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YMMV / A Hat in Time

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  • 8.8: Gamespot gave the game a 7 out of 10 which, on its own, isn't terrible. But the only real cons they listed were finding the first world, Mafia Town, "uninspired", and considering the voice work over-the-top; both of which are things that most if not all fans heavily disagree with (not to mention the voice acting can be turned off, something Word of God even pointed out in response to the review in a now-deleted tweet). These two minor things being apparently worth almost one-third of the score upset a lot of people, even those who agreed with the criticisms.
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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Considering the notorious reputation of Kickstarter-backed games like Mighty No. 9, as well as the mixed-to-negative reception of Yooka-Laylee a couple of months prior, many gamers and backers were starting to become skeptical and doubtful of A Hat in Time over fears that it would be "just another failed Kickstarter game". However, fast forward to October 2017, and those fears were lifted when the game was finally released on the same month. It received massive critical acclaim from fans and critics alike, and it even managed to get a 10 out of 10 score on Steam. As a result of this, many fans consider this game along with Super Mario Odyssey to be the true revival of the 3D collectathon platformer, as well as one of the best games of 2017 by far.
  • Awesome Levels: Many. The game's level design has been singled out as one of the game's major strengths.
    • Murder on the Owl Express is an Unexpected Gameplay Change into a Stealth-Based Mission and a murder mystery, but it's very well done. Rather than ditch platforming entirely, the level balances the two effortlessly. Add in a time limit to put pressure on the player, and it comes out as a thrilling race against the clock. Having some of the game's best writing definitely doesn't hurt, either. Of course, there is no real time limit, but you likely won't know that the first time you play the level.
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    • Train Rush: A fast-paced timed mission wherein the Hat Kid must defuse a bomb at the end of the train. The platforming is solid through and through, and it has some of the best uses of the hookshot.
    • The Big Parade starts off slow and simple; Hat Kid must continually bounce around the level, since a parade is following her and she can't touch them. Easy enough, but as the level progresses it continues to escalate into a veritable clusterfuck as explosions and homing missiles get into the mix.
    • The Subcon Well. It's a relatively short level, but with an amazing atmosphere and music theme. It's also when you get the useful Hookshot Badge.
    • Queen Vanessa's Manor is another Unexpected Gameplay Change... into Amnesia-like gameplay of all things. Apart from the incredible build-up to it (including a rather inspired soundtrack choice), the level stands out for being genuinely terrifying; it's not possible to fight back, only to hide and outrun Vanessa.
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    • The Windmill section of Alpine Skyline. It's the longest and biggest of the four major areas of the chapter, and does it show. The level contains some rather complex platforming, tough jumps, and requires some precise timing in places, but the feeling of ascent is tremendous. There's also some really creative use of the level props, and its difficulty just makes it all the more satisfying.
    • Twilight Bell in Alpine Skyline, while smaller than some of the other areas, makes up for it by having one of the best atmospheres after the bell is rung and by using the bells and Dweller Mask to great effect in puzzles.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Nobody really considers Hat Kid a villain, but it's up in the air how heroic she is. She does defeat bad guys and help people, but she does it all in the name of gathering her Time Pieces back up, and doesn't deal with them after collecting said pieces (for example, she doesn't try to keep Snatcher from stealing anyone else's souls once he gives hers back). She also doesn't go after Mustache Girl whatsoever until she steals her Time Pieces. This can be seen as her only caring about getting back home and just doing what it takes to get there, not seeing these troublemakers as threats worth fighting beyond when she has to (they are almost all Affably Evil), being too young to take them on in full force and knowing when to back off, or simply not caring about the enemies beyond how they affect her personally.
      • Adding fuel to the fire is the Seal the Deal DLC, where Hat Kid makes the Arctic Cruise crash on an Iceberg so she can grab the Time Piece on it, meaning she's alright with potentially harming or outright killing the crew and most of the main cast to get her Time Pieces. Though, reading her diary after the fact suggests that this was more a case of Didn't Think This Through. Even so, her primary concern is over whether anyone saw her do it. And one of the excuses she considers employing to defend herself is "I really wanted to do it," so maybe it wasn't entirely unintentional.
    • The above point often hinges on how evil you consider Mustache Girl and the Mafia:
      • Is Mustache Girl a Well-Intentioned Extremist who just went too far in her quest for peace, or is she using it as an excuse to rule the world? Is she even a villain at all? Even in her all-powerful overlord state, we only see her execute a single Mafia whose only defense was not punching an old man for two days straight.
      • Are the Mafia actual bad guys, or neutral but aggressive at worst? It's worth noting that, unless you attack them first or infiltrate their base, the only ones who go out of their way to hurt you are the Schmuck Bait guys who punch you after playing patty-cake, but they can also be seen beating up random citizens of Mafia Town - but as we don't see why these beatings start, it's entirely possible for them to be justified off-screen. Mustache Girl's Time Rift storybook paints them in a less ambiguous light; they are shown arriving on the island, smacking Mustache Girl as she tried to give a friendly greeting, and conquering the island by force.
