Recently there has been a sort of resurgence in the 3D platformer genre, with games such as Yooka-Laylee, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane trilogy, and Super Mario Odyssey all coming out this past year.
Developer Gears for Breakfast seeks to cap off the year of great platformers with their adorable platformer A Hat in Time. As you would expect from a game of this type, A Hat in Time contains all the traditional platformer tropes, collectibles, secrets, bosses and of course platforming.
Where this game stands out is in its unique hat mechanic, which gives the player different abilities based on the hat equipped, and the badges, which give players a variety of different benefits. The hats don’t change the game in a major way, but they allow players to access new areas, or just traverse through a level in different and faster ways.
While the game does little to shake up the tried and true platforming mechanics, it doesn’t really have to either. The game plays smoothly and fluidly, and running around the world is a joy, with plenty to collect and see.
The world itself is vibrant and filled to the brim with charm, with very distinctive levels, all featuring characters that are often hilariously written. The levels range from being open and free for players to explore, to more linear style levels such as a race the clock type level, and even some stealth levels.
The variety of levels is fantastic, and not a single one of them disappoints. Despite my aversion to stealth levels at times, I even found the stealth levels in this game to be thoroughly enjoyable.
Another standout feature is the games boss battles, which I found to be intense at times, but they also manage to take common boss tropes from platforming games and make them feel unique, while also adding their own flair.
The icing on the cake is of course the music, which feels straight out of a classic platformer. It’s all very exciting and memorable, so much so that I could find myself listening to it for a long time to come.
I really only have a few complaints with the game, the load screens were kind of long on the version I played, and it is a bit on the short end. There is enough extra content however to keep players coming back after the credits roll.
The game also suffers from some glitches, and seemingly lost voice tracks, but not of them detracted from the gameplay all that much.
Despite its issues a Hat in Time delivers charm in spades, plays fantastically, and does enough to set itself apart from other games of its type. Gears for Breakfast has a lot of respect for old school 3D platformers, and it shines through in what they have created.
A Hat in Time stands out as a wonderfully crafted love letter to games of old, taking some ideas from the top games in the genre, but also adding in their own unique flavor which allows it to stand out. Although I found it to be a bit on the short side, I loved every minute of it and I could easily see it becoming another major franchise in the 3D platforming world. 9/10
*This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, it is also available on PS4, PC, and Mac*