Quick Thoughts On: The Hat Man: Shadow Ward

I’ll admit I maybe spent longer studying The Hat Man: Shadow Ward’s death screen than it deserved. But it so nicely summed up the game for me that I couldn’t help but appreciate that I was being handed a focus point for my review without even having to look for it.

But let’s step back for a moment because it’s not just the death screen important here, but how you arrive at it. After scurrying through a twisting, self replicating maze of stock textures and out of place items, you’re inevitably caught the titular Hat Man in all his floating jack-o-lantern glory. And what’s this? He’s opening his mouth and- oh, I guess that wasn’t supposed to happen.

And just like that we’re transported to a perfectly flat, perfectly bland death screen featuring three buttons, each drawn with the same ugly font and taking up almost the entire screen. I realize it’s a screen that didn’t need to have much detail, but what’s here is such a pitiful excuse for a menu I couldn’t help but laugh at it.

I suppose I can give The Hat Man that much anyway; it made me laugh. First at the ridiculous voice acting that I want so much to believe was intentional. Then when turning around and laying eyes on what I think was supposed to be a terrifying demon but looked more like a blazing smile.

And finally at the death screen, which I saw many times and eventually decided was a good enough place to give this game a rest. After all The Hat Man is just doing his job haunting this asylum, and doing it damn well at that, so I’ll just leave him be and go do literally anything else to try to forget this ever happened.

"Quick Thoughts" is a subset of my normal reviews for smaller games which might not fit into a full review but I still have something to say about.
The Hat Man: Shadow Ward was developed by Game Mechanics and is available on PC and Mac via Steam.

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