    • Queen Vanessa's backstory is also subjected to this, making details about her true nature very sketchy. The Subcon Time Rift storybook indicates that she was a kind-hearted Nice Girl, who was corrupted by her anger and jealousy after finding her beloved Prince hanging out with another girl, which turned out to be a simple misunderstanding. The letters and diary entries in the manor, on the other hand, indicate that she was an unhinged Yandere from the start, and had a very disturbing obsession with the Prince to the point that she was willing to lock him up in the basement so that he wouldn't leave her. Her true nature is a subject of debate among fans.
    • The Conductor and DJ Grooves are practically swimming in this thanks to how each character acts depending on who wins the Award Ceremony. If the Conductor wins, he becomes an Entitled Bastard who is ready to abuse the power of the time pieces because DJ Grooves broke his win streak once while DJ Grooves is an utter Nice Guy, and if DJ Grooves wins, he turns out to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing made Drunk with Power thanks to his winning while the Conductor becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Which one is their "true personality" is up for debate, thanks to the fact that it can go either way.
    • Due to the slightly ambiguous presentation of the Dead Bird Studios Time Rift pictures, there's been a fair bit of confusion over whether or not DJ Grooves and the Conductor knew each other before they owned the studio. If they didn't, their animosity toward each other feels more like a traditional occupational rivalry, but under the idea they were former friends, it puts a lot of their interactions under a potentially different lens.
    • The Captain decides, in the final act of Arctic Cruise, to go down with his ship, seemingly with the intent of dying. Does he want to go down with his ship out of obligation, or does he want to die and see his mentor again? Even when taking into account he can't actually drown, the fact he brings up the possibility of dying leads to even more of the latter.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Played for Laughs. When Hat Kid goes flying out of her spaceship and all her time pieces come flying out with her, draining away her only fuel source to get back home... she crosses her arms and huffs in mild irritation. She also has no real reaction to having her soul stolen besides remarking that she now feels exceptionally empty inside. Upon getting her soul back, she feels the usual amount of empty inside. However, the Nyakuza Metro's storybook tells a different story, as a page shows Hat Kid clearly concerned about it.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: The finale of Alpine Skyline doesn't even have a proper boss fight like the other chapters, but rather, a Level in Boss Clothing where you have to go around the level and kill the purple flowers instead. Each of the flowers goes down in just four hits without much effort, and the only real challenge is getting to the flowers through some new obstacles. Despite the Foreshadowing building up to the finale as you collect the Time Pieces, the origin of the flowers is never explained beyond that, and the NPCs are just simply relieved that they're gone at the end.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Within the first month of the release of the game, there were several patches that, due to the way the Unreal Engine worked, necessitated reinstalling the whole game, which frequently resulted in people having to wait for the download to finish, even just a day after the previous patch dropped, which resulted in long stretches of time waiting for the game to be playable (the game was just over 2 GB, now over 4.3 after Seal the Deal). The dev team announced a month later they were changing the update plan to release more sporadically and to space patches farther apart instead of doing them as they come, giving players more time with the game.
    • The Relic Map, a notoriously finicky badge that was hated for its lack of clarity in where you should go, was tweaked into a more straightforward compass instead.
    • The Seal the Deal update, which introduces Co-op, an entire new level to help with game length, and a new exceptionally hard difficulty called "Death Wish" that remixes boss fight patterns, remixes levels to be insanely challenging and adds new game-wide sidequests helps alleviate the It's Short, So It Sucks! criticism. Even better, it's free for everyone who owns the game already for a short time after it's launch, and is only $5 afterwards.
      • It should be said that Co-op will always be free for everyone and the SD DLC will remain free for Kickstarter backers.
    • After reviews and players alike complained about Arctic Cruise requiring Death Wish stamps to progress (with some people feeling that Death Wish's difficulty is too unfair to reasonably surmount), Gears for Breakfast quickly patched out said requirement. Death Wish itself was slightly reworked so that levels were more fair, and that you didn't have to give up yarn (which is a finite resource), instead allowing you to spend Pons for the easier difficulty.
    • Seal The Deal was criticized for its lopsided focus, due to having both a new Chapter (Arctic Cruise) and Death Wish, which made the Chapter feel a bit weaker. The Nyakuza Metro DLC is focused almost entirely on the titular Chapter, with nine acts (as opposed to the three, not counting the Purple Time Rift, that Arctic Cruise had) and a Purple Time Rift, with the rest of the update being focused on new collectibles and the Online Party. There was some disappointment, however, over the lack of a proper boss fight, given this was something Arctic Cruise also skipped.
  • Breather Level:
    • Subcon Forest is much easier than Dead Bird Studio and Alpine Skyline, with mostly simple and easy missions and with a large part of the level not being involved with any missions. This is in part due to the level originally being planned to be the second chapter (with Dead Bird Studio being the third), until they switched places at some point in development.note 
    • The Lava Cake is relatively simple platforming compared to the puzzles of Twilight Bell, complex platforming of the Windmill, and well... the Birdcage.
