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A Hat in Time is a Platform Game from independent developer Gears for Breakfast. It stars a petite time-traveller named Hat Kid who is trying to get back home on her space ship. But while passing over a planet, a confrontation with a member of a Mafia ends up with her Time Pieces, which are likewise the fuel for her ship, being sucked off the ship and scattered around the planet. Now she must explore the local planet for her missing Time Pieces if she wishes to get back home. Using her platforming abilities and the magic abilities of the hats she can wear, Hat Kid travels across strange and varied locales of the planet, unwittingly getting involved in certain situations along the way.

A Hat in Time is a Spiritual Successor and Genre Throwback to the collect-a-thon Platformers of The Fifth Generation of Console Video Games, including Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon, and Donkey Kong 64, though with a brightly colored cel-shaded visual style reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, however, the game was praised for initially advertising itself as that, but then being very original and having its own identity to stand out instead of just rehashing what these games made.

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The game was released in October 5, 2017 for PC, Mac, and was released on December 5, 2017 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A port for Nintendo Switch is also in the works.

The first major DLC pack, called Seal The Deal, was released on September 13th 2018. It contains The Arctic Cruise chapter, the promised New Game+ mode called Death Wish, which contains a collection of contracts from The Snatcher, and completing them gives you bunch of cosmetic hat reskins, some neat badges, and a few dyes. A Co-op mode that introduced "Bow Kid" into the game released on the same day. The DLC was also given away for free for the day of its launch. A second major DLC pack releases on May 10th 2019, containing a Nyakuza Metro chapter as well as an Online Party mode in which up to 50 players can collect Time Pieces together. It also adds in a community made Death Wish Level, as well as stickers to collect in the games' various worlds.

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This game contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In the final phase of the fight against Mustache Girl, the various baddies cheering you on decide to pummel each other to give you constant health power-ups, thus granting you regenerating health.
  • Actor Allusion: In the final game, Jon Jafari voices an owl security guard at Dead Bird Studio. He's always had a strong association with birds.
  • Achievement Mockery:
    • The "Why" achievement, earned by typing something immature into Hat Kid's computer or responding to a CAW agent's question in a similar manner.
    • The "False Detective" achievement is unlocked by completing Murder on the Owl Express without getting any clues. The achievement description contains the phrase "you suck" in brackets.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: In the final Act of the Nyakuza Metro, the Hat Kid is forced to flee from The Empress's rockets and minions, rather than fight back.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: Played for laughs with the "Mockery of Off-Planet Life" relic, which depicts 3 cows being abducted. Being an alien herself, Hat Kid is confused and offended by the cow abduction, among other things.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The Final Chapter: Time's End. A downplayed example as not every gimmick is present, but you have to use most of the things you've learned so far to finish the level.
    • "Tour" is a purple Time Rift (introduced in "Seal the Deal") where each room is based on one of the base game's chapters.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield:
    • Happens once during Subcon Forest's last boss fight.
    • The final fight, when Mustache Girl abuses the Time Piece power.
  • Ambiguous Situation: During the ending, you have the option of whether or not you decide to give a Time Piece to the unconscious Mustache Girl. What her reaction is and what she'll do with it, as well as if the loss of fuel will prevent Hat Kid from getting all the way home, are left to the player's imagination. Your decision is never referenced in any chapter afterwards either.
  • Anachronic Order: A minor version; the first four Acts of Mafia Town are done in order, but the next Acts revealed are 7 and 6 (the latter requiring Pons to be unlocked). Beating them both unlocks Act 5, which requires a hat from Chapter 4.
    • It is impossible to complete one of the missions in Chapter 2 without an item from Chapter 3. Which also means you can't reach the Chapter 2 boss without at least getting a good way into the first two acts of Chapter 3, as you can get the required item without completing either act.
      • The Anachronic Order regarding Chapters 2 and 3 makes sense, since "Subcon Forest" was initially supposed to be Chapter 2 with "Battle of the Birds" being Chapter 3. In all of the promo material Subcon Forest was Chapter 2, and it shows on the game's website that "Battle of the Birds" was going to be Chapter 3 before the two were swapped late in development.
    • Similarly, the last act of Chapter 1 is not impossible to beat without the Time Slow hat, but it very nearly is and the game will tell you as much. This hat isn't gotten until Chapter 4.
    • It's suggested that Arctic Cruise and Nyakuza Metro, respectively considered Chapters 6 and 7, take place during Hat Kid's adventure on the planet, and not after Chapter 5, due to the fact Hat Kid left the planet after defeating Mustache Girl.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Upon collecting your 25th Time Piece, there is a very brief sequence where you play as Mustache Girl looting Hat Kid's spaceship.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • Hat Kid can craft 5 different hats that give her special abilities, and she can also buy badges (which attach to her hat) that can help or hurt her, making this a genuinely useful trope.
    • Completing a Rift level or spending 3 Rift Tokens on the machine in Hat Kid's ship deck lets you get various items, among them alternate hat skins and color palettes. Unlike the above, these are entirely cosmetic and serve only for customizing Hat Kid to your liking.
    • Completing the Snatcher's Death Wish levels rewards Hat Kid with even more cosmetic customization options.
  • Animesque: Nyakuza Metro has a few billboards and advertising posters that feature an anime-looking humanoid cat girl on them.
  • Antepiece: Used pretty extensively in the style of its inspirations. One of the most striking examples is in one Alpine Skyline act that requires extensive use of the Dweller Mask. Beforehand, you're shown the interactions between green objects, purple objects, and bells; here, you learn about how different green bells and the mask all interact, and how red bells cancel everything out. Not only does the act end with a pretty complex platforming segment including all of these at once, but each element (including the red bells, which never show up anywhere else) appears in the final chapter.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Act 3 of Chapter 1 is when the game first teaches the player how to dive jump to have better horizontal reach with Hat Kid's jumps. Because of that, screwing up a jump not only teleports the player to the last floor they were on to avoid too much retreading, but falling won't deal damage either.
    • While players have to start from the beginning after dying in a boss battle, each boss phase is shortened slightly after the Hat Kid beats it.
    • The game very well warns the player if they're about to enter a chapter without the item to complete it.
    • Some of the more grueling platforming segments, like inside the Windmill, will teleport the Hat Kid to a previous checkpoint should the player fall (albeit causing a point of damage), so to avoid falling too much and consequently having to restart the entire thing all over again.
    • Nyakuza Metro is the hardest level to traverse in the game, by far and away. As such, it has many health pickup points to make it more bearable to get around Nyakuza Metro. The level has loads of health pons strewn about the metro in plentiful amounts, more than any other level in the game. There are also lots of food trucks / food stands positioned near train stations that allow you to exchange pons for food, which is a cheap way of regaining health. In addition, you can also boost Hat Kid's maximum health to five if she combos two food combos together.
    • Nyakuza Metro has a guide system to show you exactly where to go for 100 pons in the event the complexity of the level proves too much for you, which can be accessed at the circular help desk located at the start of the level, right across from Le Felin.
    • Most boss fights will often drop Health Pons to help the player.
    • Using either "Peace And Tranquility" mode or "Assistance mode" doesn't impact your progress or rewards in Death Wish.
  • Arc Villain: Almost every Chapter has its own overarching antagonist.
    • "Mafia Town" has the Mafia of Cooks, who are the reason Hat Kid is stuck on the planet in the first place, but don't antagonize her beyond this chapter.
    • "Battle of the Birds" avoids this for the most part, up until there's a decisive winner, in which case The Conductor or DJ Grooves take the position of the boss of that world.
    • "Subcon Forest", features The Snatcher, who forces Hat Kid to work under contract, and makes her do a number of menial tasks for him.
    • "Alpine Skyline" has the Purple Flowers, which corrupt the mountain as Hat Kid gets the Time Pieces.
    • Averted in "Arctic Cruise", which is the only level in the game without any sort of overarching threat. The only trouble caused is because of Hat Kid accidentally crashing the ship into an iceberg.
    • "Nyakuza Metro" has the Empress, an evil Yakuza Sphinx cat who leads her own personal gang. She forces Hat Kid to work under her, and makes her collect time pieces in exchange for cash.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: If Hat Kid attacks the Empress in her shop in Nyakuza Metro, she'll retaliate with a slap that instantly kills Hat Kid.
  • Art Evolution: Upon the game's release, most talking animations were either 2D painted mouths on 3D elements, or simple jaw riggings for characters that can open and close their mouths (neither case had any real lip syncing). In "Nyakuza Metro", there are cutscenes including the Nyakuza boss, and she has advanced and near-perfect lip syncing.
