Here I was thinking that I wasn’t going to get very many good 3D platformers this year and it seems I’ve been finding them as of late. The latest to come across my plate is A Hat in Time. Here you play a little girl with a big hat and an even bigger problem. On her voyages, she comes across this planet and due to some unfortunate events, loses all of her magical hourglasses that give her spaceship it’s ability to… do whatever it’s supposed to do. (The abilities of the hourglasses are given, but the reason for her ship isn’t.) *Edit*It would appear that they power the ship on some level, but that doesn’t satisfy my imagination. Time travel would be the most reasonable answer, but that’s never really covered directly because I guess it wasn’t really important to the story. How does it all play out? How old is she? Is she a Time Lord? Well let me break it down for you!
So this little girl (since she has no given name) is off on a mission to get all of her time pieces back and along the way she’ll meet a host of characters that are (basically) all voice acted with a lot of love. There are very few instances where they bothered me with a few par tries, but those are buried under all of the other great jobs. It really helped to bring the characters to life rather than your typical mumbling jargon you’ll get in other games in this genre. It’s not a negative to not have voice acting, but voice acting done well is obviously a very welcome addition! From the good guys to the bad, they all added to the wonderfully crazy experience that Gears for Breakfast took me on while exploring A Hat in Time.
Speaking of places to go, the worlds are varied. From a spooky forest area to beautiful mountain-top, vertigo inducing heights with a lava cake! Yes, there was a level that had a lava cake with a bunch of jumping traps and all sorts of mayhem. While they were mostly a joy to jump around in, this is also where my first gripe comes in. There seemed to be a lack of polish on some of the walls and ledges where one can jump. There were numerous places that I would find myself sliding off of a wall that was a few inches away from a ledge that I was planning on catching and progressing. These were in basically every area except for the spooky forest (sans the giant tree). There was a ton of jumping there, but no real issues with fake walls. To be fair, none of these hampered going about the main story. Some seemed like they would and should have been caught and a chunk of them were me simply trying to “Skyrim” my way up to some area I probably wasn’t supposed to access at that given time (or was I?). I did actually make it past most and isn’t that what 3D platformers are all about? Exploring!
On a more positive note, the areas are varied and large. We’re not talking kilometers, but there was a lot to look at, go into, jump onto and off and figure out how to get to. As I mentioned before, there was a movie studio replete with a murder mystery train, the spooky Subcon Forest, the vertigo inducing Apline Skyline that had the lava-cake level and three(I think) other “biomes” (there was a lot going on in that level). To say there was a lot of eye-candy would be insufficient. It took me about 13 hours to complete it as much as I did and finish the story line. I am far and away from getting 100% on achievements and I’m keenly aware of some of the levels that were designed in a way that I could not solve them. Both were special side levels that weren’t necessary, but it frustrated me that I couldn’t figure them out.
If you want to be able to get all of these secrets, you’ll need to dig deep into your bag of tricks. There are a few hats to attain (with little difficulty) that give you all sorts of cool moves, but mastering them might be tough for some (like my wife, whom I love). All of them made a good impression on me, but I feel bad for the top hat. That got left in the dust. Let’s be realistic though, when you’ve got hats that allow you to slow time, shift reality to jump on platforms you normally can’t, use special jumping platforms and run faster, who would go back to the “basic” hat? Nearing the end I used the Dweller Mask (the reality shifty one) and the Time Stop Hat (that one is self-explanatory). I found that near the end of the game you’ll run into a lot of platforms you can’t use unless you hit a bell to shift reality or use the hat’s ability. The Time Stop Hat makes some timing and platforming easier. Also, it makes punching ninja cats in the face a lot easier. Before you get bothered by me punching cats, these cats were jerks and stole my stuff a lot. They had it coming! Don’t judge me…
The main story is of you getting your time peaces back. That’s what ties all of the levels together, but they are vastly different and they each have their own stories and plots. I feel like I keep harping on that, but they are all well made. My only lament is the lack of additional levels. The four given are good enough and I’m entirely satisfied with the amount of game given at this point. However, there are two more levels said to be coming and I am honestly feeling a bit impatient because I just want to have more! That’s a good thing. They mentioned something about having Steam Workshop support on their website, but as with other games, I’m wary. I don’t fully trust the community to create levels with the same amount of love that the developers put into it. That said, I’m sure there are modders out there that can push out some great content. The issue will be wading through potentially phallic-shaped levels. (I do have faith in humanity, even if it doesn’t seem like it at times.)