Heroes of Hat
May 25, 2012 2 Comments
Do you know what Heroes of Hat needs? Some anti-psychotic medication. With level design centered around over-powered enemies bombarding you with unavoidable attacks, dick move leap-of-faith jumps, and over-reliance on overly-slow special abilities, it feels like the gaming version of climbing a water tower with a telescopic rifle and going to town on the townspeople. It’s a game that needs help, the kind of help that involves a straight jacket and a padded room. You have to be off your fucking rocker to think anyone would find this type of utterly unfair, annoying gameplay fun. And they expect four people to do it together! It makes me wonder if this was really designed by the University of Utah’s game design program, or was it really by their sociology department as some kind of “how far can someone be pushed before they start killing and eating their fellow humans?” hypothesis. If that’s the case, the answer is 51 minutes. Don’t ask how I know. *burp*
If there’s a storyline, I missed it. You’re a little monster dude thingie that has to hop around levels looking for a goal. Along the way, you’re given a variety of hats that allow you to do various special attacks. The hats don’t really mean anything. Once you reach a certain point, you just have the new ability and can use it as much as you want, whenever you want. The first one is being able to fire arrows. You just press X to release an offensive shot, or charge X for a couple of seconds and release it to create a barrage of slow-moving arrows that you can then use as a platform. The second one is a bomb, which you can detonate under you for an extra boostie or chuck at enemies. You can’t aim the arrows upwards, so bombs are your only option. I have no idea what the third hat is, because I didn’t bother playing past the fourth stage, but whatever it is, I’m willing to bet it’s slow and useless.
Either way, enemies soak up damage and keep coming at you, rendering attacking moot. I only encountered three enemies. There were bees, which took something like eight arrows to shoot down. They dive bomb you AND they fire projectiles at you, and you can bet your ass they’ll be strategically placed in the worst possible sections, which are typically right above narrow ledges. There were bomb throwing guys who are unfairly accurate and don’t leave enough time between attacks. You can kill them by lobbing three bombs at them. Mind you, in the time it takes you to load up a bomb, charge it (you have to charge it to be able to aim it, otherwise you just drop it), aim, toss, and detonate (you have to detonate every bomb you throw), the enemy has lobbed either two or three at you, and probably killed you. Fair? No. Fun? No. An example of developers getting too good at their own game and losing track of reality? Probably. I also fought one or two snails that soak up arrows and fire spikes at you.
The level design is just one instance of dick movery after another, like they went through a checklist of things an asshole would do when designing a game. Leaps of faith? Check. Enemies situated in places that you can’t possibly fight them? Check. Needlessly confusing level layouts? Check. I’m half-shocked they bothered with checkpoints, but I guess those were there for the benefit of the co-op mode. I didn’t bother with it. I play video games to make friends, not lose them. Even with friends, most of the things that are bad about Heroes of Hat would still be the same. Overpowered enemies that are out of reach are still overpowered and out of reach whether you’re alone or with others. Leaps of faith are still leaps of faith whether solo or in a group. Actually, they tend to be worse, because if just one fucker doesn’t jump, everyone else has to wait for him. Assuming the screen scrolls with the three and doesn’t stick with the one hold-out, which would lead to everyone else dying. Again, I didn’t play Heroes of Hat multiplayer, so I don’t know how much better or worse (I’m guessing worse) it is with friends. They do say misery loves company, but I want to go on the record of saying that company is rarely eager to join in on being miserable.
If you gave me all day, I could not think of one positive thing to say about Heroes of Hat. The graphics are ugly even by the standards of 1996. The controls are too loose. I fell through the geometry at least once and I was only four levels in by that point. The mechanics are clunky. The enemies too powerful. The level design is abysmal. This is one of the worst games I’ve played this year and I would sooner recommend you pay someone a dollar to kick you in the face than play this. What’s really weird is that it looks just so damn innocent. I mean, look at it!
Adorable, isn’t it? But, make no mistake, Heroes of Hat is horrible. This is like the type of game that evil doers who run orphanages would give their children, just to complete the sense of being downtrodden.
80 Microsoft Points give this game an F, tells students to write “we will not make crappy games that make Indie Gamer Chick want to cut herself” on the blackboard 100 times in the making of this review.