Title: A Hat in Time
Platform: Xbox One, PC, PS4 (reviewed)
Developer: Gears For Breakfast
Publisher: Humble Bundle
Release date: Out now
tl;dr:: A throwback to the classic platforming days.
Price: Xbox One/PS4: £24|$30 | PC:£23|$30
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

Do you remember the days of classic platforming on your Nintendo 64 or Gamecube? The days spent collecting Jiggies in Banjo Kazooie or Shines in Super Mario Sunshine? Those were the days when games were simple and didn’t have season passes or microtransactions coming out the wazoo. A Hat in Time takes you back those times when games were fun, and when collectables had purpose towards forwarding your adventure.

A Hat in Time is a Kickstarter funded project that reached its goal within the first two days of being revealed, and for a good reason; this game isn’t just pure nostalgia, but the character designs and environments are just pure happiness contained. Each chapter and act opens with a title card similar to old school cartoons such as Looney Tunes or Animaniacs; it all just throws me back to my childhood when everything was simple and we didn’t have to worry about anything.

The game starts with our protagonist making her way back home until she hears a knock outside her spaceship, it’s the Mafia, and they want her to give them money, because, y’know, that’s gangsters. You refuse, and the Mafia dude breaks your window in the vacuum of space, causing all your collect Time Pieces to fall from your ship… And those are the ship’s fuel to get home…

The gameplay aspect is your traditional platformer akin to their inspiration mentioned above; you get dropped into worlds you can freely explore whilst completing various tasks like collect “X,” amount of an item, or defeating a boss character. The game controls beautifully, allowing you explore freely as you double jump between buildings or ninja jumping between two walls to get from the bottom of a building to the top, plus swimming, diving, or getting blasted out of a cannon.

Let’s talk about the protagonist, Some Girl or Hat Girl or… it’s not really clear what her name is, but she is adorable and it makes sense as the tagline for the game is a “Cute-as-heck 3D platformer.” Throughout the game, you unlock different hats with various powers, like the ability to sprint, brew explosive concoctions, or turn yourself into an ice sculpture which allows you to solve various puzzles or enter special rooms. These hat abilities can be improved with badges that you can clip onto your hat; for example, one badge turns your sprint ability into a lovable little scooter. The badges do have other abilities, like magnetic power to draw in items, or one that allows you to prevent fall damage.

Graphically, the game is radiantly cel-shaded and just makes me think of the most vibrant cel-shaded game I know, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. The game has such gorgeous environments as well as characters; every environment has a unique quirk about it, so let’s talk about my favourite stage, Murder on the Owl Express, which as many people know is based on the famous novel by Agatha Christie called “Murder on the Orient Express.” On the stage, you must solve a murder that occurred during your journey, and you can either collect evidence on your fellow passengers or you can blindly accuse without evidence. Depending on who you accuse results in a different ending, and I won’t spoil it, but each of the endings are hilarious and quirky.

Overall, A Hat in Time is a bucket full of nostalgia that makes me happy that platformers are returning to form after Super Mario Odyssey and Yooka Layle; it gives me hope for the future of the genre and if it wasn’t for Super Mario Odyssey, A Hat in Time would be my platformer of the year. But, seriously, A Hat in Time is worth checking out if you loved the platformers from the era of Nintendo 64 and Gamecube; it has tight controls, beautiful art design, and such a catchy soundtrack!


The Good

  • Character designs are incredible and cute-as-heck.
  • Nostalgia fuel of the classics that made many people’s childhoods.
  • The soundtrack is really bouncy, full of joy and down right catchy.

The Bad

  • Sometimes I run up a building that I don’t want to.
  • The badges I want don’t appear when I have the cash for them.
  • Didn’t appear at the Game Awards.

Family Focus

A Hat in Time is rated E for Everyone by ESRB and PEGI 7. The game contains mild fantasy violence but nothing too drastic.

This review is based on a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.