    • The three community rifts in Death Wish; Rhythm Jump Studio, Twilight Travels, and The Mountain Rift. They're really straightforward time rift levels that are no different from the regular time rifts, and as such, are relatively easy when compared to the Nintendo Hard difficulty of the rest of the mode. There is no time limit or mode-specific gimmicks to be found, so you can finish these time rifts at your own leisurely pace. And as for the bonus objectives? Just collect every rift pons and storybook pages. Simple.
  • Broken Base:
    • JonTron's voice cameo, in spite of some controversy, managed to remain intact. This, like many of the other game's aspects, are in contrast to Yooka-Laylee, which suffered a much larger outcry over excluding Jon in an equally small part.
    • Fans are still divided over whether the boss battle of Act 2 is more befitting of DJ Grooves (fits the hitbox, use of marching penguins, disco balls, and photographs) or the Conductor (use of knives, bombs, and sawblades). Some fans simply choose to accept that the battle purposely mashes together elements of both directors to balance and avoid leaning specifically towards one.
    • Death Wish received quite a lot of complaints when it was first implemented, and although it has settled somewhat there is still debate amongst the community regarding the quality of the content of Death Wish. The strongest points of contention are the overabundance of speedrun missions requiring perfect play, the aptitude of the game's controls for the challenges of Death Wish, and the layout of the Death Wish map starting with a mission generally regarded as That One Level.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The book that The Snatcher reads after Subcon Forest is finished is called "HOW TO KILL KIDS".
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The Ice Statues in the Subcon Forest are not to be trifled with. You don't come across them often, but whenever you do, get away from their vicinity as fast as possible, as these statues will spring to life and start chasing after you the moment you're anywhere near them. They move faster than Hat Kid's default running speed and are totally Nigh Invulnerable, so they cannot be killed. They can easily chew away at Hat Kid's health in a matter of seconds, leading to some cheap deaths. Many new players are often caught off-guard by them because they see them as just seemingly harmless objects until it is too late.
    • The Lazy Paw Gang Members encountered in Alpine Skyline and Time's End, who are invisible unless attacking you with only a faint outline of them being able to be seen while invisible, can't be hit while invisible, run as fast as Hat Kid and chase her on sight, automatically steal her hat and/or pons and knock her down once they get close, and once they have stolen something from her, they will start using a shove attack which has huge knockback if it connects, which, since they are usually encountered around ledges, can easily knock Hat Kid off the level to take off half her health (one hit from the shove, the other from the bottomless pit/lava).
  • Disappointing Last Level:
    • Chapter 4, Alpine Skyline, the level before the final chapter, suffers this for more than a few people. It's the only Chapter in the game without traditional "Acts", the level's size is considered overwhelming and tiring to traverse, has the most obvious technical issues in the game, and unlike the other chapter settings, doesn't have much in the way of obvious lore (relegated primarily to the Time Rift) or memorable characters. It also lacks a proper boss fight in the finale. Fortunately, people typically enjoy the actual platforming segments that lead to the time pieces... once they reach them, anyway.
    • An example to a world rather than the whole game: compared to the entire rest of the world, which is a favorite of many players, the final non-boss battle level of Subcon Forest (at least going by act number order) is a short, non-dangerous, scooter ride around a short pathway, clicking on some NPCs. It's very anticlimactic, especially considering that as the final non-boss level of the second-to-last world, players are likely to play it late in their adventure, and so most players recommend doing it first, as the other possible missions are far more climactic and interesting.
    • The last level anyone is likely to play will be "Cheating the Race," a level all the way back in Mafia Town. The player is recommended to have the Time Stop Hat before entering, which is only available once you reach Alpine Skyline (due to this being the only level where Time Stop Yarn can be found, making it unable to be crafted early on), and it requires 24 pieces of yarn, so by the time they have enough yarn that's probably the last Time Piece they have yet to collect. The level itself is very underwhelming, especially if you have the Fast Hatter Badge, just being a simple race along a short, simple path, with the hardest part being spamming the Time Stop Hat's ability. It is actually possible to complete the level without the Time Stop Hat should you have the Scooter badge and enough reflexes and skill, though the window of error is so small that you can expect to replay and sit through many loading screens in the process.
    • The last Act of Arctic Cruise, "Rock The Boat", is generally disliked for essentially being a back-and-forth Escort Mission where you have to save all of the most notable passengers of the ship as the ship sinks, gradually with a time limit as it goes on. While Arctic Cruise is generally divisive for the frequent Fetch Quest nature of its missions (most infamously "Ship Shape", due to the very confusing layout of the ship), "Rock The Boat" is seen as wasting the otherwise interesting setting, as well as there also being no boss for that chapter.
