View Single Post
A Black Falcon
(10-13-2017, 06:51 AM)
A Black Falcon's Avatar
I have both games, and backed both Kickstarters. And in my opinion, it's not even close! Based on gameplay alone both games are fun, but Yooka-Laylee has significantly better graphics, better music, better controls, and better level designs. It's a fantastic game and one of my favorites of the year. That the developers did the right thing by dropping Jontron is awesome, but the game itself is fantastic.

Meanwhile A Hat in Time has a lot of issues which hold it back significantly. Jontron is the biggest one of these, but the others, including the bad past behavior by the lead developer, how they baited Wii U owners for Kickstarter money, and the questionable at best issue of why Grant Kirkhope didn't write more music for the game are all important to consider. There are a lot of reasons outside of the game to dislike A Hat in Time.

As for the game itself though, the game is charming and, once you get used to it, fun to play. It feels like a decent to good, though not amazing, 3d platformer from the early '00s, I think. The controls are too floaty, though, and the collision detection has problems -- you can get stuck behind things way more easily than you should in a commercial game. The controls are also entirely unconfigurable. The defaults are okay, but this is a PC game, support control customization! The collision detection is one way that this games' low budget shows, I think. Because of that budget I can understand why that'd happen, but still, after so many years I'd hope for better. Sure, Y-L has some control issues too, but AHiT's are worse.

The issues aren't only in the controls, though; you can get used to those eventually. Another big issue I have with the game is in the level design. Yooka-Laylee uses the Banjo style, where each level is an open world you wander around collecting stuff in. This is probably the most popular style of 3d platformer world design. A Hat in Time uses the Mario 64/Sunshine style, where you enter from the hub into a set level with a single objective, then exit back out between objectives. It makes for a different style in each game, and I like both; I don't think this makes one of these games better than the other, it's just different. Its design does mean that Y-L has larger levels, though, as each needs to cover a lot more space in order to have room for all of the stuff in it. Exploring 3d platformer levels is fun. It's also a longer and more challenging game, while AHiT is short and pretty easy. This should count for something in Y-L's favor; AHiT won't challenge you much.

I also have an issue with the level design of some parts of AHiT, such as the first level, Mafia Town. While both games have expansive levels for you to learn your way around, in AHiT the designers decided that in this level at least, they needed to have an objective indicator that you can bring up on screen. If you hit a button with the default hat it shows a marker on screen towards where the current mission's objective is. This is great, because the open levels are large enough that it would be easy to wander around lost not having any idea where you're supposed to be going for this mission, but isn't that also a problem? I've never seen an objective indicator in a 3d platformer like this before, and as much as I like games helping you figure out what to do -- and I think it is very important to do that -- somehow it feels wrong. Like, I think that with better level design, like you see in Y-L, you should have been able to guide the player without needing that indicator... but AHiT doesn't have that. (On the other hand there are times in Yooka-Laylee where I wished it had a map, but it's not essential, it'd just be kind of nice. It's not hard to learn the stages.)

The second world in AHiT is different -- these stages are much more linear. That's sort of better, but the control and challenge issues are here. Also, I was just playing and ran into something really annoying. So, in stage 2-2, Murder on the Owl Express, I got pretty far into the level... only to get stuck, with further progress apparently impossible. I was not allowed to backtrack from the area I was in and there was nothing to do there either. I really hope that I just missed something obvious, but after looking it up online, the most I can figure is that you're supposed to have the Ice Hat at this point, because then you can turn into an ice block and toss yourself on these ice-marked platforms. Okay... but I only had 4 yarn balls but you need 8 for the hat, and there was no mention at any point in this level that you needed that hat. There's nothing I can do, just quit the stage and go find more by randomly wandering around the other stages, or something, I guess? Ugh. If you're going to require an item, gate that at the start of the stage, not far into it so that people can get stuck and frustrated! That's pretty poor game design... and sure, NES or SNES games did that stuff all the time, but by the N64 era those days were changing and for good reason. The levels' murder-mystery setup and stealth/platforming-focused design were interesting up to that point, but after this I'm not sure if I even want to go back...

