that would feel like Banjo-Kazooie, and it looked like exactly what I wanted.

Now that I’ve finally played it, I’m happy to say A Hat in Time is a fantastic game.

Several things changed from the early builds. Some of these disappointed me a little, like how it felt less focused finding secrets and more on working toward a specific goal in each act, and I’ll always be a little sad that we didn’t get to see the dual timeline story they originally planned.

On the other hand, it has a great sense of humor and lots of funny dialogue, it’s very cute, and the gameplay is a lot of fun. It has fantastic music, too.

You play as Hat Kid, a girl whose spaceship is stranded when the time pieces that power it are scattered. Now you need to get them back so you can restore your ship (which acts as your hub area) and go home.

A Hat in Time is split into separate worlds, referred to as chapters, most of which are split into acts (specific time pieces to collect). This feels a little odd, since you don’t have to go in order – and in some cases, you can’t go in order.

Despite what I said earlier about exploration, you’ll still want to search every inch of these worlds to collect various things, especially the yarn Hat Kid uses to make new hats. Hats have different abilities, and you’ll need these to progress and/or find new things.

(In another oddity, the game tells you the yarn is for a specific hat, but it isn’t really. Finding yarn for a hat you already have just goes into your total yarn count to be used for the next hat.)

Some areas are fairly linear, with a set goal you need to accomplish. Others offer you more freedom. Strangely, the first world presented as a “free roam” level feels more linear than those with distinct acts, since you choose which area to tackle first but then each of these areas is essentially a large platforming puzzle. On the other hand, at least one of the worlds separated into specific acts gives you enough freedom to do different acts’ objectives instead, making it feel more open.

But regardless of whether they’re linear or nonlinear, the worlds in A Hat in Time are almost all excellent in their own way, with Subcon Forest and Nyakuza Metro being my favorites.

(My least favorite is Arctic Cruise, which I didn’t find fun at all and didn’t actually finish.)

Across its different worlds, A Hat in Time shows inspiration from Banjo-Kazooie, Super Mario Sunshine, and even a few hints of Psychonauts (I loved the crows so much), while still feeling like it has its own identity. I greatly enjoyed playing it. Its story felt a little weak and needed Mustache Girl to have a bigger presence before the finale, but I don’t play most 3D platformers for their stories anyway.

So if you love this style of 3D platformer collect-a-thon and you’ve been curious about A Hat in Time, I definitely recommend it. It’s available now for the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch, although only the Switch has a physical version. It took me a long time to get around to it, but I’m happy I finally did.

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  5 Responses to “A Hat in Time: Cute, Funny, and Fun to Play”

  1. […] all-times favorites. That’s why games that try to evoke a similar style, like A Hat in Time (which I enjoyed) and Yooka-Laylee (which I still need to play) always catch my […]

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