Platforming games and the Nintendo Switch go together like bread and butter. It’s such a simple combo but because of this, it can be difficult to find something of substance. Not all bread is the same nor are all platformers alike. Sure, they have similar premises but its the execution that will keep you reaching out for more. A Hat in Time is that slice of bread that is incredibly warm and fluffy that makes you feel satisfied before you even notice it’s gone. In my roughly 10 hour experience, I was completely encapsulated in the world that Gears for Breakfast crafted. Each level was unique and its own while also being bold and innovative. I’ve played quite a few titles from this genre on the Switch and none have stood out quite as much as this one, besides, of course, Super Mario Odyssey.

A Hat in Time does a lot to stand out among the competition. Firstly, it’s challenging but not so tough that you wouldn’t be able to complete it. It’s the perfect balance between being too easy and extremely difficult. Levels start off fairly simple and basic, yet near the end, you’ll find yourself stringing together different moves in order to reach higher grounds and tougher objectives. The game ramps up its difficulty as each chapter proceeds toward its finale. New hats become introduces that carry their own special abilities which help overcome various barriers. It’s a pure platformer in that the hardest part of the game is reaching new heights rather than constantly overcoming enemies. There are those instances of boss fights and enemy encounters but it’s mainly the level design that is the true challenge.

Gears for Breakfast did a phenomenal job at designing each world and level. Each act feels new and fresh. It isn’t your generic run of the mill Desert or Forest level that you find in many other in the genre. You have an island run by the mafia, a Hollywood film studio, and a few others that are just fantastic. There is a forest level but it’s much different than what you’d expect. Each area serves as its own chapter filled with individual acts and contain their own slew of hidden collectibles. Most of these are also fairly open and non-linear so players can hunt down their main objective or wander around searching for secrets. These levels can also have various side objectives that need to be completed to access every area. It’s all crafted so wonderfully and allow this game to breathe new life into a genre that’s been around for so long.

Its story isn’t much to write home about though. Basically, you play as Hat Kid and are in your spaceship heading home until the ship’s fuel, Time Pieces, are scattered across the planet below you and now must collect them to ensure a safe return trip. This is very straightforward and simple but the cast of supporting characters helps elevate it to a more memorable level. Each character has a big personality while NPCs are still able to create some funny dialogue moments. Although the game doesn’t have a compelling story, its experience more than makes up for that. Once you’re done with the game, there are two additional pieces of DLC that can be found which add a total of 16 new Time Pieces to find, a brutal challenge mode, new weapons, customizable options, and many more. So there’s still much to do once all is said and done.

A Hat in Time

A Hat in Time is more about the journey at hand rather than the destination. It’s an experience that is sure to keep you glued to your screen even after the credits roll. There is so much to explore in discover in addition to its two DLCs. It does have its own share of shortcomings though such as running at 30 FPS, long load times, and some performance issues. Yet despite this, it remains as one of the best platformers on the system which stays true to the genre and implements its own spin on things. Not only is it able to stand out among platformers but it also stands out among the indie scene in general. This is by far one of the best nindies that the Nintendo Switch has to offer and shouldn’t be passed up.

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