A Hat in Time on Switch is Full of Charm While Struggling with Technical Issues
A Hat in Time is a delight to play but is hindered by technical issues that may make or break players from picking it up on Nintendo Switch.
When it comes to 3D platformers, the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have a huge catalog of titles to choose from. Popular games in the genre like Super Mario Odyssey and Crash Bandicoot are all but oblivious choices to pick up on the console-handheld hybrid, but I think the recent port of A Hat in Time is a solid new option if you are looking to jump into something new.
In A Hat in Time, you play as a young girl known as Hat Kid who travels around the universe in her ship, but due to a freak accident, she loses her fuel supply of hourglasses forcing her to go world to world and find them before they end up in the wrong hands.
Being a Switch port, the game naturally takes a relative dip in technical quality. I had a pretty smooth experience throughout my beginning hours, but eventually, I ran into levels where stuttering and in-mission loading became issues. The loading problems were much more prevalent and while it did take me out of the game at times, it was never compromising. It didn’t cause me to die, get hit by an enemy, or affect platforming. The problems were more or less small jumps and pausing, but it happened enough where it did become a little frustrating.
Since the release of the port, developer Gears for Breakfast has already spoken on technical issues saying that they will work on fixes as they become aware of them. One of the more unique issues I had involved the screen being scattered to the point where I couldn’t see anything that I was doing. After leaving a level, the problem was still present, requiring me to restart the game completely. The biggest gripe I have, however, is the significant downgrade in graphics.
Unlike most Switch consumers, I preferably like to play in docked mode if I can help it. As I’ve grown older, I’ve also grown away from handheld gaming. While playing on my 65″ television, the graphical quality was incredibly poor. Character outlines stick out like a sore thumb and pixels stretch out making me think that the port was made more with handheld players in mind. While I don’t particularly blame the developers if that is the case, I hope Gears for Breakfast can make the visuals better in an upcoming patch. It got to the point where I felt too distracted to play any longer on my TV and was greeted with, while still not amazing, a far better-looking experience in handheld mode.
Even though it may sound like I’m harping on A Hat in Time a lot, it is a pleasurable joy. It’s creative and contains unique worlds that I would have never thought to be in a game of this genre. Going on a movie set and solving a crime that is (obviously) inspired by the popular mystery novel “Murder on the Orient Express” was completely unexpected but extremely welcoming. You do this all while acting in the role of Sherlock Holmes, deerstalker and all.
Along with the base game is the new Seal the Deal expansion which adds two new batches of content to consume. The first is a new chapter adding new levels that takes place in the Arctic on a giant cruise ship. The other includes the well-known character Snatcher, who has new contracts for you to sign allowing you to attempt missions that aren’t for the faint of the heart. On the first level alone, I died several times before finishing the mission. It is definitely a step up from the base game if you’re looking for a challenge.
With bouncy tunes, fun mechanics, and charisma out the wazoo, A Hat in Time is worth your time. It is a short but satisfying experience that I enjoyed my time with when I wasn’t dealing with technical issues. There are clear familiar themes of the 3D platformer genre, but with how charming the characters are, how original some of the worlds feel, and how great the music is, A Hat in Time has left a positive mark on me overall. Maybe just consider picking the game up on a different system if possible where hopefully you won’t run into as many technical problems.