A Hat In Time, developed by Games for Breakfast and Jonas Kærlev, isn’t just another nostalgia play. Despite the fears of some that it could come off like another yooka-laylee, so far, the game was been met with warm reception and a tip of the, ha, hat from game reviewers and players alike.
Is A Hat In Time right for you? Does it harken back to the days when platforming games on the N64 and Gamecube would gleefully sap hours of our summer vacations from us? And most importantly, can you truly time-travel via hat?
Read on to find out.
1. It’s Out On Steam October 5th (And Console Soon!)
A Hat In Time will release on Steam on October 5th, 2017 – a delay from initial plans to release in late 2013. Why the delay? Following a successful Kickstarter and the growth of the development team (The aforementioned Mr. Jonas brought on new people), the game became more ambitious, and as a result, took more time to make.
But fret not, Xbox, PS4, and Switch owners, a console port is coming soon. For Xbox and PS4 owners, you’re looking at a nebulous Fall 2017 release date. Switch owners will likely be waiting longer, as the team only recently received a Switch dev kit.
2. It’s Reviewing Well!
Early impressions of a Hat In Time are positive and bright. Destructoid praised the gameplay and its level of polish.
YouTuber KingK compared the game positively to Mario Sunshine and other N64 platformers – in fact stating the game improves on some aspects of Mario Sunshine in particular.
So far, these are the only two pre-release reviews of the game, and both seem to be on the same page about what A Hat In Time does right (a lot).
3. The Music Was Composed By An N64-era Legend.
GoldenEye, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark. Think of those games and almost immediately a musicial sting enters your ears. The music for those games was composed by Grant Kirkhope, Rare’s go-to composer during the N64 (and Gamecube) era.
Mr. Kirkhope has since taken on projects outside of Rare, including two Civilization games, A Ninja Gaiden, Yooka-Laylee, and now, A Hat In Time.
If A Hat In Time is looking to replicate and improve upon the positive vibes the 3D Platformers of old gave gamers, it’s smart to enlist the man that provided the soundtrack to some of the most memorable gaming moments of our lives.
4. It’s A Good Length, Spans 5 Worlds, And Has a Couple Unique Minigames.
You could beat Mario 64 in about 14 hours. Banjo Kazooie took most players about 10. A Hat In Time looks to split the difference. According to the Destructoid review, A Hat in Time’s main story will run about 10 hours, with an additional 5 or so hours if you want to nab all the collectibles and do various side-objectives.
The game’s five worlds span a train, town, forest, and the brave frontier of great blue sky – with the promise of 2 more worlds arriving thanks to the generous Kickstarter backers reaching stretch goals. Throughout the game you’ll be acquiring hat badges that grant you new powers and abilities, ala Mario 64’s hat system.
There’s also, allegedly, a hidden text adventure mini-game, and a few other gameplay changeups to keep things fresh and exciting.
5. It’s a Celebration, Iteration, Evocation of 3D Platforming.
With a game like A Hat In Time, a precarious balancing act is occurring. The game needs to be marketed and sold on its own merits – namely good gameplay and six or so gallons of charm. However, the game is appealing to players who grew up on their N64s and PS1s and have love and insane nostalgia for the classic games in those genres. This means the game needs to not only live up to those games in terms of quality, but also not copy them outright.
And so far it’s clear the developers are doing an excellent job of that balancing act. From the trailer above, to the style of gameplay, there’s almost a Tarantino-esque homage going on. Where the references to what game before are subtle, but their affect on the overall product is massive. It’s a polished pastiche, throwing Mario, Banjo, Donkey Kong, and maybe even a little Psychonauts into a giant melting pot and baking it for just the right amount of time, so what comes out is refreshing, baked to perfection and just possibly….