    • A more subdued example with the Mafia goons. In the earliest builds of the game, the Mafia were portrayed with small, sunken-in eyes, making them look a little more menacing. Upon the game's release, the Mafia have larger, more expressive eyes.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In the final act of "The Arctic Cruise", the walrus captain says that he would be fine if he were to go down with the ship because he can breathe underwater. However, walruses are still mammals, and can only stay underwater for at most 10 minutes. Not to mention the immense pressure that he would experience after sinking far enough down into the ocean.
  • Ascended Meme: Peace and Tranquility and it's VHS-esque visuals, and the "No one is Around to Help" message is a permutation lifted from, of all things, Pocket Camp, specifically this video edit. The video creator did another one with Hat Kid and Bow Kid smug dancing, and this is what formed the basis of the "Peace and Tranquillity" visuals a month later when the Seal the Deal DLC released.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Various boss themes start cranking out the rock for some blood-pumping butt-kicking.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: The Grand Parade is an odd variation: the game doesn't autoscroll per se, but the band following Hat Kid will trample her if she stands still for too long.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Projectile badge, which turns Hat Kid's default attack into a Wave Motion Gun that can be charged for more damage. It's worthless outside of boss battles, since any enemies you were going to attack probably moved out of the way even if you tap the attack button.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: The game begins with a Mafia member invading the ship from outside, Hat Kid being dragged into space by the Mafia's idiotic move, and Hat Kid herself surviving atmospheric re-entry. On top of that, in the ending, Hat Kid opens a window on her in-flight spaceship, and has a one-sided conversation with the characters clinging on.
  • Big Bad: Mustache Girl is the main antagonist of the game. In the post-game "Death Wish" mode, former Arc Villain The Snatcher becomes this. In Nyakuza metro, The Empress is the one who you report to as she's collecting your time pieces.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Queen Vanessa's Manor.
  • Big "NO!": If you delete one of your save files, Hat Kid does this (presumably the version you've just erased).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Hat Kid manages to recover her Time Pieces and undo the damage done by Mustache Girl's actions. Hat Kid is finally able to continue her trip back home before having a tearful farewell to her friends.
  • Bleak Level: Downplayed with Subcon Forest, in that while it's still dark and dreary, it's also the part of the game that's at the point where the humor is at its most pitch black. Played straight, however, with "Queen Vanessa's Manor", which distinctly lacks the sense of humor in the game, and a lot of it is spent hiding from an enemy Hat Kid has absolutely no chance of winning against in a straight fight.
  • Book-Ends: The game begins with the Hat Kid sleeping (and waking up with a loud alarm) and then with a Mafia member coming up to Hat Kid's spaceship, derailing her trip home. The game ends with the various villains that Hat Kid has faced coming up to convince her to not leave the planet - and a Mafia member is the first one to ask her to stay - almost derailing her trip home again. It also ends with the Hat Kid getting some well deserved sleep.
  • Bottomless Pits: Here and there, although far more prominent in Alpine Skyline. Falling in one will teleport Hat Kid and deal one point of damage to her.
  • Border Patrol: The robot torpedo shark that patrols the waters around Mafia Town and keeps you from swimming out too far. Also serves as a kind of Broken Bridge in the beta, since it forces you to buy boat tickets to visit the outermost islands around the town.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Sprint Hat basically does exactly what it says, allowing Hat Kid to sprint, which sounds a lot less impressive than throwing bombs or slowing down time. In practice, however, it's probably going to be the hat the player uses most, due to allowing the player to get from place to place more quickly, and being vital in closing the gap between trickier platforms.
  • Boss Remix: Similarly to classic Colectathon games such as Donkey Kong 64, boss themes are fast-paced remixes of the the world they reside in. Though here, fast-paced remix means, as said above, "start cranking out the rock for some blood-pumping butt-kicking".
  • Boss Rush: Death Wish has two of them. The first one, simply called Boss Rush has Hat Kid fight all of the world bosses and the possessed outhouse in sequence. The other one, called Seal the Deal has Hat Kid fight, in order, the EX versions of the Mafia Boss, the Conductor/DJ Grooves, and Mustache Girl, and an even tougher version of Snatcher EX that borrows attacks from the other bosses.
  • Boss Subtitles: In the Alpha, the battle against the TNT-toting Mafia members gets a subtitle. However, both the Beta and the final release don't have subtitles for the mini-bosses or bosses.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: As revealed in the newest soundtrack video for A Hat in Time, All of the previous major Arc Villains in the game, including Ex-Big Bad Mustache Girl, have all fallen under the control of the Snatcher in Death Wish mode to kill Hat Kid with faster attack patterns and new abilties such as The Conductor/DJ Grooves able to summon knives and send them foward via a form of psychokinesis instead of just throwing them with the assistance photo copies.
  • Breather Episode: In Subcon Forest, act five falls between sneaking around Queen Vanessa's mansion and the world's boss battle against the shadowy, soul-stealing Snatcher. Act five, though, is just riding a scooter around and delivering packages to the denizens of the forest.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Very early in the game, Mustache Girl says she plans to squash the Mafia to a pulp — literally — and turn them into a paste to sell. The defeated Mafia boss later shows up as a pair of eyes floating in a paste of his own pulp, somehow still alive, conscious, and quite angry but otherwise not too perturbed by the whole situation.
    • During the first chapter of Subcon Forest, the Snatcher takes Hat Kid's soul and a message pops up on screen saying "You feel exceedingly empty inside." When you defeat him and get your soul back, another message pops up saying "You got your soul back! You feel relieved, energized, and just the usual amount of empty."
    • An interactive one: Reach the end of Dead Bird Studio, and you get to "alter" a photograph of Hat Kid. Then, at some point, you might save and quit, come back to the game hours or even days later, and find that whatever you drew is the save file picture.
  • But Now I Must Go: Played with in the ending. Hat Kid has no gripes with booting off the villains clinging to her spaceship and begging her to stay. However, she does get a tear in her eye right before flying back home.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • The Snatcher makes Hat Kid an offer she can't refuse once she first sets foot in Subcon Forest (stealing her soul and forcing her to do his dirty work). The player can try to decline, but The Snatcher eventually gets fed up and straight-up kills Hat Kid if she refuses to sign the contract too many times.
    • Despite there being an achievement for failing to find any evidence in the Murder on the Owl Express mission, the game always defaults to the Conductor being an available suspect, and there's no actual ending for finding no evidence and no choice to pick no one at all. Why? Well, because otherwise it wouldn't be much of a movie.
  • Canon Discontinuity: There was an Alternate Reality Game that seemed to shed some light on the backstory of the game, and was done by one of the dev team members. While the ARG is still going, most of the team has stated that it's considered, for all intents and purposes, non-canon.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Lampshaded on The Arctic Cruise by a mafia member.
    They serve fish in kitchen. Also, fish are guests on boat. Mafia try not to think about this.
  • Casino Park: The Mafia HQ.
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: A group of NPC cats in Nyakuza Metro are talking about good luck charms, and one of them questions the viability of a Maneki Neko on a cat when another in the group had purchased one recently. The cat responds by calling them similar to a rabbit's foot, with another cat in the group referencing the trope as to why cats don't need good luck charms.
  • Cat Folk: The residents of Nyakuza Metro are Black cats with yellow eyes.
  • Cat Girl: Sprawled about the Nyakuza Metro level are posters with an anime-esque cat girl on them.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The world of the game, no matter how bright and silly it seems, quickly establishes itself as this. Every place Hat Kid visits is under the thumb of selfish, greedy and outright murderous authority figures, most people just go along with horrible things happening around them - Hat Kid included - and there are very few people who could be called "good" by any stretch. It says a lot that the Big Bad of the game is the only person in the game who wants - albeit in an insane way - to clean things up. This subsequently makes a minor plot point in the finale: Mustache Girl creates a world where she can pass judgment on "bad guys" for the good of everyone, but that seems to have included everyone, implying that the whole planet is stocked with bad guys. She does realize that if she wins she'll end up completely alone - to her horror - but she's too far in the throes of a Villainous Breakdown to stop herself.
  • Cel Shading: As aforementioned, this game uses the impressive cel shading similar to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker; heck, many people have compared Hat Kid to Toon Link due to this similarity in the graphic style. She can even get a Palette Swap called "Forest Critter" that very closely resembles Toon Link.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Each of Hat Kid's hats allows her access to a different ability:
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Nyakuza Metro is split up into six different areas, of which four of whom have a colour as a main theming in their name and as part of their area colour scheme. The only exceptions are the Main Station, and the Escape Tunnels found at the end of Act 8: Rush Hour.
