Some controversy around a voice-actor cameo aside, A Hat In Time was widely regarded as a lovely little thing when it launched last year. A proper Mario Sunshine-esque platformer for PC, full of weird characters, clever level design and catchy music. For most games in the genre, things would end there, but developers Gears for Breakfast have greater ambitions.
While it's been in beta testing for some time, today marks the official launch of A Hat In Time's mod support, allowing players to create levels, costumes, powers and more for the game, and integrated into the collectathon's progression systems better than you might think.
While it does require a little bit of skill with the Unreal Editor in order to piece together new worlds for A Hat In Time, the sheer volume of new content created already for the game (including the map pictured above, Bob-Omb Battlefield) shows the skill and dedication of the community. For those less skilled in level design, you can also create new costumes, cosmetic hats and musical replacement packs which can be added to the game's pool of random rewards for completing optional goals, which now includes completing user-made levels. Play mods, get mods; it's a clever little reward cycle.
In order to promote the mod functionality of the game, Gears For Breakfast produced a handful of official crossover example mods, accessible via the Steam Workshop at present. They include Raz's goggles from Psychonauts, which bestows his signature psychic bubble double-jump on Hat Kid, and Lilac's headgear from Freedom Planet, imbued with the power to spin-attack. Not long after, fans adapted Mario's hat from his latest adventure, which can be thrown and used as a platform, and even possess some enemies.
Now that the ball is rolling on community content creation, Gears For Breakfast are holding an official mapping contest with a $1000 prize pool; $500 to 1st, $350 to 2nd, $150 for third. Creators have until April 27th to create a Purple Time Rift level - a multi-stage challenge level with optional collectible goals. Full details of the contest are available here.
This isn't going to be the last big update for A Hat In Time, either. Gears For Breakfast have promised to follow in Shovel Knight's footsteps and make good on some lofty Kickstarter stretch goal promises, including a full co-op multiplayer mode, and two additional worlds to explore. Given that the game launched with only four worlds, that's a pretty sizable new chunk of game on the way, presumably free for existing owners.
A Hat In Time's mod update is out now for Steam, with plans to roll out the feature next week on GOG, although we've yet to see exactly how the mods will be distributed in the DRM-free version of the game. For the next day only, you can pick up the game on Steam at a 33% discount, bringing it down to £15/$20.