[+] Menu

Remember A Hat in Time? It's Almost Here and Looking Great

Home > Remember A Hat in Time? It's Almost Here and Looking Great

A Hat in Time Logo

I first heard of A Hat in Time back in 2013 when they launched their Kickstarter. I even included it in an article on Nintendo Castle when it was still planned for release on Wii U. This was two years before Yooka-Laylee launched their Kickstarter, so the idea of a modern day retro-inspired collect-a-thon was especially exciting. Since 2013 (the year the game was originally slated for release) the only news I’ve heard about the game is a string of delays.

A Hat in Time Screenshot

As such, I was pleasantly surprised when I ran into A Hat in Time at the MIX during E3 last week. It was a popular booth, but I managed to sneak in for a demo later in the night. The demo was called “Murder on the Owl Express”, and as you might infer, it’s a train murder mystery. Although this has been done many times across many genres, this one kept reminding me of the Excess Express from Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door.

Gameplay was about what you’d expect from a collect-a-thon. Most of my time was spent jumping from platform to platform and solving basic puzzles to find keys. Keys of course opened up the path to locked room. Rinse and repeat. I also picked up a few different balls of yarn, which can be quickly turned into hats for the game's protagonist, Hat Girl, to wear. These hats allow you various abilities that can be used to solve puzzles and reach new areas.

A Hat in Time Screenshot

Of course, this type of 3D platformer can get pretty boring without engaging environments, interesting characters, and a lot of silly humor. Good news: these things are what A Hat in Time seems to excel at. Whereas I find myself wanting to skip dialogue with the majority of NPCs in many games, this is the type of adventure that will make it hard for me to pass over anyone without striking up conversation. In this particular demo, it was even key to completing the act.

It was hard to get to know the characters very well in such a short amount of time, but I really like what I've seen so far. Something that will help players identify with this game's characters and something that many of the games that inspired A Hat in Time lack is voice acting. I played a lot of the demo without sound for various reasons, but when I did tune into the game's audio I was quite stunned. The voice acting is really well done and the music was delightful as well. Check out the trailer and listen to how the word "murderer" is enunciated if you are doubtful.

Banjo-Kazooie is highly revered as a highlight of the N64 generation for good reason. It was a delightful mix of fun gameplay and likeable characters set in an interesting world that didn't take itself too seriously and made you laugh. As is evident by the mixed reception of Yooka-Laylee, it seems that a game of its caliber is getting harder and harder to pull off.

That being said, I'm very optimistic about A Hat in Time. The development team has put a lot of time (4+ years!) and love into this game. The demo I played was fun and really polished. It's a long time coming, but I think this game will be something very special. It seems to have inherited a lot of what made the legends that came before it great, but it didn't feel like a clone. There is a lot of original content here that I think is worth getting excited about.

A Hat in Time Screenshot

The wait is almost over. It was confirmed to me multiple times that A Hat in Time will be releasing this fall. PC and Mac are the only two platforms for launch. I imagine that consoles will be targeted after that, but there is no confirmation. I'm hoping for a Nintendo Switch version myself.

About the Author: Rial Johnson

Rial Johnson co-founded Concealed Gaming after years of running sister sites Nintendo Castle and Pokéball Insider. He is an avid gamer with a special place in his heart for Nintendo, but often finds himself writing about games more than actually playing them. You'll likely see him around the various network sites and on social media, mostly managing the front-end content of the websites.

Content from the Concealed Gaming Network