  • Controllable Helplessness: The first encounter with The Snatcher involves being caught in an inescapable tarp trap, though the player can still mash the attack button to struggle.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The level Heating Up Mafia Town involves Mustache Girl opening up the large faucets in Mafia Town that control the local volcano, turning Mafia Town into a Lethal Lava Land. Unless Hat Kid actually touches the lava, she is perfectly fine.
    • The game notably averts this with the Death Wish contract for the level; Beat the Heat, where Hat Kid will heat up over time to the point where she'll start taking damage. She cools off by jumping into the pool or one of the water buckets scattered across the level. This makes A Hat In Time one of the few games to (somewhat realistically) portray Convection that hurts the player.
  • Cool Mask: All of the Forest Dwellers wear animal masks (possibly because they have no faces otherwise). Hat Kid can even wear some of them herself.
  • Counterfeit Cash: The Empress has a printing press with money in it in her storeroom.
  • Credits Running Sequence: Hat Kid in the credits.
  • Crossover: Some of the Workshop content by the developers themselves includes hats or badges based upon other Indie Games, with their own abilities, such as Raz's helmet with the levitation ball, or Lilac's earpieces with the Dragon Cyclone (which actually has a unique voice clip of Hat Kid saying "Cyclone!").
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: In Seal the Deal, You have to crash the cruise ship into an iceberg in its final level. Hat Kid doesn't even sound very upset about it and commandeered the ship to reach a Time Piece, though her conflicted reaction in her journal implies that crashing the ship wasn't intended.
  • Damsel in Distress: The second encounter with Mustache Girl involves saving her from the Mafia.
  • Dark Reprise: Every major boss battle in the game has the central theme of its chapter remixed into a boss theme. The game's final chapter however features a far darker remix of the game's main theme.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Snatcher contracts. Subverted in that you only have to do menial/weird jobs for him, and that if you refuse he just kills you.
  • Death Course: One located in a train, of all places.
  • Death Mountain: Alpine Skyline consist of several mountains linked by ropes the Hat Kid can travel to one another using her hookshot.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Most enemies tend to burst into Pons when defeated. Bosses seem to be immune to this, with the exceptions of the Toilet of Doom, and the head of the Mafia, whose remains are then jarred by Mustache Girl.
  • Deus ex Machina: The police cats in the final part of Nyakuka Metro. Empress nearly has Hat Girl dead to rights when she intercepts an elevator Hat Girl was trying to take and forces her to ride with her. Luckily the floor they stop on was right in front of two officers responding to all the chaos going on and Empress, not wanting to make a scene, leaves without incident. Ironically enough one of the cops was on her payroll but didn't even know what was going on and, even more ironically, gave Hat Kid the last time piece of the story thinking she was still working for Empress and figured she would give it to her for him.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • There's an achievement literally called Sequence Breaking for if you get the first Time Piece without running into Mustache Girl (by jumping up the wall to your left upon loading in).
    • There's also one for inputting something inappropriate whenever the game lets you enter text.
    • In the third act of Mafia Town, if you reach the paranoid Mafia who has the Time Piece without getting covered in mud — which you have to actively be trying to do, because there are mud puddles all around the place, including right in front of the two ways leading to said Mafia — he won't react to you, instead just muttering about mud-covered aliens to give you a clue.
    • An area on the ship, only accessible by using the Ice Hat, you can find Hat Kid's diary, but you're only likely to get it in Chapter 2 at the earliest. Hat Kid actually has diary entries for the very first Acts of the game, which are otherwise impossible to read without using console commands, the Diary+ Steam Workshop Game Mod, or by redoing a level via Death Wish.
    • Some themes have remixes specifically for when you ride your scooter. One of those themes only plays in time rifts. Considering time rifts are usually just a series of platforms, riding a scooter in them doesn't make much sense.
    • During one level which features a very large sleeping bird, the Hat Kid's usual victory animation when retrieving the Time Piece is replaced by her hurriedly shushing the Time Piece before it makes too much noise.
    • Despite there being a taunt button, Hat Kid will automatically taunt Mafia when nearby. Considering that they're the ones responsible for all her Time Pieces going missing in the first place, the sentiment is hardly surprising.
    • Attempting to enable cheats with console commands during a Death Wish will have the Snatcher call you out, via some echo text.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: The beach where the race is held is bordered by signs saying "sod off." Given that one of their staff members is British, it's possible that they were trying to Get Crap Past The Radar... or said British member trolled them into adding it in.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: In the final Act of Subcon Forest, Hat Kid defaces the contract The Snatcher gave her and pre-stamped, making it give her full access to the area and making The Snatcher her BFF.
  • Distant Finale: The ending of the Alpha Build. After completing the two storyline missions included in the game, you get a nice "Thank you for playing the alpha build of A Hat in Time!" message. Suddenly, the game shifts to a new location in the middle of a dark, snowy street somewhere in what appears to be another planet. A bookstore's door opens, and out steps who appears to be Hat Kid... Only she's very much not a kid anymore. She can walk around the quiet, snowy street corner, but she can't jump or use any of her abilities. Eventually, she can walk up to the window of the bookstore, which appears to be displaying several books of fairy tales, to see the credits. The same ending appears in the Beta build, after completing the final level of that build.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Chapter 2's "Murder on the Owl Express" can refer to either the killing of one of the Express Owls aboard the titular train, or the fact that there are a bunch of crows on the train as well.
  • Dual Boss: The Death Wish version of the DJ Grooves/The Conductor boss fight has Hat Kid fight them both at once.
  • Dungeon Bypass: In the basement of Queen Vanessa's Manor, there's a hole in the wall in-between the barrels that can be crouched into. Entering the hole will lead you straight into the attic immediately, bypassing the entire manor. It's primarily intended for speedrunners but it can also be used to avoid the nightmare-inducing parts of the level for those who can't cope well with horror.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Tim, the CEO of Time. However, he does not make an appearance outside of production art.
  • Egopolis: Mafia Town. Also, Mustache Girl's Castle in the finale.
  • Earn Your Fun: For people that want the characters to start Speaking Simlish, the Banjo-Kazooie mumble is done via a purchasable badge, and it's one of the most expensive badges of all.
  • Enemy Mine: The Final Boss sees Hat Kid working together with her former enemies to defeat Mustache Girl and make her get lost.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: DJ Grooves, a penguin with Cool Shades, a nice vest, and a generally calm, cool personality.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Once upon a time, Queen Vanessa was Princess Vanessa. Then she was crowned queen... And thanks to the loss of her cute, sparkly title, everything went downhill from there.
  • Evil Brit: Mustache Girl. Also, The Conductor if you side with him in Battle of the Birds, being a Scottish example.
  • Exact Words: The Dweller's Mask is usable in Queen Vanessa's Manor as Hat Kid's contract with the Snatcher specifically states "No Hats".
  • Expy:
    • "Murder on the Owl Express" features "CAW Agents", anthropomorphic crows wearing trench coats, that are trying to investigate the murder on the Owl Express, but come off as creepy and awkward, due to constantly asking suspicious questions, but also come off as rather stupid and ineffectual, similar to the G-Men.
    • One has to wonder if Snatcher was ever locked in an ominous black chest...
  • Face–Heel Turn: Mustache Girl starts as a friend, but later works against Hat Kid due to different motivations.
  • Facial Composite Failure: In Mafia Town, there are several wanted posters of Mustache Girl that are drawn with very uncanny Mafia faces. None of them even remotely resemble Mustache Girl's true face, and make her out to look like a Gonk in appearance.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: The Mafia of Cooks. Their criminal activities involve beating up barrels dressed as old ladies (to intimidate people) and punching seagulls for eating their fish, and they won't harm Hat Kid unless she attacks them first (well, usually).
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • It's subtle, but it's there. In Chapter 2, The Conductor holds this viewpoint towards Moon Penguins in-general, calling them insults like "Peck necks who dance around on bird seed". And Dead Bird Studio does not allow any humans on set, with the receptionist stating that they're only insured for bird staff and that allowing Hat Kid in (who's a Human Alien) would be a liability. Ironically, DJ Grooves holds the opposite viewpoint as he's willing to hire Hat Kid and some of the Express Owls in his movies.
    • Averted with The Snatcher. In one of his Death Wish quotes, he claims himself to be an equal opportunity employer who values all souls regardless of age, race, gender, or their position on the endangered species list.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Some of the fines you can get billed for in Dead Bird Studio are flat-out ridiculous. Fines like "Assault on Cactus" and "Teepee T-KO" are triggered for just knocking down said props, and "Owl Harassment" and "Penguin Harassment" are triggered by simply being in their line of sight for less than a second.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: A timeline in which Mustache Girl passes judgement over all.