    • While Nyakuza Metro was more well received than Arctic Cruise at launch, many were yet again disappointed by its final act, "Rush Hour." While the setup of Hat Kid being pursued through the Metro by a massive horde of The Empress's underlings is pretty intense and exciting, the fact it's mainly just a chase through the same area as the rest of the chapter that also fails to end with a proper new boss fight for the second DLC in a row left a lot of players considering it anti-climactic.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Queen Vanessa. Being featured prominently in one of the few alpha build missions helped, but even before the game was released in any form (even an alpha one), people took notice of her just from the trailers. Why? Because she's completely terrifying. The game is family-friendly, Vanessa's actions are largely nonviolent (she simply turns her victims into stone, or ice in the final version), and the worst she does is creepily offer you milk and cookies, but several adult gaming commentators and journalists have admitted they find her pants-wettingly scary.
    • Mafia Bartender gained quite a few fans, showed actual kindness towards Hat Kid, Mafia very endearing.
    • The Snatcher has gotten quite a few fans because Evil Is Hammy. He's also considered to have one of the best boss fights (and accompanying music) in the game.
    • The Conductor is very well-liked among the fandom for how hilarious he is, and his design. He generally seems to be preferred over DJ Grooves, though the latter certainly has his fans as well.
    • The C.A.W. Agents, due to their amusing incompetence and overly serious personalities.
    • Upon her reveal in the "Seal the Deal" content update trailer, fans immediately loved Bow Kid, due to her being just as adorable as Hat Kid.
    • The Seals in Arctic Cruise, due to being adorable and comically incompetent.
    • In spite of being scrapped and disliked by the dev team, there are a number of people who like Timmy, the original co-op partner, even if somewhat ironically, with fans portraying him as woefully unlucky. Came to a point that September 30, 2018, called "Timmy Day", was devoted largely to mods regarding Timmy, with one of them giving him new facial expressions and dye support.
      • Even more popular than Timmy among the scrapped characters, Moonjumper is so widely loved by the fandom that he's been near universally accepted back into the game's lore through Fanon.
    • Even after nothing else but the trailer released, The Empress shot to popularity within the fandom for her unique and high quality Non-Standard Character Design, Art Evolution on how she's rendered, and her scenes in the trailer quickly establishing her as polite to a fault but also menacing and dangerous in a way that not even The Snatcher manages when she casually murders one of her underlings. It certainly helps that she's soft-spoken and no nonsense in what's otherwise a World of Ham.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Oh so much. Possibly the biggest one is Hat Kid's backstory; her home planet, her other adventures, how she came across the time pieces...
    • What does Mustache Girl do with the single time piece you can optionally throw to her at the end?
    • What is Bow Kid's relation to Hat Kid?
    • A few of the fan levels in the Workshop involve refitting characters or concepts that were ultimately dropped from the game (but preserved as assets in the SDK and frozen in Queen Vanessa's manor), generally the Moonjumper, Timmy, and the Shapeshifter.
  • Fan Nickname: "Hat Adult" is often used for the character shown during the alpha build's final chapter.
  • Fanon: The Moonjumper's reintegration into the game's lore. When the prince died, he was split into two entities: His soul left his body and became a ghost, now known as The Snatcher, while his empty corpse transformed into an entirely separate being trapped within the horizon - The Moonjumper. The concept is sometimes explained to new fans as a bit like becoming a Heartless and a Nobody. This is near universally accepted by the fandom, although additional details are often left up to interpretation and may vary slightly from person to person, such as Moonjumper's exact personality and how much he remembers the details of his past. However he's mostly commonly seen as soft-spoken and charming yet sinisterly manipulative, making him a Foil to the far more upfront, boisterous and blatantly evil Snatcher.
  • Fandom Rivalry: A not-so-minor one has popped up with the fandom of Yooka-Laylee. Considering their similarities (both were funded via Kickstarter, they're both "collectathon" 3D platformers inspired by Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64, etc.), you'd think they'd be Friendly Fandoms... But alas, thanks to Broken Base over some of Yooka-Laylee's design decisions as well as some other bits of controversy (the biggest of which involving a certain guest voice actor that was originally going to appear in not just this game, but Yooka-Laylee as well), people are more than a little bit torn over which of the two games is "better".
  • Friendly Fandoms: With fans of Super Mario Odyssey, since both games are hat-themed 3D platformers that were released on the same month as each other, and both are seen as the true revival of the 3D collectathon platformer genre. It's not uncommon to stumble upon fan art and fan fiction depicting Hat Kid with Mario and Cappy. The game being full of Mario references helps too.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Combining the Time Stop Hat with the badge that lowers hat ability cooldowns makes just about every part of the game that involves timing a breeze. This ranges from platforming to fighting just about every enemy or boss. The hat alone helps, but adding the badge makes there be basically no cooldown, so you can spam it for an almost endless chain of time-slowing. Luckily, even if you get these as early as possible, you can't make use of the combo until you've cleared a fair amount of all worlds (and have a ton of yarn), so it doesn't ruin the challenge of earlier levels unless you go out of your way to avoid/replay them. The Time Stop Hat was later nerfed to take up more cooldown time, even when wearing the badge.
