2017 has been a competitive year for the genre of 3D platformers. Crash Bandicoot celebrated his past with the N-Sane trilogy, Yooka-Laylee tried to prove that old formulas can still have a certain charm, and meanwhile Super Mario Odyssey reminded everyone who was still at the top. But of all the pretenders to the throne, none was as charming as the Hat at the time.
This cute Kickstarter game from the developer of Gears For Breakfast stole the show innocently when it was released in October 2017 and has since gained more and more fans in the PC room. While the charming platformer finally found its way to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the game never found its way to Nintendo’s system. I still do. Humble Bundle has finally brought A Hat in Time to the Nintendo Switch.
Those who are not familiar with the history of the original game will be pleased to know that, in accordance with the tradition of platform games, there is very little narrative. You play the role of the Hat Kid, a stupid protagonist who loves elegant hairstyles. When you return home in your spaceship, you have an unfortunate run-in with the crowd. There will be setbacks and your ship will run out of fuel. Then work together with the Mafia resistance movement to pick up the missing pieces and continue the journey home.
Like his influence as Hat Kid, you have a number of jumps and attack maneuvers that you can use in combination to pass just about anything. If you are transported from your ship to another stage, you enter the open and colorful world below and basically have the freedom to run and jump wherever you want. Each action has its own goal, but travelling around the world in a unique way to achieve this is part of the fun. For just $5 you can use the Seal the Deal extension, which includes additional worlds and unlockable features.
In A Hat in Time, the devil is absolutely in the details, because every scene, NPC and animation is full of charm. Recording a full voice adds more personality and the dots bring the world to life in an incredible way. The five-year development cycle following Kickstarter funding shows that every game mechanism and every addition to the world has been improved to perfection.
Unfortunately, this attention to detail makes it all the more noticeable and when there is a connection, certain problems inevitably arise. The first comes when the second players start playing together. While other versions of the game use a local split screen for this purpose, both players can be placed on the same screen via the switch port and the camera can be stretched far back to keep everything in view. This isn’t working properly. The camera is never at the desired angle and no matter how hard it tries to follow both players on the screen, it only really works if both players are next to each other during the game. In single-player mode, that problem disappears, and the camera is actually one of the best I’ve ever used in a 3D platform game. I don’t know if it’s because Switch’s hardware has been emptied or if it’s a conceptual idea that it would be too difficult to play in portable mode with the shared view, but it’s a very neglected feature here.
The second major problem in the port is diving in the frame. Framerate fans won’t like that because framerates are simply not compatible. Again, this can be attributed to the fact that the Switch hardware is unable to keep up with the game consoles that usually play this game, but I’d rather have the game reduced to 30ps than constantly going from 60 to 24 and vice versa. Fortunately, this is by no means a WWE 2K18 situation – this game is still playable, even if it slows down. It is a pity that these small problems occur when everything else works so well visually.
But you can not talk about the things that drag the presentation, let alone the loading times in this game, because they are damn scandalous. The charging times of the original version weren’t really surprising either, but they are very noticeable on the Switch port. There were times when I was convinced my game had crashed just to see a particularly long loading screen. To make matters worse, those download sessions have an absolutely cryptic title. If only one thing is solved in a kind of patch after that, I really hope that something is done about the charging times, because they slow down what would otherwise be a great experience on a hybrid console.
Despite some of these technical problems, Hat in Time manages to entertain and provide a very enjoyable experience. Although there is no shortage of platform games on the Switch, good 3D platformers are rare. I’ve had a great time with this project, and if you’re not ashamed of some of the problems I’ve mentioned, take a look at this project!
Examination of cap in time
- Graphs – 7/10
- Sound – 10/10
- Gameplay – 9/10
- Late call – 8/10
Final thoughts: GRAND
If you were waiting for this game to appear in your Switch library, play it. It’s always an absolute pleasure to live. In addition to technical problems, this unique indie gem can even compete with Nintendo’s most iconic games. If you’re still looking for the real love letter to the platform fans of the late ’90s, take a look at Hat in Time.
Evan Rude is a student of journalism and an amateur gambling historian. His favorite Guitar Hero III song was Even Flow.
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