  • Finger Gun: Hat Kid constantly holds up a finger gun during the stealth section at Dead Bird Studio and the murder mystery on the Owl Express, seemingly just to get herself into the mood.
  • First Person Snapshooter: A camera collectable in Mafia Town allows the player to take pictures.
  • First Town: Mafia Town. It's one of the least dangerous areas and has several places where you can test hat powers and items you acquire much later in the game as well.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Among the passengers you need to save from drowning during the stage "Rock the Boat" are the seals, who should be able to swim. Whether this is because they are lazy or just so incompetent that they actually can't swim is never answered.
  • Furry Confusion: Nyakuza Metro is full of anthropomorphic cats, but has giant non-anthropomorphic cats pulling the trains.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: It's possible for one glitch to lock you out of the badge slots entirely for that specific save file. The glitch is caused by toggling the skip-able cutscenes in the settings menu to on, so when you buy the badge pins from the Badge Seller, the slots will not appear in the pause menu, and you'll be unable to equip more than one badge for the rest of the playthrough.
  • Game Mod: The Steam version was updated with official Workshop support, allowing for new hats and stages. The first two mods are a hat based off Razputin Aquato's Aviator Helmet, and a badge that gives Hat Kid Sash Lilac's Cyclone ability (with exclusive voiced dialogue on top).
  • Game-Over Man: Snatcher will occasionally laugh at/taunt Hat Kid if, no, when she dies in Death Wish.
  • Game Within a Game: In the Machine Room in Hat Kid's spaceship, there's a text adventure game you can play on her computer called "Corgi Text 7 - The Leashes That Bind", where you're a corgi named Alan, and your goal is to escape being leashed. There's plenty of witty writing to go around, and despite being essentially a parody of old text adventure games, it's actually a fully-functional one within a 3D platformer.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • A couple of bits of dialogue lampshade the fact that Hat Kid is a Heroic Mime.
    • The Final Boss also has the former villains and enemies realizing that they drop health power-ups once they're defeated and start actively beating each other up so they can keep giving Hat Kid health throughout the battle.
  • Get Out!:
    • The Snatcher, after being defeated by Hat Kid, tries to get her to leave via a contract that has this as its terms.
      Get Out
      Just Get Out
      The following parts of the forest will be available:
      None of it. Get Out.
      Please
      take all your junk
      and leave.
    • In the finale, when everyone comes to Hat Kid's defense, they all tell Mustache Girl the exact same thing: Get lost.
  • Gimmick Level: Every chapter, to an extent;
    • Mafia Town is the most normal of them, acting pretty much like a Super Mario 64 world with slight differences based solely on which time piece you choose to pursue. Where this differs from the basic formula is that some acts are wildly different than the normal level, such as flooding the area with lava, and the chapter boss is defeated halfway through, based on the numbering of the acts.
    • Battle Of The Birds contains two branching paths in a "choose your side" type storyline. You have to finish every act, but who ends up winning and becoming the chapter boss is up to how well the player does in the two acts each side gets.
    • Subcon Forest has no bought or automatically gained acts unlike the first two chapters. Advancing depends on exploring the world in a previous act until you come across one of the Snatcher's "traps," where he then gives you another contract to fulfill.
    • Alpine Skyline also has no bought acts and is entirely designed around free roaming exploration. In fact, the only way to gain any one of the acts on the chapter menu is to have already finished it, and the only act you start with functions more like the chapter's own hub world, with a series of zip lines giving you the ability to travel to each level manually.
    • Arctic Cruise emphasizes Hat Kid picking up and taking things from place to place, with each level being built around it in some way; the first one is usually a way to acquire Time Piece shards, the second being to pick up things to help the ship's denizens, and the third to save everyone on the sinking ship.
    • Nyakuza Metro goes with the free roam model that Alpine Skyline has, with numerous trains around the level emphasizing momentum-based platforming, but also features a "Pass" system, where Hat Kid isn't allowed to go through certain doors until she buys certain color-coordinated passes.
  • Girliness Upgrade:
    • In the Alpha and Beta Build's Distant Finale, an older Hat Kid traded in her childhood top hat for a bonnet.
    • In a downplayed example, you can use alternative hat and clothing appearances to make Hat Kid as tomboyish or girly as you want, including making her entire wardrobe bright pink with a ladybug headband.
  • Girls with Moustaches: The main villain is like this. She's even called Mustache Girl.
  • Going Down with the Ship: In "Rock the Boat" it appears the captain is attempting to invoke this when you rescue him. In reality he isn't. He is a walrus so he was never in danger of drowning.
  • Good Morning, Crono: Hat Kid begins the game sleeping, before being startled awake by her radio. And by startled awake, we mean launching out of her bed in surprise.
  • Goomba Stomp: Hat Kid's other primary form of offence besides her umbrella. Some enemies require you to use both to defeat them.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The Time Pieces, badges, hats, relics... neckties? The backer alpha reveals that red ties were a currency you can trade for items. However, as of the final game, the ties have been removed as a currency, leaving just Pons.
    • In the movie levels of Chapter 2, there are collectible tokens of The Conductor's or DJ Grooves' head, dependent on the mission, which Hat Kid can collect. Each one increases the final score she gets for that level.
    • The Seal the Deal DLC's Death Wish mode adds Snatcher's stamps for completing objectives. They don't do anything except increase your completion percentage (to a maximum of 110%) & let you know which objectives you've completed.
    • The Nyakuza Metro DLC adds stickers. You can choose 3 to put on your weapon. The 3 you choose also get added to your chat menu & most of them will trigger unique dialogue.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The umbrella eventually gets an upgrade allowing for grappling to certain points.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • One of the Mafia Town hourglasses in the Beta requires you enter a pipe & complete an obstacle course like the ones in Super Mario Sunshine. It's a really small pipe in a very remote location. Somewhat helped by the fact that there are some orbs inside it, and the fox mask (apparently) glows green when near secrets, but there's still the problem that it's tiny and remote. However, the final game changes it up, as instead there's what could only be described as a time portal in it, plus the Act Select screen allows you to view a photo hint as to where the portal is.
    • A few players failed a few times before realizing that, despite the fact that it could be easily done without it, a late game grapple point requires the use of the Time Slow hat.
    • It's not made clear that talking to the "dog" that you save in "Murder on the Owl Express" gives you evidence with which to accuse someone at the end of a level.
    • To progress to other acts in Subcon Forest, Hat Kid needs to activate some of the Snatcher's traps to sign more contracts, though it's never explained where they are.
    • When you first unlock the Alpine Skyline, there's a path to the side blocked by a purple wall. Even if you already had the Dweller Mask, you wouldn't know that it works here until the first time you're forced to interact with them, which is either in Alpine Skyline or when trying to reach one and only one of the time rifts in Subcon. Granted, this is hinted at by one of the Snatcher's minions near the fire sprites blocking said rift, but you wouldn't ever hear it unless you're going for every bonus level or aimlessly exploring Subcon (probably due to the last example).
  • Hailfire Peaks: Subcon Forest has a section where the forest is always burning and another section, Queen Vanessas's domain, where a perpetual blizzard takes place and everything else is frozen.
  • Harmless Freezing:
    • Hat Kid can turn herself into an ice sculpture with a Ground Pound when using the Ice Hat, which allows her to dive underwater and bounce on blue platforms that spring her to a specific place.
    • Queen Vanessa's freezing, however, is very much lethal.
  • Have a Nice Death: Dying in one of Snatcher's Death Wish missions will sometimes have him mock you.
  • Heroic Mime: Hat Kid doesn't say anything during cutscenes, which Mustache Girl lampshades early on. Outside cutscenes, though, she'll say some intelligible words and phrases, such as counting certain collectibles out loud.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: After Mustache Girl accidentally kills some of the enemies watching her fight Hat Kid, the bad guys realize that they can drop healing items for Hat Kid when they're defeated, and proceed to consensually kill each other in order to provide her with infinite health. However, they're also aware of the fact that Hat Girl's victory would bring them all back from the dead anyway, making this a lesser example.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Alpine Skyline counts as one. It is a hidden civilization high in the mountain peaks that are inhabited by a species of sentient but silent Goats, the curious Nomads, the devious Lazy Paw Gang, and the invasive Purple Flowers, and none of the inhabitants want nothing to do with the rest of the outside world. The civilization is feudal-like in nature and completely lacking in modern technology, and its location is so remote that none of the NPCs from other levels are present therenote .