    • The developer-made (or at least endorsed, since Hat Kid has an exclusive voice clip for it) Lilac's Headpiece badge can be an extremely powerful Sequence Breaking tool when used properly.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The Shromb Eggs, which are mostly encountered in the Birdhouse Peak in Alpine Skyline, are Action Bombs disguised as bird eggs. They're perfectly well-hidden and will pop up just mere inches of your position, catching you off-guard when you least expect it. They explode on contact so direct attacks are useless against them without obviously taking damage, and they can also be pushed around by variants of the Mad Crowsnote  for assistance. There are only two ways to deal with them; either wait for them to detonate after a certain amount of time, or destroy them safely with the bombs from the Brewing Hat.
      • They become infamous on the Death Wish "Bird Sanctuary", as they can ruin your Pacifist Run by killing any bird near their radius, which counts the same as if you killed them, and sometimes triggering too far from your reach. And let's not mention if you try to accomplish the one hit badge requirement.
    • There's a variation of the Mad Crows which have pompadours and pink sunglasses, they don't deal damage but they have large knock-back and chase after Hat Kid quickly once in range, which is especially bad since they're usually on small platforms over pits. Special mention goes to their appearance in The Lab Time Rift where they're everywhere and can make the level hell.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Online co-op was often requested in the game, and Nyakuza Metro revealed that they were doing just that... And also allowing upwards of 50 players into one level!
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • The dev's confirming a port to the Nintendo Switch won't happen lead to a lot of angry reactions due to the fact the game itself is highly inspired by Nintendo games, and the devs at one point wanted to bring it to the Wii U. Some tried to justify the announcement by saying it was probably due to issues with porting Unreal Engine 3 to the platform, but others were very quick to point out that not only did Nintendo make a big deal about how the platform is very port friendly for Unreal Engine games, but another UE3 game, Rocket League, was ported to the platform with little trouble. Not helping was the developers then trying to qualify this announcement by saying the game sold 10 times its initial Kickstarter budget, leaving many to question why the developers seem to be completely unwilling to spend said money on hiring help with a port, when they were willing to spend extra money porting the game to platforms such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Not helping matters is that the lead developer of Gears for Breakfast went completely silent on the issue, deleting all of his tweets on his Twitter account up to February 12, 2018. Averted later, as a Switch port was announced in August 2018.
    • The fact that the "Seal The Deal" update content wasn't planned to come to consoles has had some vocal complaints thrown Gears For Breakfast's way, until it came to the point that the FAQ that had confirmed they weren't coming to Consoles was updated to just affirm it was coming to PC. Some people, however, are sure that like with the Nintendo Switch situation, the content will eventually make its way to consoles eventually, with others stating that Gears for Breakfast really needs to work better on its public relations. Some people were also quick to point out that because the Nintendo Switch version of the game will be coming sometime after the update, it's speculated that it'll have to include "Seal the Deal" by default, or otherwise, the whole port onto the console would be rendered moot entirely.
    • A modder by the name of MaxOfS2D also revealed the lead designer for the game has done some pretty questionable acts in past, namely doxxing Max back in 2012 and treating artists very poorly by either not paying them or outright stealing their work.
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks!: The Death Wish game mode has been criticized even by people who were disappointed by the relatively easy difficulty of the main game, often labeling the game mode as blatantly unfair for the wrong reasons; common complaints are the missions tend to be very strict in regards to time management, the side bonuses are more or less required to unlock more Stamps for progress (to the point of being contradictory, necessitating another playthrough), the sometimes heavy RNG at play, and that a few missions expect the player to be familiar with certain speedrunning tactics without properly disclosing them.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the Alpha Builds, the Snatcher and Moonjumper were in some sort of conflict with each other, with Snatcher stating "This forest isn't big enough for the two of us." The final game would remove the Moonjumper entirely, and replace him with Snatcher as the sole antagonist of Subcon.
    • The release date of Nyakuza Metro, May 10th, is just a day after Yakuza Kiwami 2's PC version release date.
  • It Was His Sled: One for each of the first three worlds.
    • Mafia Town: Mustache Girl betrays Hat Kid. This was obvious from the start, mostly due to her having been advertised as the Big Bad.
    • Battle of the Birds: Whoever wins the film competition becomes the boss, and you have to fight them for one more time piece.
    • Subcon Forest: Snatcher is, or was, the prince who was with Queen Vanessa.
  • Memetic Loser: The cut co-op character (called "Timmy" by fans) became something of a fandom in-joke, due to the fact that he made it to being fully modeled and even got some voice clips, before being scrapped due to the crew not liking his design and eventually being replaced by Bow Kid. Even in a mod that makes him playable, as well as finally giving him new faces and dye support, you find him by looking in the kitchen's trash can, a reference to a recurring joke in the fandom that put him in dumpsters.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Cute-as-heck", the Word of God description of the game (which is not inaccurate).
    • "Too much voice acting", in the same vein as "too much water", in response to Gamespot's criticism of the game being that the voice work was too over-the-top, which apparently necessitated a three-point drop.
