Smash Underdogs #6: Hat Kid

Smash Underdog Hat Kid.jpg

Welcome to the sixth episode of the Smash Underdog series! In these articles, I’ll be taking a look at some of the lesser talked about characters in Smash speculation. These characters aren’t as popular as big names like Crash or Geno but would be just as great additions with the content they could bring. The purpose of these articles is to get viewers hooked on these characters and the idea of them appearing in Smash one day.

Just about everyone reading this has played a 3D platformer of some kind. Whether it’s a classic like Super Mario 64 or something less mainstream like Psychonauts, you can always find fun in 3D collectathons. Today’s character is from a game that is heavily inspired by titles such as those. Always ready to jump for hourglasses and take on strange contracts, it’s Hat Kid from A Hat in Time!


Who is Hat Kid?


First Appearance: A Hat in Time (2017)​

Hat Kid is the main protagonist of A Hat in Time, a 3D platformer released by Gears for Breakfast in 2017. The story of the game is simple: after an unfortunate encounter with a member of the mafia, the special Time Piece hourglass items which power your spaceship have fallen to the planet below. In order to fly your ship back home, you’ll have to traverse through different levels to get them back. Along the way you meet Mustache Girl, a troublemaking red-hooded girl who is friendly at first but then tries to claim the Time Pieces for herself so she can become a superhero. Your adventures will take you from movie sets to haunted forests as you try to collect all of the Time Pieces back and stop Mustache Girl. You’ll progress through each level by using various badge items and hats with unique abilities all while performing a ton of tricky platforming.


Cue The Goopy Inferno flashbacks from Super Mario Sunshine

Created by an indie company over the span of 5 years, A Hat in Time received a ton of praise for its fun gameplay. A Hat in Time is both a great homage to past 3D collectathons as well as a fantastic game by its own merits. The game has sold over one million copies as of December 2018 (about a year before the Switch version released).


“I’m interested in A Hat in Time! How can I play it?”

A Hat in Time is available on all of the current gen platforms right now including Steam, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One. If you have to get one version then I would personally choose the Steam version since you will have access to the many amazing mods available on the Steam workshop as well as a few extra features like online play. The Switch version is definitely the next best option, since although it doesn’t have the workshop feature, it does have all of the DLC which the PS4/XOne versions lack as of this writing. Also it should fit right at home with the many other platformers on the Switch.


Just a small example of the type of content available via the workshop on the Steam version


Hat Kid’s Chances for Smash

I speak for just about everyone in that Hat Kid’s chances for Ultimate are essentially nonexistent. Simply put, she is way too recent of a character and when it comes to indies there are higher priorities such as Quote or Reimu. Not to mention her game didn’t get a Switch release until October 2019 which was most likely after the Fighters Pass 2 lineup had already been decided on. Maybe she’ll get lucky and become a Mii Costume; I mean, her umbrella is just begging to be a sword.

I think she has a pretty decent chance to be represented in future games however. A Hat in Time takes a ton of inspiration from Nintendo games and as a result has become extremely popular (you’ve probably seen at least one person with a Hat Kid profile pic online). I feel that many people would be hooked on the idea of this colorful Nintendo-inspired character appearing in Smash once enough time has passed. And, although it isn’t the loudest just quite yet, Hat Kid’s fanbase is definitely there as seen by her placing in 46th place during SourceGaming’s Mega Smash Poll earlier this year. Considering that just about everyone agrees on Hat Kid having no chance for Ultimate (and the fact that she was even deconfirmed for the first Fighters Pass by Gears for Breakfast themselves), that placement is pretty impressive. With enough push for her to get into Smash, Hat Kid could become the next surprise fan favorite similar to what happened with Shantae during the DLC period of SSB4.


Why Should Hat Kid be in Smash?

A Hat in Time is easily one of the greatest 3D platformers created by an indie company. There have been many games that have tried to capture the feel of classic 3D platformers such as Super Mario Sunshine, but none have come closer to it than A Hat in Time. I’d even go as far as to call it a classic of the 3D collectathon genre. The popularity this game has gotten over time shows it's not just a fad either.

Hat Kid is one of those characters that would fit so well in Smash that you’d forget she was even from a third-party company. Everything from her moveset to the content she could bring in has so much potential which is why this was one of the hardest articles for me to work on simply because she has so many great options to choose from. Hat Kid’s ability to use different hats might also appeal to people who are drawn to the idea of Young Link utilizing masks in battle.