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The Conductor has the exact same hitbox as DJ Grooves, despite the fact that the former is about human-sized, while the latter stands taller than Hat Girl with her top hat on. This is especially noticeable if you do a homing attack on the Conductor, as you'll visibly hit the air above him.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Upon getting your 25th Time Piece, the following loading screen gets pulled up like a projector screen by Mustache Girl, who you proceed to control for a brief moment.
  • Hub Level: Thanks to a Kickstarter stretch goal, Hat Kid's spaceship is this.
  • An Ice Person:
    • Hat Kid can turn herself into an ice statue when she uses the Ice Hat.
    • Queen Vanessa's gaze turns her victims to ice. Her mansion is even decorated with several of her... trophies.
  • Idle Animation: Hat Kid will play with dolls, spin her umbrella on her finger, or put her arms behind her back and and wiggle before pulling out her umbrella quickly and assuming a battle stance, among others.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: All of the Mafia Goons are identical (except for slight differences in clothing) and all refer to themselves as "Mafia".
  • Informed Obscenity: According to DJ Grooves, "peck" is considered an obscene word to birds, and he admonishes The Conductor for frequently peppering it into his speech.
  • Interface Screw: If Queen Vanessa steps within a hallway's length of you, the screen turns dark purple and vibrates and shakes intensely.
  • Interface Spoiler: It's easy to guess Mustache Girl isn't going to stay on your side if you die before she renounces her friendship with you, due to her face being the "game over" fadeout.
  • Item Get!: Hat Kid performs one a la Super Mario 64 when she collects a Time Piece.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sure, The Snatcher steals peoples' souls. But he also occasionally steals packages from the mail to give to his minions so they feel like someone cares about them.
  • King Mook: The Mafia Boss to the Mafia of Chefs, The Conductor to the Express Owls, DJ Grooves to the Moon Penguins, The Snatcher to his Minions, the Giant Crow in the Birdhouse to the Mad Crows and Shoctopus to the Shock Squids.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The Empress in Nyakuza Metro, who lacks any of the humorous and quirky characteristics that the other Chapter villains in the game have, is completely serious and sinister the whole way through, a Bad Boss and has a Non-Standard Character Design compared to the rest of A Hat in Time.
    • She's even responsible for the only completely on screen murder.
  • Left the Background Music On:
    • In the "Train Rush" act, you can actually see the owls providing the music as Hat Kid races to the goal.
    • During the Grand Parade act, you lead a marching band who provides the background music for the level. And when they return during the act boss battle, the music immediately switches to a big band version of the song that had been playing.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Mafia Town becomes this in one Act, due to faucets connected to a volcano. There's also Sizzling Lava Split, Ember Summit, and The Lava Cake sections in Alpine Skylines. Also, the final level/whole world in Mustache Girl's timeline.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band:
    • When Hat Kid sits down on a chair, the music slows down and drops in pitch.
    • Also happens to a lesser and creepier extent when using the Dweller Mask.
    • Inverted on the ziplines in Alpine Skyline, where the music will hype up a bit until you land.
  • Little Miss Badass: Hat Kid and Mustache Girl are both pretty tough for little girls.
  • Living Shadow: The Snatcher.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • In Queen Vanessa's Manor, Hat Kid is contractually forbidden from using her hat's special abilities inside the Manor. She can, however, use the Dweller Mask, but it doesn't do much aside from show off mad ramblings in the in-universe language of the game, and the outline of someone who was shackled in the basement.
    • The Snatchers tip for the "She came from outer space" Death Wish contract is to use the Ice Hat near a ledge/wall, but tap the trigger instead of holding it down. As Snatcher goes on to explain, when you use the Ice Hat, it lifts you up in the air temporarily, and you'll grab onto a ledge/wall if you can get the timing down, which doesn't count as a jump. This comes in very handy for said death wish contract, which has you complete said level by jumping only fifteen times or less. A candle side-mission requires you to complete a level, but never jump at any point. You can use this jumping loophole trick on the "Welcome To Mafia Town" level to get to the time piece really easily.
  • Made of Explodium:
    • The Brewing Hat allows Hat Kid to mix chemicals in a flask and use them as homemade grenades.
    • When a dweller possesses a giant cherry, it becomes a cherry bomb far more potent than the explosives Hat Kid makes from her Brewing Hat. It is powerful enough to harm Hat Kid and demolish blocks of ice that she normally can't break.
    • Flowers released from the Purple Bulbs in Alpine Skyline are very explosive.
  • Locomotive Level: Conductor's levels all take place in his train, the "Owl Express".
  • The Lost Woods: The Subcon Forest.
  • Mascot Mook: Mafia well aware of how tied Mafia is to game's public image.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Hope the Owl Express wasn't taking passengers the same days it's used for filming. Because if it was, it would do a horrible, horrible job of it when it comes to how it appears in "Train Rush".
    • The Cruise ship's architecture is completely dreadful, re-routing passengers through ridiculous detours in order to make it through the ship and in some cases through rooms intended for staff only (like the kitchen, or the engine room, or the bridge) or forcing them to climb between decks to get anywhere. And there's only a single toilet on the entire ship.
  • Medieval Stasis: The world the game takes place in appears to be in the rough equivalent of the 21st Century, as both Mafia Town and the areas in Chapter 2 showcase a lot of familiar modern-day technology and concepts, like a movie-making business and mentions of the internet. However, Subcon Forest and Alpine Skyline are the only areas that stand out in this world, since the lifestyles of these areas are more feudal-like and completely detached from technology. Both are justified though, since Subcon Forest is inhabited by spirits of a long-forgotten devastated village, and Alpine Skyline is essentially a Hidden Elf Village high in the mountain peaks above the clouds.
  • Maneki Neko: Some of the Nyakuza Metro architecture has carved out Maneki Neko's in certain train stations.
  • Mega Neko: The trains in Nyakuza Metro are pulled by really large cats.
  • Mercy Mode:
    • If you die enough times in a Death Wish DLC mission, the game will offer you "Peace and Tranquility Mode" which makes the mission objectives/mission gimmicks/boss battles less strict in exchange for Pons. Unlike other examples of Easy-Mode Mockery, this doesn't lock you out of any rewards, but does apply a different completion stamp to the map.
    • Turning on "Assistance Mode" in the games' options changes your health bar to have 8 slices of life, instead of 4, you auto-regenerate health after a short while, and the levels are made a bit easier. In Death Wish Contracts, Peace and Tranquility is automatically turned on also when this option is active.
  • Mini-Dungeon: Several. Mafia HQ, Subcon Well and some of the locations in Alpine Skyline.
  • Missing Secret:
    • The base game does not have enough Rift Tokens and Time Rifts for the player to get everything out of the gift machine. While PC players can get around this by earning Rift Tokens from Steam Workshop levels, console players will always end up just one item short of cleaning out the machine.
    • In Queen Vanessa's Manor, there's a hidden button you can press in the piano room that reveals a hidden staircase. Said staircase leads to a dead end, and nothing else.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The first world is bright and colorful. The third is dark and creepy. Then the forth is bright and (somewhat) peaceful again.
    • As for the second, it's literally split down the middle between Western thriller and Disco Moon Metropolis action, due to two competing directors.
    • Subcon Forest is notorious for having a rather dark sense of humor, but then there's Queen Vanessa's Chapter which is completely devoid of anything even remotely silly or funny; it's pretty surprising even for this chapter.
  • Morton's Fork:
    • After you hit the boss of Battle Of The Birds enough times, he halts the fight and explains why he wants the Time Piece. He asks if you could possibly spare just this one Time Piece, and end this pointless fight. If you choose "No", the boss fight continues as before. If you choose "Yes", he thanks you for your generosity... then adds that you know too much and need to die anyway, and then the boss fight continues as before.
    • The Snatcher's deal is this. Sign his contract and you'll become his servant, but refuse enough times and he just kills you.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: The Mafia Town time rift has the mafia goon pirouetting for no particular reason.
  • Multiple Endings: The denouement in the "Murder on the Owl Express" mission changes slightly, depending on who you accuse of being the murderer:
    • The CAW Agents: They note that they have had a very slow few weeks, and did the murder just so that they could get paid.
    • The Express Owls: They murdered Robin, the victim, because he was chewing gum with his mouth open.
    • The Conductor: He complains about how the accusation doesn't make sense, before ultimately deciding to just roll with it, and goes on a loud outburst about how he committed the crime, and goes onto say that he didn't want to be the villain of his own movie.
    • Hat Kid: The Conductor goes on a rant about how Hat Kid hates public transportation, and goes so far as to say you cannibalized the victim's corpse, even though the body is just fine.