    • If you ever enter a speedrun stream of this game, expect to hear debates about which palette is the best, and whether Ladybug Hairband or Dino Hat is the better Sprint Hat.
    • PECK or alternatively PECK NECK. One, children swearing even in an Informed Obscenity kind of way is still hilarious, and two, the Conductor's fame helped a lot, and so the word caught on as an alternative, friendly but amusing swear.
    • Mid-August of 2018 had the Gears for Breakfast Twitter centering their tweets around both extremely smug looking Hat Kid and "#WhereIsHatKid?"
    • Hat Kid's dance from the Seal the Deal update has been receiving parodies. The most popular of which being SMUG DANCIN. Beware spoilers for Jojo's Bizzare Adventure, Nier Automata, & probably other things if you click the link.
    • Due to Mustache Girl's sympathetic characterization, not necessarily being wrong about the planet's denizens, and some of Hat Kid's own actions being morally dubious, it's a meme on the Steam forums, generally ironically, to call her the game's real hero.
  • Moe:
    • Hat Kid, seriously, just listen to her voice clips and try not to smile.
    • Bow Kid is adorable on the same level as Hat Kid.
    • Many of the minor NPCs can be very cute, but the Seals take the cake here.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • In the Alpha, if you're not good at controlling the rocket, there are five small words you'll hear a lot: "Balloon Race in Mafia Town". See That One Sidequest.
    • The Subconites in Subcon Forest and the Nomads in Alpine Skyline often repeat dialogue without you prompting them as you move around the world. The Nomads lampshade it on Arctic Cruise, saying that shouting directions without being prompted is a difficult habit to break.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The guitar riff that plays after you defeat some of the bosses, which feels extremely satisfying after kicking asses.
    • The music that plays when near a time piece, and the subsequent flourish when you touch it. The former is so relaxing it barely even needs the association to count.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The fact that the hookshot ability is relegated to being an equippable badge, rather than a permanent upgrade for the umbrella, means that it needs to take up one of three badge slots at all times. Many fans are disappointed about this approach because the hookshot badge just takes up unnecessary space, and limits their creativity in making useful badge loadouts of their choice.
    • For the original base game and the console versions, getting all hat flairs, color palettes, and remixes from the rift slot machine is impossible because of the finite amount of rift tokens available, as well as the amount of RNG involved just to get a particular prize you want. The modding update for the PC version rectified this to an extent, as you can play an infinite amount of Workshop levels to gain additional tokens.
    • The timer for "speedrun" missions/bonuses continuing to run during cutscenes in Death Wish is also generally disliked by a sizable chunk of the player base, being seen as leading to cheap failures that are not the fault of the player but rather the game itself due to certain cutscenes being completely unskippable.
    • The Relic Map badge was hated for being confusing to interpret, and making it incredibly frustrating to find relics or the remaining tokens on Alpine Skyline, easily the largest level in the game. It was later altered, removing the map entirely, and giving it functionality more akin to a compass when you're holding still, making it far more manageable.
  • Shipping: The Snatcher x Queen Vanessa has gained quite a following among the fanbase, due to the fact that they were once an Official Couple at one point. But since the tragic misunderstanding, both have gone their separate ways, never to see each other again. Many fans were hoping for them to get back together again to conclude their heartbreaking tale of love, perhaps as the ultimate Good Ending to Subcon Forest. Alas, it didn't happen, and the latter character is only relevant in one act and a time rift.
  • Signature Scene:
    • "Murder on the Owl Express" is often considered one of the most memorable levels in the game, due to its G-Men-like CAW Agents, the dark humor of the whole situation, and the Multiple Endings.
    • Anything pertaining to Queen Vanessa, who was considered a highlight of the beta period, due to her unique level and surprising scariness. The "Tale of Queen Vanessa" also became among the more well-known lore, due to its tragic turn.
  • Special Effect Failure: The Snatcher is one of the best bosses in the game, buuuuut his animations can leave something to be desired, particularly his lack of expression during some scenes.
    • During the boss battle against the leader of Mafia Town in Act 4 of Chapter 1, when he is rolling on the giant ball of Mafia goons, he simply runs on top of the indent you can climb into instead of jumping on it, meaning that he for a single second at a time is walking in mid-air.
    • When Hat Kid closes her eyes, the eyelids don't quite cover the whole eye when you see them from a certain angle, such as during the scene after defeating Mafia Boss.
    • During the Battle of the Birds boss fight, there are several birds watching from the sidelines. Unfortunately during the final phase, when the curtains fall, you can still see them clipping through said curtains.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Possibly intentionally, given the nature of the game, but Mustache Girl's eventual claim that everyone on the planet are criminals and jerks is, given the player's own interaction with them, not exactly wrong. It's just that she fails to realize that she's not sitting so pretty herself.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The Great Windmill's music has a very similar structure to the Song of Storms, also played in a windmill.
