A Hat in Time review

Oct
06

A Hat in Time review

You fight a toilet in A Hat in Time. It’s a boss fight, too; it’s actually quite tough to put that toilet down for good. It’s a spooky toilet you’re fighting, of course, so you have to factor in ghosts and green-glowing wraiths that swoop and lunge. It’s an acrobatic toilet too, so you need to watch out when it’s starting to feel spry and stompy.

In other words, A Hat in Time is marvellous. It is so much fun. This is a 3D platformer Kickstarted off the back of the fact that a bunch of people out there really like 3D platformers and are sad that they don’t make many of them anymore. This places it alongside the likes of Yooka Laylee, I guess, but A Hat in Time actually feels very different. Mostly, I think, this is down to the game’s dual narrative, one strand of which must be inferred. I might be totally wrong about this second narrative, but the game seems to make a convincing case for its existence.

A traveller through the stars, decked out with a magical hat, who spills a precious cargo of magical hourglasses over a strange planet and must then reclaim them all: this is the organising plot of A Hat in Time, your stated reason for all that jumping and running and bouncing off the heads of baddies. But it is not the only story the game is telling, and it is not the most engrossing. As you move from the elbowy, fidgety, any-idea-is-worth-trying confines of Mafia Town, the game’s first area, through haunted woods and rival movie studios to the high-altitude roominess of Alpine Skyline, where bird cages and lava cakes hang in the chilly heavens, it’s hard not to be drawn along by a glorious sense of progression, of escalation. You’re picking up new skills and confronting new challenges, sure, and you’re collecting all those hourglasses. But there’s more to it than that. A Hat in Time’s real story, I suspect, is of an imaginative team that loves platformers steadily learning how to make a really great one.

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