Review – A Hat in Time (Switch)

A Hat in Time is a wildly successful indie 3D platformer that actually started off as a Kickstarter campaign. It originally released on PC in 2017 and made its way to the Xbox One and PS4 a couple months later. Now, two years later, we have it arriving on Nintendo Switch. Is it worth the hype it has been getting? Abso-freaking-lutely!

Now I’m not going into full detail with the base game since it’s already a couple years old and we at WTMG have already covered it. If you’d like to read an in-depth analysis of that, you can read the review that my colleague, Leo Faria, wrote back then. I wholeheartedly agree with his review. That being said, let’s look into what makes A Hat in Time for the Switch worth your time.

A Hat in Time

This game gets me.

The first and most obvious point is that this charming title is now available to play on-the-go. A Hat in Time feels completely at home on the Switch. Each level is fairly short and provides the perfect experience in both short bursts as well as full fledged play sessions. The joycons work well with the overall gameplay mechanics, although the camera is still often times frustrating and unreliable. Unfortunately, that comes with the territory of most 3D platformers. Other than the camera issues, the rest of the game feels very natural on the Switch.

The next point is that the Switch release contains not only the main game, but the Seal the Deal DLC as well. This DLC features an entire new level called “The Arctic Cruise”, an incredibly difficult challenge mode called “Death Wish”, as well as six new time rifts and a bevy of new badges and customizations.

A Hat in Time

I think someone is a little fed up…

The Arctic Cruise is an entirely new section added to the main portion of the game. However, it isn’t immediately accessible as it takes thirty-five time pieces to gain entry to it, as well as Death Tokens if you would like to continue past the first act. As made obvious from the title, the whole level takes place on a cruise ship which is run by seals and piloted by a large walrus. Keeping up with the tone of the rest of A Hat in Time, The Arctic Cruise section is adorable with adult humor subtly sprinkled throughout. My biggest complaint is that this level is too short, with only two acts before reaching the final boss. I know they say successful tales leave you wanting more, but this is simply not quite enough to be totally satisfying.

Death Wish is the other main attraction to this inclusive package, and trust me when I say it’s fun yet ridiculously hard. There are a myriad of different challenges presented in Death Wish and most seem more punishing than the last. Many of the challenges are redesigned levels we’ve seen previously, but with more enemies, time constraints, or new environmental tweaks added in. Successfully completing these challenges will grant you Death Tokens, which are needed to advance through The Arctic Cruise level.

A Hat in Time

The Snatcher could be my boss in real life.

This leads me to my other gripe with this section: you cannot continue past the first level in The Arctic Cruise without beating certain levels in Death Wish. I really don’t like that these two sections are intertwined with one another. It completely kills the flow of the game. None of the other levels need to have you complete insane challenges in order to move on, so it feels really out of place here. The Death Wish mode should be completely optional, especially given how tough the challenges are. I’m not kidding, some of the Death Wish challenges are straight up rage inducing.

I’m not sure if this is an issue with other platforms that A Hat in Time has been previously released for, but at least on the Switch the loading screen times are shockingly long. So time consuming in fact, that twice I was booted off the game entirely while it tried unsuccessfully to load. There are numerous sections that suffer from massive framerate drops as well. I should really call them framerate plummets if I’m being honest. Certain areas with lots of NPCs onscreen will slow down so much that you’ll think the game is crashing. It will stutter and break for a few seconds and then slowly find its groove again. The Dead Bird movie studio section was the biggest culprit of this. Quite a few of the Death Wish challenges were inflicted with them too, which makes the already maddeningly difficult tasks even more unbearable.

A Hat in Time

Maybe you should’ve reconsidered merging your two DLC modes together then…

I know it seems like I’ve harped on A Hat in Time a lot in this review, but its only because I’m speaking about the additions in this version versus the main game. Our review on the original release is chocked full of high praise, as this game fairly warrants. There are some questionable choices made within the DLC that has been added to the Switch release and they need to be addressed. That being said, A Hat in Time is an outstanding game that seeps cuteness and charm out of every pore. It excels in keeping the gameplay fresh in every single level, while still paying homage to the classic 3D platforming collectathons of the golden age of the 64-bit era. Anyone who enjoys these types of games needs to pick this one up immediately.


Graphics: 7.5

The cute, cartoony graphics are nothing mindblowing, but fit the game well.

Gameplay: 8.0

Every level feels different and offers different gameplay mechanics. The controls are responsive, but the camera is often frustrating.

Sound: 8.0

The sound effects go hand in hand with the cartoon nature of the game and the voice acting is delightfully over-the-top.

Fun Factor: 10

A Hat in Time is absolutely adorable and has a fantastically quirky sense of humor. Every single level has a different feel, which keeps things fresh and makes you crave more.

Final Verdict: 8.5

A Hat in Time is available now on PC, Xbox One, PS4,and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of A Hat in Time was provided by the publisher.