    • "Auntie": "She" speaks with the voice of DJ Grooves, and says that he was just trying to help the Conductor get his movie going.
    • The Victim: He just didn't want to clean the floor, and tried to fake his death.
  • Musical Gameplay: Seal the Deal adds a new time rift that is aptly named "Rhythm Jump Studio", where blue and pink blocks appear and disappear between each other with the beat of the music. You have to time your jumps in accordance to the rhythm to avoid falling down the Bottomless Pit below.
  • Mustache of Evil: Mustache Girl, according to a description on the site, is all but stated to be the Big Bad. She also, as her name states, has a mustache.
  • Mysterious Informant: After the award ceremony in the 2nd Chapter, Hat Kid gets a call from a deep-voiced informant, telling her that the winner of the award still holds a Time Piece, and knows what it's for and how to use it. The only thing that determines who the caller is what they call the Hat Kid at the end of the conversation ("lassie" for the Conductor, and "darling" for DJ Grooves).
  • Nameless Narrative: Most of the cast of the game are referred to with titles or descriptors, with almost none of the characters being given names. Queen Vanessa is one of the only outliers, and possibly DJ Grooves, but that might be a stage name.
  • Never Trust a Title: Hats are indeed quite important, but time travel is never used as a gameplay mechanic until the last couple chapters, and even then you only get the ability to slow it down a little. It does however factor heavily into the story, namely being most of the motivation anyone has to keep the time pieces from Hat Girl and ultimately the reason the final chapter ever happens.
  • New Game+: If you beat the main storyline and have both the Seal the Deal and Nyakuza Metro DLC installed, you can start a new game and play as Bow Kid in the single player mode.
  • Nice Hat: Tons of them, most notably the default Top Hat, and each of them grants Hat Kid new abilities. In the ending of the Alpha and Beta demo, the older Hat Kid now wears a feminine bonnet of the same color.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: After gloating about being invincible (and not being exactly wrong) The Snatcher does a really stupid thing and ends up giving Hat Kid a way of beating him.
    • Mustache Girl gives Hat Kid's allies the idea of performing a Heroic Sacrifice to help her after lashing out and blasting a bunch of them to kingdom come.
  • Nintendo Hard: While the regular game is easy enough for the most part, the Death Wish missions fall squarely into this.
  • Nobody Poops: Downplayed. While there are toilets in Mafia HQ, as well as the Toilet of Doom in Subcon Forest, Hat Kid's spaceship lacks a bathroom or any unopened doors that could be surmised as leading to one. Could be chalked up to Bizarre Alien Biology. (Worth noting that, judging by Hat Kid's diary entry after fighting the Toilet of Doom, she knows what a toilet is and considers it gross enough to have a minor Freak Out.)
  • No Fair Cheating: Thought you could enable cheats in a Death Wish mission? Snatcher isn't amused, dealing one point of damage as punishment and taunting you in the console.
    Snatcher: Trying to cheat me, eh kid?
  • Non-Standard Character Design: In "The Arctic Cruise", the captain of the ship is a walrus who looks more detailed than the other characters in the game. Ditto with the Empress in "Nyakuza Metro".
  • No-Gear Level: "Queen Vanessa's Manor" and "Your Contract has Expired" in Subcon Forest both force Hat Kid to not use a majority of her abilities pertaining to hats. Justified in both cases as a contractual obligation for the former, and The Snatcher outright stealing the hero's hats in the latter.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Played straight and parodied on the final act of the Arctic Cruise DLC "Rock the Boat". As the ship is sinking you need to rescue passengers and crew members left behind and bring them to the life boats. After rescuing everyone you then have a timed mission to rescue the captain before the boats decide to leave without you. The captain will constantly tell you to go on without him and leave him behind. At the end he reveals he wasn't trying to pull a Going Down with the Ship, he is a walrus so he was never in danger of drowning to begin with.
  • Nostalgia Filter: The purpose of three badges:
    • The Nostalgia Badgenote , which makes most props, some level details, and even the pons to be renders at the lowest texture and model quality possible. Characters only get affected by severely lowering the texture quality on anything they wear, but not their face / eyes. The badge also forces a 4:3 aspect ratio, akin to the N64, which is unlocked via the no-jump Death Wish candle
    • The REDtro VR Badgenote , which makes everything on screen red and employs a 16-bit-esque filter, in reference to the infamously headache-inducing Virtual Boy, purchasable from a Cat goon in Nyakuza Metro
    • And the Retro Badgenote , which makes everything 2-bit and green, akin to Game Boy handhelds, also gotten from a Cat goon in Nyakuza Metro.
  • Notice This: Collectibles like yarn and relics have a huge, rainbow-colored lens flare effect surrounding them, making them visible from several miles off.
  • Not So Different: In spite of The Conductor and DJ Grooves being as different as night and day, they both have an extreme reaction toward winning, with both of them being willing to rewind time to get more awards and possibly kill Hat Kid in spite of helping them with their films in the first place.
  • Not What It Looks Like: A Picture Book in a Subcon Forest Time Rift shows that Queen Vanessa's obsessive tendencies began when she saw her prince holding hands with a red-haired girl. He was buying a bouquet from her to give to Vanessa.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Snatcher loses his cool upon realizing he's just been tinted blue (and is thus vulnerable), which is exactly the turn of events he was trying to avoid.
    Snatcher: ...did you just color me blue with my own attack? This can't count, right? Surely this doesn't count!?
    • DJ Grooves gets a pretty amusing moment if the Hat Kid drops a P-bomb on live TV in the middle of an endorsement.
    DJ Grooves: ...DAHLIN'!
  • Older Than They Look: In a bit of cut/changed content, the head of the Mafia of Cooks states that he hasn't see Time Pieces in Mafia Town for over a hundred years. He looks nowhere near that age.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Hat Kid's spaceship theme becomes much more sinister upon entering the area leading to the final chapter.
  • One-Hit Kill: Exactly one in the game that can happen during normal gameplay. When the Possessed Outhouse creates a Big, Bulky Bomb, you have to land an attack to cancel the detonation. If you fail that, and the bomb goes off, the explosion is unavoidable and instantly kills you.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Hat Kid's maximum health will be reduced to one when she is equipped with a 1-Hit Hero badge. There is an achievement that can be unlocked by defeating a boss with it.
  • One-Time Dungeon: Alpine Skyline's ascent.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Most of the cast in the game doesn't have a proper name. Hat Kid is just Hat Kid. Mustache Girl is Mustache Girl. The Snatcher is The Snatcher and so on...
  • Opening the Sandbox: The game requires you to complete the first 4 Acts of Mafia Town before you can go do whatever you want, as Time Rifts won't appear until after "Down With the Mafia!" is completed and you need 4 Time Pieces to enter Chapter 2.
  • Ow, My Body Part!: The roomba in the main lobby of Hat Kid's ship will sometimes say "Ow, my circuit board" when it collides with something.
  • Oxygen Meter: A rare case where drowning can happen both below and above the surface, as it's more of a swim stamina meter, and Hat Kid can only dive underwater from a long fall or by using the Ground Pound her Ice Hat's statue form, with the only option from there being to rise back to the surface with the jump button. After a few seconds of swimming, Hat Kid starts flailing around in a panic and 4 bubbles appear and drain away. You have to touch land in order to restore the meter back to normal.
  • Parasol of Pain: Hat Kid's umbrella, which has various upgrades including a hook shot and a pogo bounce.
  • Parasol Parachute: Hat Kid's umbrella can do this if a certain badge is equipped.
  • Permanently Missable Content: As a result of a bug, one rift token inside a giant crate in Mustache Girl's Castle can be permanently lost for good if it ends up falling into the lava below. This can put a detriment to people who are looking for all of these tokens to get prizes from the rift slot machine, and was such a large issue that the token itself had to be removed from the PC version. It's still present in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions though.
  • Pet the Dog: At the very end of the game, you can choose to leave one Time Piece behind for Mustache Girl to defeat the Mafia with, at the risk of not getting all the way back home.
  • Playing with Fire: The Fire Spirits.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: During the ending, a Mafia member, Cooking Cat, The Snatcher, The Conductor and DJ Grooves cling onto Hat Kid's spaceship begging her not to leave before being pushed off by her with a broom.
  • Plot Coupon: The Time Pieces.
  • Post-End Game Content: The game's equivalent to a New Game+ is Death Wish Mode, where after beating the final level the Snatcher shows up on your ship and challenges you to more difficult versions of the main game missions on top of additional challenges in exchange for various rewards.
  • Press X to Die: Refusing The Snatcher's first contract enough times causes him to outright kill Hat Kid... though thankfully, she has infinite lives.
