As far as I’m concerned, E3 2017 is already the greatest E3 for 3D platformers in the last decade, simply because Microsoft announced Super Lucky’s Tale. But Playful’s Xbox One exclusive isn’t the only 3D platformer at this year’s event. Sharing the spotlight is Gears for Breakfast’s A Hat in Time, and they’ve already released a shiny new trailer before the show.

Something, Something Team Fortress 2 Hat Joke

A Hat in Time is a 3D platforming collect-a-thon inspired by Banjo-Kazooie, and blah, blah, blah. We’ve already discussed why it’s a problem that 3D platformers insist on chaining themselves to a 20 year old game, go read about it over here. But Gears for Breakfast is thankfully also mixing things up a bit with two big mechanics.

The first is an umbrella that is fully upgradable to stop the rain from getting you wet. Better yet, it can also let you glide around levels, float over pits of lava, and it can even be used as a grappling hook. The second thing they’re doing differently is the combat. In most 3D platformers, combat is a simplistic task, hit the attack button and watch whatever you hitting die. Here, Gears is going for a more integrated, forcing you to bob, weave, and counter enemy attacks.

Another great thing A Hat in Time is doing differently is the worlds. Most 3D platforms have some colorful, outdoor worlds that make you want to hug puppies. A Hat in Time’s levels certainly are colorful, and some of them are outdoors, but they’re introducing a lot more variety, and places we haven’t seen much of in the genre. As the Kickstarter page states, there will be big cities, deserts, and spooky forests. Many of the levels are spoofs of other pop culture as well, such as the E3 2017 trailer showing “Murder on the Owl Express.”

E3 2017, A Hat in Time, and You

In an update posted earlier this month on the game’s Kickstarter page, the developer announced their E3 plans. A Hat in Time will be playable at E3 today (June 14) at MIX – Media Indie Exchange. Players will get to play the Murder on the Owl Express level shown in the trailer, described as a “noir-inspired” thriller.

“To figure out who the murderer is,” the update reads, “Hat Kid must travel through the train and collect clues, while on a timer, and using the special powers afforded to her by her hats. Once time is up, the player has to select who they think the murderer is using the clues they’ve collected.”

When’s the last time you collected clues to solve a murder using time travel powers in a 3D platformer? As game director Jonas Kaerlev says, “It’s not always about exploring bright and colorful outdoor worlds while collecting items and traversing platform puzzles.”

That is why A Hat in Time stands out. Gears for Breakfast is taking risks, and it experiments with the formula, something many modern 3D platformers are too scared to do. Now if only they’d announce a console version…

About the Author

Josh Griffiths

Josh Griffiths is a writer and amateur historian. He has a passion for 3D platformers, narrative-driven games, and books. Josh is also Cliqist’s video producer. He’s currently working on his first novel, and will be doing so on and off for the next decade.

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