A Hat in Time is a brilliantly, adorable homage to the old classic 3D platforming games like Super Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie. The developers at Gears for Breakfast launched their Kickstarter campaign which raked in a whopping $296,360 when only initially asking for $30,000. If you aren’t aware of how Kickstarter works, creators will add stretch goals to promote backers to throw more money for additional add-ons. This brings us to the main topic of this article. A number of those stretch goal features have now been added in the first DLC titled Seal the Deal.
Seal the Deal comes with a number of new additions to the game such as an additional chapter with 6 new time rifts to collect, the ability to play in co-op mode with a friend, and a new mode known as “Death Wish” – which adds a much more challenging element to previous levels. If you had heard about the release, you could actually pick it up for free on September 13th. If not, no worries. This pack is only 5 dollars, so not too much damage to the bank account.
Prior to the DLC, I already had 100% for everything in the game and experienced many of the mods out there created by the fans. Each chapter of this game had a unique world to explore with multiple platforms and quests to complete. The initial game felt perfect even with all of its flaws that are out there, such as occasional control concerns and camera angles where you can’t see the next platform you need to jump on due to your character’s body. That being said, I have mixed feelings about the DLC. I did enjoy playing this and would have picked this up even if I did have to pay the 5 dollars. However, certain elements of this DLC left me wanting more.
Let’s start with the new chapter. I was a little disappointed at how short it felt. Each chapter in the main game would have about 4-7 levels (not including time rift challenges which are simply platform challenges without a rich world to explore in). However, the new DLC chapter had only 3 levels and with no boss fights. Although short, the new environments felt like a good fit to the overall aesthetic. All characters (enemies and friends) are now back and going on an arctic cruise vacation; a lovely detail being that the previously defeated bosses would scold me for now also ruining their vacation, whilst running around the cruise ship. Plus, who can forget the cutest seals in the whole world!?
These new additions add a wealth of charm and new activities that force you to collect various items throughout the ship. All characters are wonderfully voice acted, with the ship and world around it having been polished quite nicely. Which makes this addition all the more upsetting when the environment felt so underutilized. Most of the previous maps would have you explore all areas, but this chapter made me feel like there were certain places I rarely ever walked through. I can’t say it’s not worth it for the price, but I definitely feel disappointed in some way.
Once finished with the additional levels I tried out the new Death Wish mode. My first impression is that having “death” in the title is truly appropriate. I have died so many times trying to complete these challenges. You are now presented a number of previous levels with added challenges, such as completing a level in a certain amount of time, while only jumping a limited number of times, without taking any damage and much more. The rewarding part is that you get a ton of new gear and customization for your character, but jeez is it a change from the previous level of difficulty.
If too difficult, you can make the challenge easier by enabling “peace and tranquility” mode. The option will become available if you fail 3 times on a level. After the third failure, it will play some calm jams and have Hat Girl sway in front of you with reassuring compliments that you are great. I was very confused when it first happened but chuckled after I realized the game was just giving me an easier way out. This will happen every level so it wasn’t long before it became infuriating when I didn’t want to use it and had to keep restarting the level with that option taunting me in the corner of the screen. The load time in between changing modes also takes way too long. Although the dancing cut scene is charming the first time, eventually you really just wish it could pop you into the level already.
Thankfully, using the tranquility mode will mark off a stamp of completion for that level, but it just isn’t as satisfying. This mode completely removes the challenge, making the levels way too easy. I spent a lot of time without peace and tranquility but once I got to around the 20th attempt I would usually give myself a break and just go into easy mode. This was at least nice for those levels that were just too hard so I could move on and try something else.
I have not tried out the local co-op mode but I am super excited to have someone over to give it a go. You can play the entire game with a friend now and I think it’s an awesome way to get someone new into the game. I’m always looking for a game that my wife can play with me and this just might be it!
Overall, this DLC is jam-packed with new content. It might not be for everyone due to the crazy spike in difficulty with “death wish” but any addition to this awesome game is welcomed. That being said, the Kickstarter goals are not finished and there is still a 7th chapter that they had promised us. I hope that they spend more time on solely the 7th chapter in a new DLC as I would love to see more depth and exploration in the next world that they create. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go scream at my computer some more about trying to finish those last death wish levels.