“Don’t worry, you’ve got time on your hands,” Mecha the Slag’s website says about its upcoming title, “A Hat in Time.” Most college students would love for this statement to apply to their midterm exams but alas, it is just not meant to be. After all, there can only be one Hat Kid, and she’s a little preoccupied with some disruptions across the time spectrum. In an interview on February 26, 2013, developer Jonas Kaerlev shared what players can expect from “A Hat in Time.”
“A Hat in Time” is a collectathon game. Those not familiar with the term have probably played a game of the genre before. A collectathon game is where the main protagonist is able to collect additional items aside from the main adventure. Usually these items are either well-hidden or take some tricky finessing with the controls to snag. Successfully collecting these items can lead to additional game levels/content or a stronger protagonist. Prime examples of the genre include games like “Donkey Kong 64” and “Banjo and Kazooie,” both of which Kaerlev says have inspired “A Hat in Time.”
There are other influences to “A Hat in Time” as well. “My favourite game of all time is ‘Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door,’ and it has undeniably had an influence.” Kaerlev says, “I really liked that game’s characters and it’s way of presenting them. It’s amazing how applying minor effects to speech bubbles completely changes the way you read them.” Kaerlev also says that, visually, the game is heavily-influenced by “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.” There are also non-video game influences: “’Moulin Rouge’ has been a huge inspiration in shaping the first chapter boss and his boss battle. It’s very alive and in-your-face, but you’ll get to experience that on your own eventually,” Kaerlev says.
Hat Kid, the protagonist of “A Hat in Time,” is on a mission to stop her rival, the evil Moustache Girl from causing havoc across the game’s five worlds (called chapters). Hat Kid’s quest will have her traveling through time, solving mysteries, and beating up bad guys with her trusty umbrella. While certainly handy in the rain, Hat Kid’s umbrella comes with a hookshot and other handy devices. Of course, Hat Kid can also simply use her umbrella to club her enemies with.
Just how big is each chapter? Kaerlev says that each chapter contains three acts and a bonus challenge act. “Each act brings about 20 minutes of gameplay, and can vary from being huge to tiny compressed areas. The first chapter features a huge city, it’ll probably be the biggest area in the game,” Kaerlev says.
True to the collectathon genre, Hat Kid will be collecting items in each of these worlds. While Kaerlev still has plans for additional items, he says that “right now there are time objects (the equivalent of Mario’s stars and Banjo’s jiggles), power pellets (restores health), wish makers (unlocks challenge acts), along with different clothing accessories and vehicles.”
First-time players will do well to fully explore the environments (or hatmospheres?), Kaerlev says: “It’ll definitely pay off, and I really appreciate when people decide to go off the main path to look at the nifty little stuff I’ve added. Even if you somehow manage to completely glitch the game and get into unintended areas, I’ve even put cool stuff there!”
“A Hat in Time” is tentatively set for release the fourth quarter of 2013 for Windows and Mac initially with a potential release for consoles in the future. Those wanting to watch gameplay footage can check the Steam Greenlight page for “A Hat in Time” here.