A Hat in Time
|A Hat in Time|
|Developer(s)||Gears for Breakfast|
|Composer(s)||Pascal Michael Stiefel|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3 (prototype)|
Unreal Engine 4
A Hat in Time is a platform action-adventure game developed by Gears for Breakfast and published by Humble Bundle. The game was developed using Unreal Engine 3 and funded through a Kickstarter campaign, which doubled its fundraising goals within its first two days. It is inspired by earlier 3D platformers such as Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon and Psychonauts. The game was self-published for Microsoft Windows and macOS in October 2017, and by Humble Bundle for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles two months later. A version for the Nintendo Switch was released in October 2019.
A Hat in Time is a platform action-adventure game set in an open world environment and played from a third-person perspective. The gameplay style has been described by several editors to be similar to Nintendo 64 platformers such as Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. The player travels between four open levels (along with 2 extra levels via downloadable content), which can be freely explored without time limits. The player can collect various items, solve puzzles, and use an umbrella to combat enemies. The primary objective is to collect "Time Pieces", 40 of which can be found in the game, which unlock additional levels as more are collected. After being defeated, the enemies drop "Pons", currency that can be used to unlock additional challenges and purchase badges that increase Hat Kid's abilities. The player can collect Yarn Balls in each level, which can be stitched into new hats to wear. Each hat grants Hat Kid a different ability, such as a faster sprint or brewing explosive potions. Other collectibles include "Relics", which can be used to unlock "Time Rift" bonus levels, and "Rift Tokens", which can be exchanged at a machine for bonus materials such as music remixes and additional cosmetics. Initial actions taken earlier in the game have an effect on later levels, as the main character revisits each area several times before the game is finished.
Death Wish is a challenge mode. It was released with the Seal the Deal downloadable content pack in September 2018. This mode comprises various challenges that use already existing levels. The player interacts with Snatcher, a contract-obsessed ghost who first appears in the third chapter of the base game. The player takes on a challenge to earn a stamp upon completion. The player can also earn two more stamps by completing two challenges along with the main objective. If you fail three times you can activate "Peace and Tranquility" which will either increase your time to do a task or make that task easier but it will not always allow you to activate it for challenges with a limit of lives.
A Hat in Time follows Hat Kid, a little girl trying to return to her home world via spaceship. While on her journey, she passes over a planet, and a member of the planet's Mafia comes to collect a toll for the Mafia Town government. When Hat Kid refuses to pay, the Mafia man busts the spaceship door open, causing Hat Kid and all of her "Time Pieces", magical hourglasses that power her ship, to fall to the planet below. Hat Kid lands in Mafia Town and meets Mustache Girl, a local troublemaker who hates "bad guys". Mustache Girl agrees to look for the missing Time Pieces in exchange for Hat Kid's help fighting the Mafia, and the two defeat the Mafia Boss. When Mustache Girl realizes the Time Pieces can rewind time, she wants to use them to become a time-traveling superhero, but Hat Kid refuses. Angered, Mustache Girl declares the two enemies and sets off to find the Time Pieces on her own.
Hat Kid ventures across the planet looking for Time Pieces, encountering and befriending many foes that included two rival bird directors DJ Grooves and the Conductor competing for a movie award and a group of mountain villagers called Nomads infected by a dangerous plague, ultimately befriending them all. Hat Kid also outwits a malevolent spirit called the Snatcher into becoming her best friend after he tried to kill her after tricking her into doing his dirty work in Subcon Forest. The game's DLCs also have Hat Kid searching for Time Pieces while working in the Arctic Cruise and under the employ of the Nyakuza crime boss Empress, the latter ending with Hat Kid forced to flee Nyakuza Metro after a bounty was placed on her head. Mustache Girl exploits Hat Kid's absence to break into her ship and steals the collected Time Pieces, using them to turn the planet into a fiery inferno where her word is law. Hat Kid confronts her, but Mustache Girl uses the Time Pieces to open a time rift and make herself all-powerful.
