Developer: Salt Castle Studio
Publisher: Salt Castle Studio
Genre: Fighting, Action, Party
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 31/03/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Chapeau is a local multiplayer battle game that sees each player playing as one of 16 unique hats each with their own unique skins and trails to unlock. You’ll be fighting, jumping, dashing in quick succession across multiple people’s heads scoring points and taking out the competition in three unique modes across seven different locations.
Chapeau is a unique concept that sees its players playing as a bunch of hats, that are battling for gold coins by sitting on unsuspecting people’s heads in one of seven 3D locations. While this is taking place, the general public walk around oblivious to the ongoing hat royale that is happening over their very own heads! The concept is marvellous and quite ridiculous, but I just love it!
Each of the three modes offers something different, and there is even something for the solo gamers in the challenge mode where you can unlock the additional characters and skins, which adds to the replayability factor.
Let’s take brief look at the Multiplayer modes available in Chapeau.
The Floor Is Lava
The first mode you can select is called the floor is lava which is something I use to play as a child in school. However, some of the rules have changed, but the core mechanic of not touching the floor remains the same.
When the mode begins, you have a few seconds to scramble about jumping from one head to other earning coins and racking up points. Of course, everyone else will be doing the same thing. To counter your enemies, you can use items on the battlefield which are located in prize boxes. Each item has different effects like the force-field that protects you from attacks or how about a meteor that you can launch into the ground, causing a massive shockwave.
As you try to collect as many coins as possible, a timer appears in the top right-hand corner which will alert you when the floor is about to become untouchable. After a short time, lava will begin to flood the area and in some levels increase its depth. Your main goal then is not to touch it at all, avoid falling into it; otherwise, you’ll lose points you’ve earned up to that point. Keep in the air or wall dash, cling to surfaces until it dissipates or continue jumping from head to head but be careful in case you touch the floor!
Where Is Wilhelm?
One of my favourite modes in Chapeau is Where Is Wilhelm? The main goal of this mode is to locate the character that appears in the top right hand-corner portrait.
Each character is walking about, in their unique colours, and it’s your job to search out character in the portrait amongst the crowd. You need to land on their head to earn points; however, if you do manage to find them, you may have to fight to stay on their head as other players will try and knock you off. If you stay on their heads for a few seconds, you earn points, at which point the portrait will change to another character, and the race will begin again.
Colour craze is very much like Splatoon, but instead of covering the floor in coloured ink here, you need to tag all the people in your own colour as quickly as possible while everyone else is doing the same thing. However, to keep painting, you’ll need to collect paint orbs to continue the tagging process. It can become quite hectic with everyone scrambling about trying to tag as many people within the time limit. You can see who’s winning by checking the progress of colour coverage which is shown in the top right-hand corner!
Note: Each mode allows players to play with bots or friends locally in either free-for-all or in teams.
Challenge mode caters for the solo player and sees you playing against increasingly tougher hats in multiple games. I found this mode decent, challenging against CPU teams. Also, this mode allows you to unlock new skins, characters, trails for use in any other mode. While it’s a great extra, I did prefer the multiplayer more. I think this game benefits from playing locally with friends.
Split-screen Is BACK!
One of the great features in Chapeau is the ability to play locally with split-screen up to 4-player, which I did thankfully try out before lockdown began.
It harks back to good old fashion multiplayer madness, if you’re locked down with siblings then this would be an excellent game to play with them and keep you occupied.
Hats ‘R’ Us
There are 16 different hats that you can unlock in Chapeau—ranging from a well dressed top hat called Duke Hattringham to a Knight’s helmet called Sir Clong Clong. Each hat has a distinct personality, and each hat comes in one of three classes; light, medium, heavy.
Light class hats – Are easy to fly, have longer air-times.
Medium class hats – A Good mix of power, flying ability.
Heavy class hats – Fast, strong but are difficult to fly.
Each hat also has multiple skins and trails that can be unlocked through the challenge mode. This allows a little customisation when playing with friends or solo.
There are also achievements available, adding an incentive to keep battling, which is always a nice extra.
The only issue with Chapeau is that there is a lot to learn. From how to control your hat’s movement to the parkour tutorial, which is a little lengthy, and the camera is annoying. I would have preferred a step by step manual tutorial on how to play the game. Or a video. It’s still playable, but I totally would have preferred the latter. One of my biggest complaints though is this would have been fantastic with an online multiplayer mode which sadly is missing here.
Graphics and Sound
Graphics are nice in Chapeau, with bright, vivid colours, pleasant environments to battle in, each hat looks excellent too. I did notice little slow-down in some areas, though, but this wasn’t anything too severe or off-putting. The music is very upbeat with a lot of classy tunes that fit well with the Chapeau hat theme.
I like Chapeau; it’s such a unique concept that works pretty well. I am surprised they didn’t try and get Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey in on the action. With three modes to play, multiple unlockables, solo challenge mode, ability to play locally with friends and family makes this a pretty fun title to play right now. It fumbles a little in its tutorial mode, and controls can take a little time to remember but once it all clicks you’ll be dashing around scoring points in no time!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can get your copy of Chapeau from the eShop today.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.