Does anyone remember the 90s? Ahhhh good times, good times… maybe it was the music, or the games, heck as I remember it food tasted better back then, and the air ooooh the air, it was just better. Everything was better.
Wanna know why? Good ole nostalgia.
You see nostalgia has a way of making things in your memory seem oh so good. Sometimes substantially better than they actually were, especially the further back in your memory they are. A Hat in Time feeds on these nostalgic nuances and brings us one of the most charming, beautiful 3D platforming experience of the decade. This is probably the third or fourth game I’ve played this year that I want to nominate for game of the year, and the strange thing is that each of these games are from developers we consider indie. Another thing that they all have in common is that they all figured out what’s fun about each of their genres, and they capitalized on those aspect. In a way I like to think that games like this brings back the fun in gaming for me. Recently I’ve played games to complete them for review, or out of curiosity for their plots, and for the most part I’ve enjoyed a lot of them, but they weren’t mindless fun. I didn’t have the urge to continue playing them throughout the night as I frequently did as a teenager. A Hat in Time on the other hand, had me hooked, entertained. It’s mindless fun that reminds me of a simpler time when I didn’t have any responsibilities, and could sit and play video games all day without a care in the world. Now I could end the review here, call the game perfect, tell you to get it if you miss classics like Mario Sunshine, and all that other blabadeboops, however, I’ll be doing you a disservice if I did that, so here are the other details about this game.
In A Hat in Time you play as a little girl who happens to be in a spaceship in space filled with hourglasses that control time. In the beginning nothing is known about our little rascal of a character, but when has character development or plot ever mattered much in a platformer? Those are usually overshadowed by the gameplay elements that make these types of games so addictively fun. That being said we do get some plot about our protagonist along the way as we visit uniquely strange places in an effort to retrieve our magic hour glasses that scatter onto the world below our spaceship due to a mafia in space… yup that’s correct. Forget logic when approaching this one. It’s all unrealistic wacky fun, and I love it.
A little suggestions from me to you is to talk to everyone you come across on your adventures. By doing this you get to experience just how hilarious and charming this game truly is. The plot of the game isn’t really about the main character, but rather the NPCs that make up the places that she visits.
It should also be noted that you will be able to do a lot more than just talk to NPCs for hilarious banter. What’s more is that you get to explore some beautiful locals using platforming mechanics that have been perfected over the years by greats like the Mario 3D platforming series of games, my personal favorite of which is Mario Sunshine. In this game you control the main character in a similar manner as you would in a 3D Mario game. “A” makes your character jump, while “X” makes her attack. She’s also able to slide or crawl using the Right Trigger, however, what makes her different from Mario is that she’s able to use different head-wear, and badges to give herself new abilities, like mixing concoctions to blow up boxes for gems, or manifesting this wicked scooter, because walking and running is for losers.
Can I just say I love the camera badge… love it. It’s similar what I encountered in PES 2018 with Nvidia Ansel, but unlike that, this all works in game, so I never have to put down my controller. Oh and the best part is that the images are saved immediately to your steam images as if you clicked alt + F1. How cool is that. Yea I know, I’m taken aback by the simplest things, but that is because everyone makes it seem so hard to do simple these days, it’s a novelty. It’s seems to me like they’re thinking “Make it complicated, because what people really want is more stress after a tough week”… um, no thank you.
Mechanically this game is flawless. I had no problems navigating the throughout the different places, and even began to feel a sense of mastery of all the skills I’d learned by the end game. In fact the easiest boss to defeat was the final boss. The others are mind blowingly hard in comparison, requiring the player to perform some almost picture perfect platforming to even hope to win against them. By the time you get to good ole last boss you should have all the hat’s, but you’ll only need one to win. I won’t spoil what it is, but you’ll know once you get there.
Graphically the game is beautiful. There is no other word to describe it. On my review setup I had it running at full graphics settings while recording at 60fps 1080p. In my time with it I noticed no bugs, and the music and sound effects along my 17 hour adventure was very pleasant. I looked forward to every time my character teased the mafia as she ran passed them, and I liked that the intro to stages sounded so similar to the aforementioned Mario Sunshine. The voice acting was also quite charming due to the hilarious writing and weird voices that each of the characters had, my favorite being the mafia.
This year I thought I’d be playing hours upon hours of Mass Effect Andromeda, Persona 5, Uncharted…you know, the games that we consider triple-A titles worth every cent of their price tag, and in a way I have done just that. I have played hours of those games, and I’ve enjoyed them, but though they’re all spectacular games they lack something fundamental that A Hat in Time has in spades, “A FUN FACTOR”. Now the thing about Fun Factor is that it is fairly subjective. We don’t all find the same things fun, and even for the things that multiple individuals find fun, there are varying levels of fun that we each have with those things. I for example found Mass Effect Andromeda fun, but not as addictively fun as A Hat in Time, not exactly. Playing this game allowed me to switch off my brain, figuratively speaking, and just relax on a wonderfully cute adventure.
The copy of A Hat in Time used for this review was provided to us by it’s Publisher, Humble Bundle.