  • ''Psycho'' Strings: Queen Vanessa's theme picks these up the closer she draws to you.
  • Racing Minigame:
    • In the Beta, there's one in Mafia Town against a Mafia member with a balloon, and another is a footrace with a cat. In this case, Cutting the Knot with a teleporter seems to be the more desirable solution.
    • In the full release, there is just one Mafia Town race, against a Mafia with a rocket. Cheating with the time-slowing hat from the fourth world is recommended, although it is possible to cut the race very close without it.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: A gauge appears when Hat Kid and Mustache Girl first become friends, the bar reaching halfway. After the latter's Face–Heel Turn, the bar shoots out of the gauge and beyond the screen in the opposite direction, before the whole thing blows up.
  • Reality Ensues: A child attempting to pilot a cruise ship ends just as well as you'd expect. And while Hat Kid has experience piloting a spaceship, they are two very different vehicles and one of them is tailor-made for her.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Several examples:
    • Mustache Girl is the red to Hat Kid's blue.
    • The Conductor is the red while DJ Grooves is the blue.
    • The Snatcher is the red for Queen Vanessas's blue.
  • Reset Button Suicide Mission: Most of your allies kill themselves during the Final Battle to power Hat Kid up, reasoning that time will probably reset once she wins.
  • Retraux:
    • Seal the Deal adds two items that intentionally invoke the old-school style when worn. The Virtual Kid costume gives Hat Kid a low-polygonal appearance reminiscent of early character models of both Nintendo 64 and PlayStation 1 games, while the Nostalgia Badge closely emulates the fifth generation experience by desaturating textures, making the level geometry more blocky, reducing the camera resolution, and even changing the aspect ratio from widescreen to classic 4:3.
    • Nyakuza Metro adds the Retro badge, and the RE Dtro VR badge. The former gives the game a pale green and black color scheme much like the original Game Boy does, while the latter gives the game a red and black color scheme akin to the Virtual Boy.
  • Revenge: Effectively the driving force for the plot of "Death Wish" mode in the new Seal the Deal update.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Everyone appears to have this, as they all remember the original timeline after Mustache Girl creates her own alternate reality, and after Hat Kid turns back time and sets everything back to the way it was before Mustache Girl worked her mischief, everyone still remembers her.
  • The Rival:
    • Mustache Girl to Hat Kid.
    • DJ Grooves and The Conductor are this to each other.
  • Room Full of Crazy:
    • There's a small cave on Mafia Town's beach implied to be Mustache Girl's home, with graffiti of a Mafia's head with bullseye and the statement "I remember".
    • The Dweller mask reveals that Queen Vanessa's entire Manor is this.
  • Rump Roast: Falling in lava or getting burned by fire causes Hat Kid to bounce upwards with her butt on fire, all while taking damage and trailing smoke.
  • Run or Die: Pretty much what the last mission entails in Nyakuza Metro involving Hat Girl forced to flee when Empress puts a bounty on her head. And having to make her way through the Metro dodging the Empress and her goons.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Occasionally Hat Kid will shout "cling!" when using the Hookshot Badge to attach to something.
  • Schmuck Bait: You can high-five some members of the Mafia in Mafia Town, who then play patty cake with Hat Kid, and then punch her in the face, which also deals damage.
  • Sequence Breaking: The game encourages this, to the point where there are speedrunning tools in the options. Heck, there are a few ones put in by the devs for players to discover.
    • There's an achievement for doing this, by not meeting up with Mustache Girl in your file's first playing of "Welcome to Mafia Town" and instead going straight to the Time Piece.
      No hand holding for you, apparently.
    • Another one can be done in Queen Vanessa's basement: get the first key, and crawl between two of the barrels, and you skip directly to the attic (where the Time Piece is).
  • Secret Level: The Time Rifts.
  • Sigil Spam: Mustache Girl's castle is loaded with mustache and hourglasses symbols.
  • Ship Level: The Arctic Cruise. Act 3 combines it with Slippy-Slidey Ice World.
  • Shock and Awe: The Electro Pin, which allows you to damage enemies who touch you directly. Didn't make it into the final game.
  • Shrine to Self:
    • Hat Kid's art gallery contains multiple depictions of herself (and other characters) in various classic works of art.
    • Mustache Girl does something like this in the corrupted timeline where she owns a castle which has plenty of huge gold statues in her shape and the corridor leading to her fight has some pictures of her.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Subcon Well and the area of Subcon Forest leading up to and around Queen Vanessa's Manor. Also, Act 3 of the Arctic Cruise, with the ship now being capsized, full of freezing water and surrounded by ice due to you crashing it into an iceberg.
  • Slouch of Villainy: The loading art for the final chapter of the game depicts Mustache Girl on her throne atop dozens Time Pieces.
  • Something Only They Would Say: After receiving your Time Piece at the movie award ceremony, you get a phone call from the loser, telling you the winner still has another Time Piece. The caller ends the chat by referring to Hat Kid as either "lassie" (confirming that the caller is the Conductor) or "darling" (revealing that it's DJ Grooves on the line).
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The less time you have left during Train Rush, the quicker the music gets.
    • This also happens in the DLC act Ship Shape, the song getting more chaotic in accordance to the captain's anger.
    • The song for the Rift Collapse Death Wish contracts gets extremely frantic during the last 10 seconds on the timer.
  • Sound of No Damage: A tiny squeak accompanies things you can't hurt.
  • Space Whale: Massive whales can be distantly seen and heard in various Time Rift levels.
  • Speaking Simlish: Was added as a voice acting option for reaching a stretch goal via a purchasable badge.
  • Sprint Shoes: The Sprint Hat is the first hat you can craft, for just 2 yarn. Naturally, it allows you to sprint.
  • Starfish Language: While Hat Kid does traditionally speak English, she notably signs her name on the Snatcher's contracts with one of these, along with an emoticon of her own face. It isn't clear if this is supposed to be an alien language or simply scribbles and doodles for the sake of messing around with the Snatcher.
    • The storybook for the Rumbi Factory time rift, added in the Nyakuza Metro DLC, confirms that Hat Kid wasn't just scribbling randomly- whatever the alien language is that she was writing in, it was indeed her name, because Rumbi recognizes it as her "ID".
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character: You will end up having to fight either The Conductor or DJ Grooves at the end of Chapter 2 based on who won the Annual Bird Award. The other character helps defuse a bomb that the boss places on you during the fight. The boss fight itself is exactly the same, only reskinned.
  • Stealth-Based Mission:
    • Some of the acts in Battle of the Birds involve stealth.
    • The Queen Vanessa stage is more Amnesia-lite than platforming.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: While the boss fight of "Battle of the Birds" is the same, regardless of who wins, the majority of the attacks, gimmicks, and even the hitbox of the boss in the fight are based upon DJ Grooves. The Conductor's missions are also harder to get points on the first time through, while Grooves' missions are relatively straightforward. Then again, character-wise it seems much more fitting for the Conductor to turn evil than DJ Grooves, who will even potentially help the Conductor with his movies if you pick the right suspect in Act 2. There's also the name of the song "The Battle of Award 42" which is a direct reference to the Conductor's Freudian Excuse for why he's even fighting you to begin with. There's also the fact that the Conductor is a part of the game's logo, with DJ Grooves nowhere on it, which is somewhat odd if DJ Grooves is the one who was meant to be given all the big scenes in-game. Overall, it's fair to say neither of them fit the fight perfectly, with DJ Grooves clearly being favoured in terms of of gameplay, whereas the Conductor is clearly being favoured in terms of story. This seems fitting considering DJ Grooves makes movies that are all about style and effects, while the Conductor makes movies that focus on plot and characters.
  • Suddenly Voiced: During the above-mentioned Distant Finale, Hat Kid (now an adult) tells the owner of the bookstore she'll see them later.
  • Surprise Creepy: Queen Vanessa's Manor is far more twisted than one might expect from, well, the entire rest of the game.
  • Taken for Granite: Any victim of Queen Vanessa is turned frozen.
  • Take That!:
    • The Conductor of "Battle of the Birds" has constantly made, according to DJ Grooves, way too many films with the same genre, plot, and setpieces, making fun of how identical a lot of Hollywood movies are. In the finale, the player can even find the Conductor's drawing board for planned movies. Hat Kid notes that the board looks like it's being drawn on by someone who's running out of ideas, and spots at least 7 instances of the word "reboot". There are also many not-so-subtle implications that his films are basically just vanity projects; the poster for a film called "Once Upon A Time on the Science Express" shows him front and center, and the character he plays in the two films Hat Kid is in is named "Savvy Train Conductor".