Moveset

All of Hat Kid’s physical attributes (height, weight, jump, etc) would be very similar to that of Isabelle. She’s a fairly small and agile character with a lot of neat tricks up her sleeve but at the same time is fairly easy to KO. She can also crawl and wall jump as she can do in her original game.

For her normals, Hat Kid would mostly use her umbrella that she thwacks enemies with. Other attacks can include her dive move as her dash attack (which is essentially like Mario’s diving move from Super Mario Sunshine) as well as her homing attack for her forward air. Hat Kid's grappling hook which is used a lot in her original game would also be available as a grab/tether.


The main feature of Hat Kid’s moveset would be her ability to change hats. I’ll talk about this more in the special moves section below:


Specials Moves

Neutral B: Projectile Badge


This is directly based off of the equippable projectile badge in A Hat in Time. Press the B button to shoot a long beam out of your umbrella. You can hold down the B button to charge it to up to 3 levels for more damage and knockback.

Fun fact that I learned while making this article: the umbrella beam attack that Hat Kid uses is actually based off of a move that Geno from Super Mario RPG uses according to A Hat in Time’s creator. The crazy things you learn from making these articles, I swear.


Side B: Scooter



Another badge item which is the upgraded version of the Sprint Hat. Press side-B and Hat Kid will pause for a brief second before getting on her scooter. This move does not deal that much damage/knockback to enemies but is useful for getting to places fast as well as recovering. You can jump off of the scooter to help recover but, unlike Wario’s bike, it will poof away immediately after you get off meaning it can’t be used as a throwable item.


Up B: Trampoline bounce + Hover badge



Hat Kid bounces off of a colorful trampoline to ascend high into the air. At the max height of her jump, Hat Kid opens up her umbrella which will cause enemies from above to be knocked upwards. This makes this move a great finisher to send enemies flying. Once Hat Kid pulls out her umbrella, she will begin to slowly descend like Peach does through her up-B. You can cancel the descent by pressing B which will put you in free fall.

I originally was just going to make the up-B the hookshot, but wanted to go for something a bit more unique since the hookshot could still be represented via a tether/grab move which again you can still recover with. Plus the trampoline helps to show the kinds of wacky and colorful items are present in A Hat in Time.


Down B: Hat Equip


Ignore the Majora's Mask Bunny Hood and assume the Time Stop Hat is in that blank spot

One of the main features of A Hat in Time is the ability to wear different types of hats. These hats can either be purely cosmetic or grant you various abilities. For this move, I decided to implement all 5 of the main hats in the original game for a unique hat-swapping ability.

Press down-B and a wheel of hat icons will appear similar to the picture above. The 5 unique hats would be on each side of of the wheel while the default hat would be in the center. Select the hat you want by pressing in that direction (similar to Shulk’s Monado Arts wheel) and it will appear on top of your head. Simply changing hats before activating the ability has no cooldown time so you can keep swapping hats as fast as you’d like. While wearing the specific hat you want, press neutral B to activate the hat’s ability which is described below for each one. All hats have 8 seconds cooldown limit before you can use them again as you will switch to back to your default hat once you are done with them.

The 5 unique hats as well as their abilities are as follows:

  • Sprint Hat
    • Pressing B while wearing this hat allows you to move faster for about 8 seconds. The downside to this ability is during that time, your attacks and defense will be lowered. This is essentially like Shulk’s Monado Speed Art.
  • Brewing Hat
    • Pulls out a potion which Hat Kid will immediately start shaking. This potion will act similar to Snake’s grenades in that you’ll be facing in one direction and can press B again to throw it. The longer you hold the potion then the more damage/knockback it will do, however if you hold it for too long (4 or 5 seconds); then it will explode in your hand. You can wear the hat for as long as you like but once you throw out 3 potions then you will automatically switch back to your default hat. If you’ve used one or two or your potions, you can switch to another hat and then switch back to restore your potions.
  • Ice Hat
    • You will immediately turn into a statue made of ice. You will take no damage against attacks while you’re made of ice and, if used in the air, you’ll slam straight downwards for a powerful attack. This is like Kirby’s down-B except quicker due to the time it takes for you to equip the hat. Pressing B after transforming will turn you back to normal; otherwise you’ll automatically defrost after 3 seconds.
  • Dweller’s Mask
    • Spawns a temporary green platform that is passable will spawn in front of you. This can allow you to extend certain aerial combos as well as possibly trip up opponents who are approaching you from above. If used in mid-air, the platform will spawn right below you allowing you to use this as a recovery option. The platform will disappear after 5 seconds.
  • Time Stop Hat
    • Hat Kid will do a brief 3 second animation of her charging inwards and then releasing her arms upward. During this animation, a circle will appear around Hat Kid that at the end of the move is about the size of Gardevoir’s reflective shield. At the end of the animation, all enemies who are inside of the circle will slow down for about 3 seconds as if they had been hit by Bayonetta’s Witch Time. Some people might shriek at the idea of another time-related move, but it’s important to remember that the use of this move has a cooldown plus Hat Kid has to charge it for 3 seconds to begin with.
Something to keep in mind is that you only temporarily lose your hat once you activate its ability by pressing B while wearing it. So if you want to wear any of these hats for the entire battle just because you like how they look then you can do so at the cost of not being able to use your neutral B.


