iGAD Day 7: Hatland Adventures

iGAD is a series of blogposts, continuing until I finish [A SHITLOAD] of indie games. Yesterday, I looked at mmoAsteroids, a fresh take on the 80’s arcade classic, and today I’m checking out Hatland Adventures, a 2D platformer which definitely doesn’t have anything to do with hats. Definitely. Positively. Okay, I lied.

On that fateful evening, when Damon sat at his desk to hammer out a missive about Hatland Adventures, the atmosphere was charged with a special sort of feeling – the feeling that something wondrous would be happening. The air almost crackled with palpable excitement, and, somewhere nearby, a possum fell out of a tree at the sheer thought of a new blogpost hitting the internet. The furry tree-rat made a loud rustling noise as it hit a bush on its way down, and Damon’s dogs barked, mostly out of fear. They’re scaredy-cats.

Inside, however, the mood was quite different. You see, Damon was calm. He wasn’t overly excited at the thought of a new blogpost, since he’d written a shitload before, and he’d surely write a shitload more… but he knew that the game he was writing about this time wasn’t like the rest. As his fingers gently laid themselves to rest on his keyboard, he thought about why he liked the game. Was it the solid platforming, or was it the hats? He was an avid Team Fortress 2 player, as all his friends knew, and he absolutely loved hats – another fact his friends were all aware of, seeing as he was complimented often on his choice of headwear.

With the first two paragraphs of his post quickly written up, he decided to open the game to grab a few screenshots – pictures are worth at least five or ten words, after all. However, a slight frown quickly stole across his face, as an error message flashed up on his screen:

Ever the intrepid writer, he quickly screencapped it for posterity and turned to his laptop, which he’d played the game on earlier. And then he decided to stop being meta and actually get on with the process of writing his blogpost.

My first encounter with this game was at Adelaide AVCon 2012 – I included it in a roundup of indie games I’d played, but didn’t get much time with the actual game, so my write-up was… quite short. This time, however, I’ve been afforded the luxury of a press preview copy, courtesy of the lovely Matt Trobbiani from Fractal Alligator (the indie studio behind the game), which means that I can play it at home in my own time. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, I wasn’t able to launch the game on my gaming PC, so I was limited to playing it on my laptop, which meant no screenshots. My workaround for this is… the official trailer!

If you’re loath to watch the video, here’s Hatland Adventures in a nutshell: it’s similar to Sonic, but instead of rings, you have hats, and some of these hats give you bonuses. There’s not much to it, other than the fact that your character is able to do a mid-air dash in any direction, which is controlled by the mouse (and/or controller). This ability can be buffed with certain hats (cooldown time, velocity, and travel distance being the attributes which can be modified), and is essential for navigating levels and escaping the fire which inexplicably is consuming the world. Don’t ask me – it’s just how it is. The fire wall does add a nice, frenetic touch to the tempo of the game, though it could use some animation – in its current state, it’s just a static image which races across the screen and makes it shake a bit. Not that menacing, really.

Moving on from the gameplay, I was able to play on two different levels: one, a grassland-inspired construction with trees and bamboo, and the second (which I think was the last level), an acid-trip-reminiscent sojourn through space, complete with roaming angelfish. The art’s quite nice, and the music is well-composed and matches as nicely as you’d expect.

The Verdict:

I’m not gonna lie, this is pretty fun. I’ve voted for it on Steam Greenlight, and if it gets released on everyone’s favourite digital distribution platform, I’ll be one of the first to shell out money for it. Worth your time when it releases? A definite yes.


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