Disclaimer: I’m Internet friendly with several people who work for The Escapist where this game is hosted. I’m not cool enough to know Yahtzee though. Oh no.
As I sat around my house in my pants distracting myself from the games I should have been reviewing by playing Hatfall, a browser and mobile game made by The Escapist’s own Yahtzee Croshaw and based on his ever so popular Zero Punctuation series, after 3 hours of immersion I realized that I was in fact playing a game that I could be reviewing. Hurrah procrastination becomes productivity.
As you may have guessed by the terms “browser” and “mobile” that it is not some AAA MMO style game but rather a bit simple. However, a simple idea done well is really gaming’s bread and butter otherwise games such as Rocket League wouldn’t have done so fantastically.
In the core gameplay you play as Yahtzee trying to catch falling hats so he can return to his desk and exhibit high levels of snark. All the meanwhile similar looking dudes run around the screen distracting you and then of course there are fridges to be avoided, and trust me they do look very much hat-like from afar.
What I think is most interesting about this game is that it isn’t actually filled with all in-jokes that fans of Zero Punctuation would obviously get a surprise titter from in an “OMG PC MAHSTUR RAS KEK” way. Instead it merely plays out all in Zero Punctuation’s idiosyncratic style. The pacing is incredibly fast, much like Yahtzee’s patter, with each round lasting just 3 seconds. The hat is on screen for just a blurred frame before you are rushed away to the next screen. The writing is all in Yahtzee’s usual British wit, my personal favorite being “Ladies are down with my jaunty crown,” and the gameplay is made more addictive by its high level of Easter eggs that keep you playing for just “one more hat”.
There are 3 ways this game is made spicy:
Randomly—instead of the most stylish of hats, the fedora, being dropped from above at random points, a wizard’s hat adorns your noggin, ramping up the difficulty for one round and bestowing victors with the chance for a plethora of hats.
Every 25 hats caught gives you a free gift. Some simply adorn your desk, others change gameplay aspects, while others open up a mini-game. Without spoiling too much, one is based on Hatoful Boyfriend only with actual hats so you are going to want to keep playing until you at least unlock that one. There are multiple endings to all these mini games, so again you can collect a gift more than once.
Finally, you use collected hats to unlock characters, some of which help a little, most of which just look different, but still are a welcome change for all those 100%ers out there.
Overall Hatfall is certainly the best game I’ve ever played in a browser, but it is still a browser game, i.e short and simple. It could do a little more with varying up content and game play but does a lot noting the medium’s limitations. Bravo Yahtzee you’ve done it again. (Of course)
What do you think of Hatfall?
We have reached optimum browser game. You can go home now.