  • That One Achievement: "Secret Intruder", which requires you to go through Chapter 2's Act 1, Dead Bird Studio, without being spotted at all. Getting even an owl or penguin to have a "?" once on their heads is enough to screw you out of the achievement. It's amazingly easy to screw up in the last parts of the Act, especially in the last "autoscroller" segment.
    • "Encore!" and "No Time To Explain," as well. "Encore!" requires you to never get knocked into the crowd during "The Big Parade," which is nearly impossible without some serious planning, and "No Time To Explain" requires you to finish "Train Rush" without dying or picking up any time extensions, practically requiring you to have the Time Stop Hat.
  • That One Attack: Both Snatcher EX and Ultra Snatcher in Death Wish have an attack where they'll conjure up three magic blasts around the arena simultaneously. Unlike the original Snatcher fight, these blasts produce shockwaves that cover the entire arena this time around, which combined with the attack being spammable makes it extremely difficult to find a safe spot to land among the barrage. This is further exasperated by the fact that some blasts can track your location, forcing you to constantly move as you try to dodge the incoming shockwaves. It's even worse with Ultra Snatcher because in addition to the shockwaves, the blasts also produce directional sparks (the same ones used by the Mafia Boss), adding more pressure into dodging them and turning the fight into Bullet Hell.
  • That One Boss:
    • The Snatcher, due to his very fast attack pattern, and the fact that he doesn't drop health pons. This is somewhat balanced out due to him only having six hits, but it's still brutal.
    • The director boss battle. You fight against either DJ Grooves or the Conductor, depending on who lost the Annual Bird Movie Award. In addition to having hard-to-dodge area attacks, the second part of the battle has the director slap a bomb on you, which you have 80 seconds to defuse by hitting the boss a few more times. If you don't, it's an instant game over, and you have to start the fight all over again. Finally, no matter which director you're fighting, they're a Damage-Sponge Boss of the first order, requiring thirty hits to take down. That's more than the final boss.
  • That One Level:
    • Chapter 4: Alpine Skyline. Due to how huge the level is, it's a chore to get from Point A to Point B, and a lot of the mountains are inundated with annoying enemies, some of which can knock you into the Bottomless Pits below.
    • The Big Parade is easily the most difficult part of Dead Bird Studio, requiring you to run around on rooftops over a crowd that damages you if you fall into it. You're being followed by owls who follow your every move and damage you if they touch you. Later you have to turn on the fireworks which starts shooting homing fireworks at you and occasionally covers several platforms with hard to see sparks. To score well you have to run around and pick up tokens from fans but they have time limits and can easily appear on the other side of the area, it also has very few Pons so you can't gather many points from them.
      • "The Great Big Hootenanny" in Death Wish takes The Big Parade Up to Eleven by having five times as much owls follow you, turning the level into one dangerous game of Snake. This becomes especially worse if you're going for the bonus objectives; one of which requires careful movements to avoid hitting the owl band, and the other requiring awareness of your surroundings and time management to make sure none of the DJ Grooves tokens expire. And to top it off, there are no health pons this time.
    • The Birdcage is the hardest section of Alpine Skyline with two areas before the cage itself with all three being filled with Demonic Spiders and Goddamn Bats. The cage itself has the most bottomless pits and fewest checkpoints and has many diverging paths which can cause players to get lost easily.
    • "Beat the Heat", one of the many Death Wish challenges. The player must play "Heating Up Mafia Town" again, but with a catch: the heat is slowly rising up, and when it reaches its limit (which is indicated by the yellow heatwaves on the screen), it can damage Hat Kid. The player can reduce the heat meter by swimming in a body of water, but no more than two times. Why? Because this challenge has also two optional challenges: the player can't take damage from the heat or the lava and the player can only cooldown two times and no more than that. Not to mention that this is the first Death Wish challenge. There is a way to reduce the difficulty if you die or retry enough times, but this challenge shows that Death Wish will not be kind to the player. AT. ALL.
    • "Bird Sanctuary" in Death Wish. The main objective of this mission is to complete the Birdhouse stage without killing any of the bird enemies, which sounds simple on paper, but unfortunately the mission is made way worse with the inclusion of the Shromb Eggs. If any of the birds are within the Shromb Egg's blast radius, they'll die from the explosion, and their deaths from that will still count towards failure. This is one of the few missions in Death Wish where your failure comes from cheap circumstances that are beyond your control.
