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A Hat in Time Preview: No Time Left

/ Sep 15th, 2017 No Comments

A Hat in Time

It’s been more than four years since A Hat in Time was successfully backed on Kickstarter. With the release now less than a month away, Denmark-based developer Gears for Breakfast sent a preview build of A Hat in Time to PAX West 2017 and I was able to get some hands-on time with it.

The collect-a-thon title brings back memories of Super Mario Sunshine, and a few tunes from acclaimed composer Grant Kirkhope are reminiscent of Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Pinata, with the rest of the score being equally grabbing. It is clear that this game has come a long way in the past four years.

Hats Off To Hat Kid

The game revolves around Hat Kid, a young female protagonist exploring the cosmos and fueling her ship with time energy. A strange mishap causes her to lose all of this energy, and she must fight her way across seven worlds to recollect it.

If you’ve experienced collect-a-thon games before, you should know that this is the essence of the game. You must explore these worlds to collect time energy, which has taken the form of hour glasses spread throughout each world. Each location has its own objectives and hidden secrets. There is also a antagonist known as Moustache Girl lurking around almost every corner.

There isn’t much more to it than that, but you will meet some quirky characters along the way and enjoy a lot of laughs.

The preview build showed off a small portion of World 2: Chapter 1. It took place inside a giant film studio, where two directors had gotten hold of some hourglasses. The directors are arguing as they try to film their separate movies on sets in the same studio. It is up to players to find a way to end their feud and reclaim the time capsules without ruining the two film sets.

Dialogue is quick and humorous. It is delivered well through excellent voice acting that truly makes the game feel like an animated cartoon show. The cheeky humor kept me engaged with the story, but it was the gameplay that stole the show.

Tip Your Hat

A Hat in Time mostly consists of completing challenges and puzzles using platforming abilities and wit. Solving puzzles not only tests your brain, but also your dexterity. It can be a challenge to figure out the best way to reach particular platforms. Boss fights can be especially taxing.

Luckily, the overall gameplay experience is enjoyable due to smooth, polished controls. 3D collect-a-thon titles are notorious for their control problems, but I experienced no clunkiness with A Hat in Time.

A Hat in Time

She’s a cheeky one, isn’t she?

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Another interesting layer of gameplay is how it can change based on the ability to upgrade Hat Kid. Players can switch between various outfits, weapons and stickers, and each new item changes various aspects of Hat Kid’s abilities.

Players can acquire in-game augmentations that enhance gameplay, items that increase health, shields and more. This will allow players to adjust their version of Hat Kid to their own personal play style or experience the game in different ways during various playthroughs.
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I didn’t have a chance to test out co-op gameplay. If single player is any indication, playing with a friend in the final build of the game will only heighten the enjoyment of A Hat in Time.

Pulling It Out Of Their Hat

I went into A Hat in time with high expectations. I have expressed my love for 3D platformers like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64 numerous times on this site. Even with my lofty ideals, I was thoroughly impressed by A Hat in Time.

It’s exactly what you’d expect from a collect-a-thon title, but it feels fresh and unique, bringing its own dynamic to the genre.

A Hat in Time will be available Oct. 5 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Mac.


Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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