Final Smash: Bad Guys United

This final smash is a slight spoiler to the final boss fight so read with caution. But then again, A Hat in Time isn't exactly a story-heavy game and Smash has spoiled much worse things in the past.


Watch this clip to understand the context of this move.

When you use your final Smash, a bunch of enemies from A Hat in Time will appear in the background and start attacking each other. Their health pieces will then quickly gravitate towards Hat Kid and she will regain 50% HP while also temporarily receive a strong power boost in her attacks. Most final smashes in Ultimate are usually just cinematic cutscenes so I wanted to go for something a bit more different akin to Peach/Daisy's final smash.


Costumes

One of the best features of A Hat in Time is that you can customize Hat Kid in a variety of ways. There are a ton of color flairs to unlock as well as several costumes (ranging from retro Hat Kid to even an official Banjo costume). Here are the 8 that I think would work best assuming they just go with her typical top hat look for all of the colors:



  1. Default outfit.
  2. Based on the “Blueberry Pie” color dye.
  3. Based on the “Forest Critter” color dye, which is based on Link’s appearance in Wind Waker.
  4. Based on “The Freedom” color dye, which is based on Lilac from the game Freedom Planet.
  5. Based on the “Cookie Dough” color dye.
  6. The witch costume from the Seal the Deal DLC. Also features The Snatcher’s face on the purple collar.
  7. Based on the “Cute ‘n Dangerous” color dye, which is based on the color scheme of Princess Peach from the Mario series.
  8. Based on the “The Justice” DLC color dye which in turn is based on Mustache Girl, the main antagonist of A Hat in Time.
As I mentioned earlier, this is just scratching the surface of Hat Kid’s costume potential. Other notable costumes that could possibly make it in include the detective and parade leader outfits which are worn during certain missions in the game as well as the new outfit Hat Kid can wear in the Nyakuza Metro DLC.


In addition to all of these costumes, there is even alternate character potential in the form of the co-op character Bow Kid who can use all of Hat Kid’s hats. See what I mean by tons of potential?




Spirit Battles

Thanks to the many unique characters and locations in A Hat in Time, the spirit board was the easiest to make out of all of these articles so far. Here is how I imagine the spirit board would be like for Hat Kid:

  • Mafia Boss
    • Mario on Delfino Plaza (Battlefield form) with an electric floor. Stage is based on Mafia Town while the electric floor represents the many electric attacks used by the Mafia Boss.
  • Goat
    • Giant Donkey Kongs on Summit where Gogoat pokeballs will spawn. Stage represents the Alpine Skyline which features an ice section with the northern lights visible in the sky, with many giant goats as enemies.
  • The Conductor
    • 3 Falco’s on Spirit Train with a 1 minute timer. Falco represents the Conductor who is a loud-mouthed bird while the stage and timer are based on Train Rush level where you have to reach the end of the train in just a few minutes.
  • DJ Grooves
    • 3 King Dedede’s with super armor in Fourside where you have to survive for one minute while at 300% health. Based on The Big Parade level where you have to move around in a city while penguins that deal damage follow your every steps.
  • Queen Vanessa
    • Giant Back Peach with fast speed on Luigi’s Mansion. Based on the Queen Vanessa level in Subcon Forest where you have to sneak around her mansion while getting chased by her if caught.
  • The Snatcher
    • Dark Samus on Dream Land with the Nightmare assist trophy appearing every so often. Based on the Snatcher fight where he constantly uses dark-based attacks while the stage represents Subcon Forest.
  • The Empress
    • Mewtwo on New Pork City with the Jeff assist trophy constantly attacking. Based on the Empress being a cat and how she uses missiles to attack you.
  • Mustache Girl
    • Pink-haired Villager on Dracula’s Castle with tons of timer items. Based on the final boss fight where Mustache Girl keeps throwing the Time Pieces at you.