    • "10 Seconds Until Self-Destruct" is a absolutely brutal version of "Train Rush", where the timer gives a very low amount of time to go through the entire train, requiring you to both get next to every clock to not blow up, while having to hurry through a difficult gauntlet and activate the many platform switches to move on. Due to the very strict time-limit, not only do you not have much time to really plan your platforming, you also are punished even heavier than normal deathwish missions for taking damage, as time spent being hit is extra time off your counter. The final segment is especially cruel as it forces you to move through moving lava (which will stun you for a bit while your character gets burned by it, possibly leading into situations where you take another hit due to not being in complete control of your character) in the right way to activate switches, then a final segment where you have to dodge cannons while jumping on all of the now rapidly rising and falling platforms, still within that incredibly strict time limit. In previous versions of the game, it used to be one of the first missions on the Chapter 2 Death Wish map, making it a huge Difficulty Spike compared to the much easier maps like the community rift and "The Great Big Hootenany". It was since moved to be after "The Great Big Hootenany", but is still one of the hardest Deathwish maps in the game.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • In the earliest Alpha builds, the "Balloon Race in Mafia Town" mission was notoriously difficult. On paper, it sounds simple enough: Race a Mafia guy in his balloon while you're on a rocket, which largely just involves passing through rings without crashing into walls. The problem? The early rocket controls were extremely finicky, and the Mafia balloon was fast, requiring you to hit almost every one of the much smaller Nitro Boost rings along the way (with said finicky controls). The very first patch for the game made this easier almost immediately, but it still stayed quite difficult. In the final game, your opponent is on the rocket, you're on foot, and the game outright tells you to cheat (with a time-slowing hat) at the race.
    • One of the candle challenges in Death Wish is to complete Train Rush without jumping at all. A feat so absurd that it borders on insanity, since Train Rush is a platform-heavy level that is also a Timed Mission. Beating this challenge requires knowledge of a particular exploit, speedrun tactics, and even violation of platforming common sense. And worse, the only checkpoint in this level is just before the tricky platforming section on the train rooftops, so if you die just short of the end or accidentally press the jump button, you're going all the way back to that section and doing it all over again.
    • Any Death Wish challenge requiring the One-Hit Hero badge. Every one of these involves either a Death Course or a Boss Battle. The first one of these available to set the bar is an EX boss.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The third floor of Queen Vanessa's manor was Dummied Out from the final game, which disappointed some fans.
    • The fact that the Banjo-Kazooie style Voice Grunting is an 800 Pon Badge that you have to equip was disliked, due to the fact it was an option you could simply toggle in the alpha and beta builds.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Mustache Girl, in spite of being the main antagonist of the game, only has a major presence for the first and final chapters of the game. This was lamented, as many a player consider her an interesting character, and there was disappointment she didn't appear in Arctic Cruise or Nyakuza Metro.
    • Many people found Queen Vanessa to be an interesting character with an amazing dark backstory, and were disappointed that she's only relevant to one mission. She isn't so much as mentioned anywhere else, besides being the focus of the story found in the purple time rift.
    • Downplayed with Bow Kid. No information about her is given in game, and even Word of God has said pretty much nothing about her besides her name and some bits about her development process. Many people who hoped for at least some hints as to who she was in-universe were very disappointed, but also not surprised, as her sole purpose in the game is to be a character for Player 2 to control.
    • Moonjumper, full stop. Despite having been entirely cut from the final game (with his role as Subcon Forest's main antagonist and backstory as "what became of Vanessa's prince" given over to Snatcher), Moonjumper is ADORED by the fandom, to the point where he's been reworked into the game's lore via near universally accepted Fanon. It isn't uncommon to find fanfiction and/or fan art where he's nonchalantly included with the other characters as though he were still a part of the game, often to the confusion of new fans who are just coming off of playing it.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The climax of Chapter 6 has you commandeer the ship and steer it into an iceberg for the sole purpose of getting a time piece. However, no one on the ship finds out about this, which could have made for an interesting boss fight against the Captain and the crew once they found out you crashed the ship. The level itself is also full of missed potential, with the act ending and the ship being destroyed only three levels into it.
    • Chapter 6 features almost all of the recurring characters from previous worlds in the game (barring Mustache Girl, DJ Grooves, and the Alpine Skyline goats), but there is little to no interaction between characters from different chapters; the Conductor spends most of his time getting drunk at the bar, and the Mafia and Nomads are mostly there for exposition or humorous fluff.
    • Unlike previous chapters that had a Storybook focused on that chapter's major character, Chapter 7's Storybook is instead about Roombi, showing their perspective of Hat Kid's various adventures. While cute, it's disappointing we don't get to see what sort of Dark and Troubled Past landed Empress as the head of the Nyakuza.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: While most of the game is fairly cheery, it has an exceptionally dark sense of humor that permeates the entire game. The game also shows a rather startling amount of casual violence (for example, Moustache Girl's seminar shows a jar full of blood and other organs), and things like the "Queen Vanessa's Manor" level are legitimately frightening.
    • The various nooses you can hookshot in the forest are ESPECIALLY bad for this. They cheerily talk about how you can use them to get a lift whenever you'd like! And that it's been so, so long since they've been wrapped around a nice neck... and Hat Kid sure has a smooth, slender one... there's even a Subcon villager HANGING from a noose of his own and TWITCHING nonstop near one of them.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Seal The Deal was heavily divisive over its Chapter and Death Wish game mode, to the point there was some wonder if the second DLC would live up to the base game. While Nyakuza Metro is considered to still have some issues (its short length and lack of a boss fight against the Empress), it got a more positive response due to its more ambitious world, emphasis on exploration, and adding a number of great new features (most especially the Online Party).

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