Games to Watch For: A Hat in Time

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The buttons of a Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) games controller, manufactured by Sony Corp., are seen in this arranged photograph taken in London, U.K., on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Sony, who released the PlayStation 4 game console today, is confident it can meet analysts' sales estimates of 3 million units by year-end, exploiting an early advantage over Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox One. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In my last article, I mentioned a nostalgia trip-style game by the name of A Hat in TimeThe game is a cutesy callback to the 3D platformer days of the 90s and early 2000s. A Hat in Time is the brainchild of the folks at Gears for Breakfast, and the release date is set for October 5th. To be frank, this one has not been getting anywhere near the amount of attention that it deserves. But what’s so special about the debut title from Gears for Breakfast? Let’s take a proper look, and see just why gamers should really be looking forward to this one.

Games to Watch For: A Hat in Time

The Game

Art Style and Premise

As stated earlier, A Hat in Time is, first and foremost, an incredible nostalgia trip. Although it’s definitely more than a walk down memory lane, it owes a lot to titles from the early 2000s. Right from the get go, the game hits you with bright colors and an art style akin to Super Mario Sunshine. The cel-shaded graphics, along with the island feel of the first hub world really bring that full circle. Let’s move on to the meat of the game.

At its very core, A Hat in Time is a collect-a-thon. Much like titles such as Jak and Daxter and basically every game in the Mario series, Main Character X has to collect enough of Thing Y to progress through the game. But who is the main character, and what is the “thing?” Well, this is where this title becomes downright adorable.

Gameplay

A Hat in Time is a time and space traveling adventure at heart, almost like a cuter offshoot of Ratchet and Clank. You play as “Hat Kid,” who might be one of the most adorable main characters ever. As Hat Kid, you must traverse time and space, collecting your lost hourglasses and gaining new hat abilities along the way. Again, it’s a collect-a-thon, so it’s a little light on plot. However, the plot that it does have, is hiding in plain sight, and it’s up to the player to figure it out. It’s almost like if Dark Souls was, cute, and a 3D platformer.

The game takes a Super Mario Sunshine-esque approach with its level design. Outside of that, it plays almost like a superhero-centric game. By that, I specifically mean the different hat abilities that Hat Kid has at her disposal. By switching between her different hats, Hat Kid can do anything ranging from a homing attack to spinning and gliding attacks while airborne. Although there are plenty of different hats to use throughout the game, Gears for Breakfast seems relatively hush-hush about their game’s specific features.

The Story

Again, I’m gonna keep this part short and sweet because A Hat in Time is a little bit light on plot. However, there are some basic plot elements we know from the game’s beginning cutscene. From what we can gather, Hat Kid’s spaceship/time machine breaks down. Her power source (hourglasses) falls out of the ship and flies across time and space. This creates the game’s main conflict of having to traverse different worlds in order to track down every single hourglass, and maybe collect some more hats along the way too.

That Special Something: The Creativity

If you haven’t caught on just yet, the creativity on this baby is through the roof and then some. Sure, time travel might be a concept as old as video games themselves, but Gears for Breakfast has really breathed new life into it here. And the concept of different hats allowing for different abilities just oozes the creative juice that can only come from games as unique as A Hat in Time. With everything from different abilities to maybe even different styles of play (stealth, run and gun, etc.), this one is just so cute and ridiculous, that it’s really hard to resist.

Why You Should Be Looking Forward To It

In short, it’s hard not to be looking forward to A Hat in Time. Considering everything from the game’s art style to Hat Kid’s general demeanor, this “cute-as-heck” platformer is about ready to take the gaming world by storm. Originally, my only problem with this title was its lack of accessibility. It was only going to come out on PC for a while there, but now it should be hitting the shelves on PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch too. If you aren’t fully convinced just yet, why not check out the trailer? It can’t hurt. A Hat in Time hits store and e-store shelves on October 5th, and honestly, what’s not to love?

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