    • A book in the Sleepy Subcon Time Rift features a book called "Proof of Ethical Consumption Under Capitalism". The pages are all blank.
  • Take Your Time: "Murder on the Owl Express". Hat Kid is told she only has "one owl hour" in which to find clues and solve the mystery, and as you progress through the level, the game cuts away to a clock that informs you how many "owl minutes" remain. But there isn't actually any time limit. The clock is triggered by entering certain rooms—so if you don't go into the last room, you can take as long as you like exploring the rest of the level.
  • Technician vs. Performer: The dueling directors, DJ Grooves (Performer) and the Conductor (Technician) have different directing philosophies. DJ Grooves is all about whatever will make him popular, but always loses out to the more technical-minded Conductor, who loves making movies with action, thrills, and explosions. This is also reflected in the missions they give you: the Conductor's side focuses on traditional technical platforming, while DJ Grooves' side simply has Hat Kid try to attract as many fans as possible by putting on a flashy show.
  • Tempting Fate: The cruise ship in the "Seal the Deal" DLC is called the "S.S. Literally Can't Sink."
  • Timed Mission: In "Train Rush", The Conductor deliberately rigs his train with explosives, so he can film the resulting action scene. Hat Kid accidentally triggers the countdown, then must race to the front of the train to shut off the bomb before it blows sky-high. (The Beta version plays out slightly differently: The Conductor mistakes Hat Kid for Mustache Girl and activates the self-destruct himself to stop her.)
    • Arctic Cruise in the DLC does this twice: Ship Shape has Hat Kid do various chores around the ship before the captain loses his patience. Rock the Boat doesn't do this at first, but when you have to rescue the captain from the sinking ship, the lifeboats will leave you behind if you take too long.
  • Time-Limit Boss: The Chapter 2 boss has a phase where they apply a bomb to Hat Kid. Hitting the boss ten times within the 80-second limit will trigger a friendly NPC to defuse the bomb.
  • Third-Person Person: Mafia talk like this.
  • Toilet Humor: There's a haunted outhouse in the third level. The haunted toilet is apparently so menacing it gets its own Leitmotif and boss fight.
  • Undead Children: The Dwellers and Snatcher Minions, who are the spirits of the children of Subcon Forest who were frozen to death by Queen Vanessa's magic. The Snatcher Minions are Dwellers who were forced under contract by Snatcher to possess dolls he made and serve him.
  • The Unintelligible:
    • It's possible to buy and equip a badge that turns all speech into mumbles, making everyone this.
    • There's a strange written language seen in some parts, such as Hat Kid's signature on the Snatcher's contracts and using Dweller vision near a wall in Queen Vanessa's attic.
  • Urban Legend of Zeldainvoked: In a possible Shout-Out to the 'playable Luigi' rumour in Super Mario 64, at random intervals during the DLC Seal the Deal, Snatcher says this:
    "Did you know you can unlock a "Luigi" by completing every Death Wish on the first attempt? I don't even know what that is, but that has to be genuine. I read it online!"
  • Variable Mix:
    • Used in a similar fashion to Banjo-Kazooie, with the instrumentation of the level theme changing in different areas.
    • Additionally, several areas will add a strong drumbeat and some new instruments to their song when you are on the scooter. And the music becomes distorted whenever you use the Dweller Mask or the Time Stop Hat.
  • Unique Enemy: The Shock Squids, of which only 2 appear at the end of Sleepy Subcon. Arctic Cruise adds a few more on the dock in Bon Voyage! and in the Deep Sea Time Rift.
  • Version Exclusive Content: The PC version contains additional content that is not available in the console ports, like Workshop support (which allows for community-made mods and levels) and the Seal the Deal DLC (which adds an additional chapter and Post-End Game Content in the form of Death Wish Mode).
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Chapter 5, which features Mustache Girl's Castle, and has only one Act appropriately named "Finale". Dark, ominous looking? Check. Lava and full of dangers? Check. Haunting and powerful music to go along? Check.
  • Video Game Dashing: One badge gives a dashing ability as long as Hat Kid has energy in the beta. In the final game, you can get a new hat very early on — in fact, you can get enough yarn to stitch it as early as the first level — which gives you the ability to dash as much as you like. A badge upgrades the hat so that Hat Kid rides a scooter when using the hat's ability, with the music changing as well.
  • Video Game Flight: Hat Kid can jump on firecracker rockets to fly. Most of them have a limited fuel supply and will kick her off rather quickly, good mostly for getting a good look at the level, but you can use one with a much larger fuel supply to race a Mafia goon with a balloon.
  • Voice Grunting: One of the options for the game allows you to make spoken dialogue into the characters making various grunts and noises, Banjo-Kazooie style.
  • Weakened by the Light: Being a Living Shadow, The Snatcher isn't very fond of bright light in the prerelease versions. This is incorporated into a puzzle in Queen Vanessa's mansion, where timed light-switches must be flicked so that they flash when The Snatcher is near them. In the final game, the Snatcher has nothing to do with the mansion, though, and the closest thing to him being weakened by light is that he's unable to enter the parts of the forest under the control of the fire spirits.
  • Welcome to Corneria: The minions of the Snatcher keep on repeating their one line of dialogue every time you pass them, even when what they say is no longer actual.
  • Wham Shot: In the Sleepy Subcon Time Rift, collecting all the pictures there shows what happened to Subcon, Queen Vanessa, and the Prince she loved, and the ninth page shows the prince, in the darkness, with the familiar yellow eyes and silhouette of the Snatcher.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: The Mafia of Cooks certainly have a rather unique accent. The same goes for the Nomads in the Alpine Skyline.
  • Wide Open Sandbox:
    • The third chapter, Subcon Forest, is a downplayed version. While you are free to walk around the world (once you break the barriers) and you can choose to go after other Time Pieces (Subcon Well, Queen Vanessa's Manor), some of them are locked into their proper Acts (Contractual Obligations, Toilet of Doom and the chapter's finale).
    • The fourth chapter, Alpine Skyline, foregoes the mission-based structure of previous areas and has Hat Kid freely roam for her Time Pieces in any order.
    • Nyakuza Metro also forgoes the traditional structure, as once Hat Kid obtains the first Time Piece, she can go after the others in any order she likes once she buys the required metro passes.
  • A Winner Is You: The final reward for beating every last one of the Death Wish tasks amounts to little more than an achievement and severely upsetting the Snatcher, who can't believe you went through all that and lived and considers suing for false advertisement before just telling you he's not giving you anything; he didn't get what he wanted, so why should you?
  • World of Jerkass: Almost every character you meet is a Jerkass in one way or another, as Hat Kid is often double crossed by the people she helps. Even Hat Kid herself shows some bratty behavior once in a while. The only characters who aren’t ones are the Badge Seller and Cooking Cat, as they remain polite the entire game.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: In Nyakuza Metro, The Empress pays handsomely for the Time Pieces Hat Kid collects, to the point where Hat Kid has several large piles of cash lying around the place. Hat Kid's reaction is this trope.
    Hat Kid's diary: The 'Empress' has me running around finding timepieces, but then she keeps taking them back off me! Rude!!! She gave me some 'cash' for it. It's green and smells of cat fur. What is it for?
  • Writing Around Trademarks: One Game Mod gave Hat Kid the Iconic Outfit of Banjo, with orange feathers in the backpack, called "The Banjo Briefs". When the game properly implemented said costume, they were called the "Hiking Shorts", desaturated the relatively bright palette of the clothes, and removed the feathers, due to Banjo Kazooie being owned by Microsoft.
  • Wutai: Nyakuza Metro is a level with a modern Japanese motif, with the whole metropolis run by a cat Yakuza.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Empress attempts to pull this on Hat Kid after she cuts off her escape and forces her on the elevator with her, but is stopped by the sudden appearance of the police.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Snatcher popped his last minion's head off when their services were complete, and attempts to kill Hat Kid when all her contracts are fulfilled.
  • You No Take Candle: The Mafia of Cooks talk like this.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: After clearing the first five Acts of "Battle of the Birds", Act 6 consists entirely of you getting a Time Piece from the director that you helped. Then you get a phone call on Hat Kid's spaceship, informing you that the ceremony was rigged, and revealing that you still have to do the real Act 6.
  • Yuki-onna: Queen Vanessa is based on one, living in a mansion in the middle of a snowstorm, freezing anyone unfortunate enough to wander into her home and get caught by her, and displaying her frozen victims like statues. She is certainly not beautiful, though.
  • Zipperiffic: Hat Kid sports a giant zipper pull on the front of her coat.
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