Platformers are games where the main appeal is moving a character in a space to get through levels. In this sense, think Mario or Sonic, where the focus of one is his jumps and the other is his speed. Sounds pretty simple and can be but it can also be much more memorable than that. A Hat In Time is exactly that! Taking clear inspiration from platformers that came from the 90’s, it’s a journey where you move a small kid known as Hat Kid through many different worlds to get Time Pieces, for Hat Kid to get home. The game was made by a small company named “Gears for Breakfast” who got crowdfunded by fans of the genre and while usually games that go through that process don’t end up that well, Gears For Breakfast followed through with their plans! The game isn’t perfect but the personality of the game shines brightly like a diamond in the rough. Through the logo alone, you can tell it’ll be a journey to be had.
The goal of the game is to collect hourglasses known as “Time Pieces” to help Hat Kid get home. First, you go through Mafia Town, a small island that is overrun with big burly men who constantly refer to themselves as the “mafia”. Their design is based on mafia men in Italian culture, albeit a very goofy interpretation of them. They wear an apron, blue suits, sometimes a red tie and they’re bald. They don’t do much to stick out from one another which may very well be the point, ringing true to an actual mafia. But they are nice ways to incorporate what an enemy is to Hat Kid. They tend to only bully the residents and Hat Kid in small ways but also are admirable in their own way, attacking you when you’ve attacked them and are willing to talk to you in some cases.
On the note of designs, Hat Kid’s is a very unique one. She wears a mostly purple attire which definitely helps differentiate her from other 3D Platformer mascots. A top hat with a coat, it has a distinct yellow cape and an oversized zipper, beige pants and little brown boots. If you weren’t really looking at her, it would all feel natural. But that’s the brilliant part, none of what she’s wearing feels out of place, despite her being a female. Often in cases like these, the main female character has a bow, a dress and other accessories that make her feel like a little girl. But Hat Kid feels comfortable to look at while not wearing traditionally known female clothing. And just like most of the other designs within this game, it portrays exactly who that character is. Like Mustache Girl for example, she’s a small girl in the game just like Hat Kid, which makes you feel safe but when she decides to fight against you for the rest of the game, you realize she’s the exact opposite of you. She has the same distinct yellow features as you but wears red to signify her more oppressive and rude undertones.
I’m only talking about the character design but I promise there is so much more to love about this game. From the worlds, to the music, to the even cuter details down the line, it all comes together all to help you love what many loved about older games before it. And I’m so happy this game is much more than just a homage.