Classic Mode: Head to Headgear


Hat Kid’s classic mode would be her sparing against fighters that wear different types of headgear. Listed below is how the fights would go.

  • Stage 1: Mario and Luigi (Plumber Caps)
  • Stage 2: Ness and Diddy Kong (Typical Caps)
  • Stage 3: Ryu and Richter (Headbands)
  • Stage 4: Captain Falcon, Wario, and Mega Man (Helmets)
  • Stage 5: Young Link and Toon Link (Pointed Caps)
  • Stage 6: King K. Rool (Crown)
  • Final Boss: Marx (Jester’s Hat)

I originally wanted to do a 3D platformer themed classic mode, but there wasn't enough options and DLC characters like Banjo typically aren't in classic mode routes.


Stage: Hat Kid’s Spaceship


My preferred stage choice would be the main hub area of the game which is Hat Kid’s spaceship. This would be a fairly basic room where you fight in with some platforms and a few stage hazards (the vacuum bot that moves around on the floor is a must). Similar to other stages with transitions such as WarioWare or Garreg Mach Monastery, after fighting for a while the stage will transition to another section, or in this case a whole new world. You will randomly appear on one of the following three worlds from A Hat in Time: Mafia Town, The Big Parade, or Subcon Forest. The layouts for the respective stages would be similar to the pictures below (except for The Big Parade where you’d fight on top of the building).

Stage cameos would include Mustache Girl and the Mafia boss on Mafia Town, DJ Grooves and The Conductor on the Big Parade, and of course The Snatcher on Subcon Forest.


If this idea is too complicated then they could just go with one of the 4 stage phases by itself. I honestly can’t pick between any of them because all 4 are great in their own way when it comes to representing the game.

Victory Theme

Hat Kid’s victory theme would be a remix of the brief level completion track that plays once you collect a Time Piece.

Music

Once again this is another area of content that A Hat in Time would excel in delivering. Here are just some of the many tracks they could include:

Mii Fighter Costumes

There are also a plethora of options when it comes to Mii Costumes. Here are some that I thought up of:


  • Mustache Girl Brawler
  • DJ Grooves Mii Gunner
  • Snatcher Mii Hat
    • Could also try to give him a body costume but it might look weird
  • Nyakuza Metro Swordsfighter (worth it for the face mask alone)

Closing Comments

I hope you all enjoyed this piece. This underdog article took a long time to release (about 3 months since the Haggar article) due to a ton of personal drama I’ve been dealing with so hopefully it was worth the wait. Honestly though once I really got into it, this was one of the most fun times I've had writing an article.


Next time on Smash Underdogs: “Wait… you’re not a Sonic character?”

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Credits
Editing:
@Venus of the Desert Bloom
Graphics: @Zerp
Social Media: @Zerp
Special Thanks: A Hat in Time Wiki
 
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Comments

Nice article! (and I appreciate the Psychonauts shout-out)

I haven't played much of a Hat in Time yet - I have it on the Switch, but it's fallen into my backlog. I'll give it another shot, though; I wasn't aware that it was the second-best version of the game. (I didn't know that the PS4/Xbox One versions didn't get the DLC)

As for the hint for the next character, I'm guessing Lilac from Freedom Planet, since that game isn't exactly subtle about being inspired by the classic Sonic games.
 
There is not a single mention of the seals; I shall now sue you for all you are worth.

But in all seriousness, this is pretty good, though I'm personally against most "Cram as much specials as possible into a stance swap" movesets. Still, this is a pretty good read. The Projectile Badge being based on Geno was something I didn't know, so that's a bit of a surprise.

As for the hint at the end... This might be a stretch, but could it be Klonoa? I he gets sometimes gets mistaken for a Sonic OC, so...
 
Great article, Hat in time is one of the best modern 3d platformer games I've played. It's a great homage to classic 3d platformer but it's still feels fresh and unique (unlike a certain Yooka-Laylee). If I had to choose one indie character for Smash it would be Hat kid and this article nails why she would be a good fit.

Oh and that tease at the end, I'm betting it's about Nights.
 
I loved Hat In Time as it was one of the best 3D platformers I played in years outside of a 3D Mario. That game gave me strong Sunshine, Banjo-Kazooie, and Bad Fur Day vibes and it was like nostalgia was hugging me.

Hat Kid would be cool to have in Smash, but there is a certain half genie I want in the roster first before her or any other Indie.
 
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