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Marvin the Hatter Review

Official Score

Overall - 30%

30%

It’s not like players will have to worry about it in the long term; the entirety of the game can be finished in around 30 minutes. There are some achievements to be had, but don’t expect to play this one for hours on end.

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Red twice potato puts players on a perilous journey with their new platformer Marvin the Hatter. The idea of baiting your enemies is a novel one, but the execution here leaves something to be desired.

Marvin the Hatter Review

Those hoping to make heads or tails behind the story of this game will be absolutely lost. A brief cinematic with some still slides is shown before the game proper, but they move far too fast and have almost no context with the game proper. There’s no written text or much of anything to help with its worldbuilding – even the closing screen provides a generic “The end.” statement and nothing more. Even some brief text would have gone a long way – as a result, this is one title that lacks personality.

Rather, all knowledge of this title is gleaned through play. Players control a tiny little man with a wizard’s cap, and must guide him to the right of each screen. However, spikes, traps, water, and a host of baddies stand in his way. His only way to deal with these ominous threats is through the use of candles. By using one, a flame stays on the ground.

This sounds simple enough, but actually using this mechanic in the heat of the moment is an exercise in frustration. These flames do not move anywhere; rather, it’s up to the player to trick enemies into walking into it. This sounds simple enough, but the AI of each enemy is dumber than a bag of rocks. If you are in the sight of any enemy, they continue to do the same attack pattern until you leave their sight. Flames also die fairly quickly, meaning that players are not given enough time to set their plans in place. When paired with the fact that players can only hold three candles at any given time, the ultimate strategy proves to be jumping over enemies and praying that you don’t take any damage.

Marvin the Hatter - Gamers Heroes

The platforming in Marvin the Hatter does not fare much better. The protagonist does not have much height to his jumps, and some chasms are wide. Enemies tend to be a bit on the tall side too, meaning that death and damage is inevitable. The player can take a few hits, and failure means starting a section over, but it proves to be far more frustrating than fun.

To alleviate these challenges, the development team has placed a number of feathers in its world. There’s no rhyme or reason to how they work though – though they provide the power of flight, they lock the main character in a fixed pattern as they transport you from one area to the next. One would think that they would be advantageous, but certain feathers put players in a previous position, forcing a retread of certain sections. The fact that they are mandatory for certain sections is a frustrating element that just can’t be avoided.

It’s not like players will have to worry about it in the long term; the entirety of the game can be finished in around 30 minutes. There are some achievements to be had, but don’t expect to play this one for hours on end.

Between its short length, poor platforming, and frustrating combat mechanics, Marvin the Hatter is a hard pass for even the most diehard of platforming fans.

This review of Marvin the Hatter was done on the PC. The game was purchased digitally.
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Casey Scheld

Drawn to the underground side of gaming, Casey helps the lesser known heroes of video games. If you’ve never heard of it, he’s mastered it.
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