It’s amazing how much staying powers some games can have. They can be functionally and graphically simpler than all of the big AAA releases out there, yet hang around in your head far after those “better” games are long-forgotten. It’s been two years since I posted this, and yet A Hat in Time is still living rent-free in my head! So, let’s talk about it one more time.
(Originally posted on August 30th, 2020)
I recently found myself with something of a gap in the game list. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to play (there’s at least 3 games I should be playing right now), but rather that I didn’t have anything I wanted to play. I didn’t want an involved story, I didn’t want a realistic world, and I didn’t want something with a sad tone to it. No, I wanted a good, old-fashioned cartoony platformer to jump around in. Fortunately for me, I still had yet to play A Hat in Time, so I downloaded it for Switch, and all I can say is that I kind of wish I’d played it sooner! This game is absolutely wonderful!
I’m not going to do a full-on review of A Hat in Time here. There are plenty of those already. Instead, I’d just like to highlight just how much of a surprise this game was. I’d heard that A Hat in Time was good of course. I’ve had friends recommend it to me several time, actually. For one reason or another though I just never got around to playing it.
I never really looked into the game before playing it, and I never learned much about it beyond the fact that it’s a 3D platformer similar to Mario 64 or Banjo-Kazooie. I can confirm that this is indeed what A Hat in Time is, and I can also say that both of those games are probably better. BUT that’s only because both games are longer. If A Hat in Time was of a similar scale/length I think it could easily stack up to or even surpass those games!
Honestly, it’s a little hard to quantify what exactly makes A Hat in Time so much fun to play, but at least part of it comes from its art-style. The game is by no means a graphical powerhouse, but that doesn’t matter at all. It’s so colorful, bright and cheerful that the old-looking geometry actually makes it all feel even better! I love the warmth and silliness that emanates from this game, and it’s consistently there throughout. I mean, one of the bosses even sets up a shop on your ship despite being miffed about their defeat. They’re like “I’m angry, but we’re now basically friends,” and I absolutely love that about it!
Just about every music track is catchy,, with my personal favorite actually being the one from the game’s first world: Mafia Town. The writing is on point; it’s funny, obviously written to be such, and yet it never feels forced. It’s always played in a way that the characters don’t question it; this is just how they and their world are. There’s actually tricky challenges to be had for those that want them, and the movement system does a great job supporting the platforming. Seriously, moving around in A Hat in Time feels excellent, which makes exploring each unique world feel even more rewarding.
I could keep going on like this for awhile, but suffice it to say that I absolutely love A Hat in Time. It’s the kind of experience I’d hoped (and failed) to get in Yooka-Laylee. I’m glad I finally played it, and I’m kind of glad that I got to experience it now after all the DLC was released. However, I can’t help but feel a little mad at myself for sitting on it for so long. It deserves better.
Have you played A Hat in Time? What did you think?
Lede image from the A Hat in Time Steam page