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A Hat In Time Review: Big Hat, Bigger Adventure

Releasing in October of 2017, A Hat in Time is a “cute-as-heck” 3D collect-a-thon platformer similar to Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64. Initially a Kickstarter project in 2013 it’s been a long-awaited title from fans of the 3D platformer genre. After selling one million copies as of December 2018 A Hat in Time has found success, and for good reason.

A Hat in Time follows the story of the aptly named Hat Kid if she has another name she’s not inclined to tell it to anyone. After stopping her spaceship over a certain planet, the mafia comes to collect its due. Not even space can stop the mafia it seems and with a hearty punch to her ship, all of her Time Pieces are sucked into the void of space to the planet below. Time Pieces are the core collectible of A Hat in Time mystical glowing hourglasses that power Hat Kid’s ship with their control over time.

With visual gags and over the top humor, A Hat In Time manages to capture the feel of retro platformers like Banjo-Kazooie. A Hat In Time is fully voiced (and an option for old school mumbling) so every character manages to stand out. From the no-nonsense Mafia of Cooks to the Conductor’s vigorous Scottish accent, each character has their own voice.

While older collectathon games could be overwhelming with just how much there was to collect. The only necessary items in A Hat In Time are the Time Pieces along with yarn to create new hats. The abilities from Hat Kid’s different hats are required to clear certain stages. Time Pieces are used to progress the main story and open new zones. The game also doesn’t require players to collect every Time Piece.

Graphically, A Hat In Time is consistent. The graphics are smooth and the particle effects are cartoonish which is in line with the game’s aesthetic. Some animations are overly rigid, but the benefit is that enemies clearly telegraph what they’re doing to the player. Each zone has its own unique flavor with fresh mechanics that are emphasized for each stage. For players that want lighthearted fun, the game’s playful style is maintained throughout the entire game.

With five chapters and 40 Time Pieces to collect in the base game, there’s plenty of content to explore.  A Hat In Time love letter to older collect-a-thons like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64, and has a mix of structured levels and exploratory stages where Time Pieces are hidden behind platforming challenges. With the Steam Workshop PC players have even more challenging content waiting for them offering long term replayability.

A Hat In Time manages to achieve its goal of being a game for fans of old 3D platformers. It’s not as meticulous as Banjo-Kazooie where even the notes you’ve collected on each stage are tracked. It’s also not as varied as Super Mario 64’s 15 stages and 120 stars. A Hat In Time manages, however, to stand alone as its own game and reinvigorate the genre.

A Hat In Time is available on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. A Nintendo Switch release is coming soon.

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