We've been covering the delightful A Hat In Time for a while now, but not only have the developers recently launched a Kickstarter to help fund the development, I also finally got a chance to play it. Now I can tell you that without a doubt, this is project worth supporting.
If you've not heard of the game before, it's a "collec-a-ton" platformer, whose influences -- Wind Waker, Banjo-Kazooie, The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario 64 -- are readily apparent. Hat girl, the protagonist, moves much like Mario does -- to the point that I almost expected her to be able to do all of Mario's moves. There are slight differences of course: Hat girl, unlike Mario, can immediately double-jump -- just as an example. She also has stuff like a pogo-stick/Umbrella and a hookshot, which aren't things Mario can use. This might make her cooler than Mario, even if she doesn't move quite as fluidly as Mario does (not yet, anyway).
You use those moves and those tools to traverse across levels. Here's where things get exciting. The world in of itself oozes so much charm that I found myself immediately experimenting with the platforming and seeing where the game would allow me to go. I would try to climb structures and see all the nooks and crannies simply because they existed -- even if this meant swimming off into the distance to see if I could get to a far-away island. The view, after spending a while swimming:
Few games seem to tap into that sense of wonder nearly as well -- and this is that I've only tried a preview build which isn't finished and doesn't have all the assets.
Oh, and sure, I collected some orbs along the way. Why not? But mostly, I wanted to get lost in A Hat In Time's world. It's a place that reminds me a lot of Delfino Plaza in Super Mario Sunshine, though that might just be the tropical theme.
Later levels take you into outer space, the desert, and a spooky forest:
I didn't get to see most of these locations, although they sound enticing.
While playing, I noted that Hat girl could punch things -- but she's just a kid and most things seemed to hurt her if she got too rough. Instead, what seemed to be most effective was jumping on top of baddies -- most of which seemed to be the same Mafia dude. That part is disappointing, although I realise that it's a small team that is making the game. Still, I hope they're able to put in some more renders for variety's sake. And to their credit, the Mafia dudes are kind of funny (this is after a comment that implied they're not bad guys):
...yeah, they're jerks.
I didn't get to see this in the build I tried, but the game's Kickstarter promises that there will be time travel. The premise:
Time is falling apart and it is the job of the brave interstellar-travelling Hat Kid to collect all the time pieces and put them back together! But watch out, you're in a race against the evil Mustache Girl who wants to use time for evil!
If the devs manage to raise enough money, they'll also include co-op. For now, what you can bank on is a delightful game with five chapters, and these chapters have different acts -- think doing different stars on the same level in Super Mario 64.