The enemies Hat Kid has fought come to her aid in battle, some sacrificing themselves so that Hat Kid can use their dropped Pons to power herself up. Hat Kid finally defeats Mustache Girl and uses the Time Pieces to restore the planet to normal and revive all those who were lost. The player can then choose whether Hat Kid should hand over a Time Piece to Mustache Girl for protection or not. Though her former foes are sad to see her leave, Hat Kid restores the Time Pieces to her vault and resumes her voyage home. In a post-credits scene, Hat Kid is shown sleeping in bed surrounded by toys resembling the other characters.
The initial idea for A Hat in Time was started by director Jonas Kærlev, who graduated with a Master's Degree in Computer Science at the Aalborg University in Denmark. He launched the project as an answer to his feeling of an ongoing shortage of 3D platformers, specifically developed by Nintendo. Some inspirations include Psychonauts, Spyro the Dragon and Banjo-Kazooie. In an interview with Polygon, Kærlev revealed that he and Gears for Breakfast initially did not expect the Kickstarter success A Hat in Time eventually received. Kærlev thought that there would be little demand for the game due to Donkey Kong 64's effects on the genre, which he perceived as overwhelming the player with too much collecting. Development for the game started in August 2012 and was planned for a Q2 2013 release but was significantly delayed. At the start of development, Kærlev was the sole developer of the game but over time the development grew into Gears for Breakfast, a team spanning four countries and entirely volunteer-based. Through the Kickstarter campaign the game surpassed the initial goal of $30,000 with a final total of $296,360. In July 2013, it was announced that the game had been greenlit for release via Steam. The soundtrack was mostly composed by Pascal Michael Stiefel, with several guest composers such as Grant Kirkhope contributing additional tracks to the game.
A port of the game for Nintendo's Wii U console was in the developer's minds ever since the Kickstarter's announcement, considering that the game is heavily inspired by Nintendo-published platformers, but actual development did not materialize. Upon various requests for it to be ported for the Nintendo Switch, Gears For Breakfast initially claimed on Twitter that such a port will not happen, which was met with mixed reactions. However, during Gamescom in August 2018, a Nintendo Switch port was confirmed and it was later released on October 18, 2019. The two DLCs released for PC were also ported to the Switch version at a later date.
The first DLC, Seal the Deal, was released for the PC version on September 13, 2018, and was available at no charge for 24 hours after its release. The DLC was later released alongside the game's Nintendo Switch launch on October 18, 2019. It added the new Arctic Cruise chapter, a new challenge mode known as "Death Wish", six additional Time Rift stages, as well as new cosmetics and photo mode filters. In addition, local splitscreen co-op was also added, featuring the new character Bow Kid. The DLC is currently exclusive to the PC and Switch versions; Gears For Breakfast has announced progress for PS4 and Xbox ports, though there is no conclusive information as to if it will be added.
The second DLC, Nyakuza Metro + Online Party, was announced on April 25, 2019 and released on May 10 on PC. It was released for the Nintendo Switch on November 21, 2019. Its new, titular chapter is set in a Japan-inspired underground city, where Hat Kid becomes a member of a cat-themed street gang. A baseball bat weapon is introduced, as well as new badges, cosmetics, and stickers (which can be used as emotes, and used to decorate the player's weapon). A new online multiplayer mode was also introduced, where groups of up to 50 players can play in a single world at once. Online Party will only be available through Steam and is "one of the first games to premiere" using Valve's Steam Networking API 2.0. The DLC is available at no charge for those that had backed the game's Kickstarter campaign.
Chris Carter from Destructoid gave the game an 8.5 out of 10, calling it an "impressive effort with a few noticeable problems holding it back". PC Gamer's Dominic Tarason rated the game 86/100 saying, "Some scuff-marks aside, A Hat in Time is a creative, playful, and polished tribute to a genre that doesn't get nearly enough love on PC." Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of The Escapist was highly positive towards the game, deeming it his 2nd favorite game of 2017.
The game was nominated for "Best PC Game" in Destructoid's Game of the Year Awards 2017, for "Best Platformer" in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards, and for "Game, Original Family" at the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards.
- PC versions were self-published by Gears for Breakfast
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