Now, Yooka-Laylee does have areas in levels you can't do with your current powers and will need to come back to later, that's how it works in a Banjo-style game where you get more powers over time, but because of the open nature of the levels that's fine, once you realize that you need to return to this area later you can just do that. It never has something like this happen.

As for the graphics and sound, AHiT is a nice-looking game for the most part, they did a good job with what budget they had. However, there is a sizable gap between the two games here, the Rare experience and larger budget really show. I do have one issue with AHiT's visuals though, the black dithered outlines it uses when when you get up close to objects or characters go behind something looks bad. On a different presentation note, on the subject of story and comedy, both do that fairly well. I like the British comedy style Y-L uses more so than A Hat in TIme's jokes, but AHiT has charm as well and is amusing at times, certainly. But this is a genre that focuses on gameplay, not story, so this is a minor factor either way.

So, my first impression on the game is that A Hat in Time It's an alright game, but it's kind of average. I'm sure that my bias -- that I went into Y-L wanting to love it, while with this one all of those controversies seriously soured me on the game long before its release -- has an effect, but still, just looking at the games I do think that Y-L is a whole lot better across the board. I can't think of any major game element AHiT does better, it's a wipeout in Y-L's favor!

Normally though, I'd say that anyone who loves the genre like I do absolutely should get both games and see for yourself which you like more... but thanks to the Jontron issue, I can't recommend it for A Hat in Time, whatever the reason is for their keeping him on, people should vote with their money and not financially support that.

Originally Posted by BernardoOne

A videogame where has throaway lines is not a "platform". And removing it is not exactly something you can do without negative effects, possibly extremely negative.
Yes, Mecha the Slag was an asshole years ago in the TF2 modding community. He didn't make A Hat in Time alone though.

Also, if anything, we've seen that removing him has the effect of give him and his shithead fans a bigger, not smaller platform.

Look at Hat in Time and Yooka-Laylee Steam forums. Look at their Steam reviews. Look at what all the Youtube videos about each one are talking about.
There's almost no talk about Jon on Hat in Time's forum. You have to dig deep a shitload of pages in to get even a mention of him.
Basically every page in Yooka Laylee's forum is infected with talks about the fucker. And you know the worst part? There's a fucking containment thread with over 6000 posts where alt-right fuckwits continue to discuss, defend and argue about all the shit JonTron has said without getting a ban.

You might want to read what a member here who did some art for the game thinks of the AHiT teams' decision to not say anything about Jontron and just quietly keep him in the game:

But it is true that yes, there are two ways to read the AHiT developers' actions: one is that they quietly support Jontron, and the other is that they're scared by the unending sea of alt-right hate that Playtonic has been subjected to because they removed Jontron, and don't want that to happen to them.

Personally, I'm going to assume that it's more likely the former than the latter unless it's proven otherwise. If they want to clear themselves from association with him they had many opportunities to do that, and it was going to create controversy either way.

Either way though, the result is the same: the right hates Yooka-Laylee, and like AHiT, because of nothing relating to either game. There were threads on AHiT'sSteam forum praising them for not removing Jontron, and of course bashing Neogaf at the same time. The alt-right's position is clear.

It's kind of sad, though, that we have come to a time where you can't just like or dislike a game; everything is politicized, so are people saying that they like AHiT more just talking about the gameplay, or is it about Jontron? And how many of the people bashing Y-L have actually played the game at all, or are they just saying things for political reasons? Ideally both developers would have done the right thing so we could just talk about the games, but that isn't possible.

Originally Posted by BernardoOne

Jesus fucking christ are WiiU owners still on with this fucking shit?
They didn't announce or confirm a Wii U version even fucking once and the owners of the dead console are still holding a grudge? There are actual goddamn projects out there that actually promised Wii U versions, that actually had it as a stretch goal. Hat in Time did none of that.

1. During the Kickstarter they said 'we'll look in to a Wii U version'
2. The Kickstarter ends successfully.
3. Almost immediately after they say 'not really, no Wii U version', with some probably untrue reasons given as excuses.

Personally I'd have gotten the PC version either way, but it was a pretty annoying thing for them to do.