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Hands-On Preview: Four Hats

At some point or another, almost everyone has daydreamed about becoming a mega-successful rock star, right?

Well, maybe you should be more careful what you wish for, because even superstardom has its downsides. Just ask the titular heroes of Taco Graveyard’s upcoming side-scrolling (mis)adventure, The Four Hats, who since making it big spend their every waking moment being relentlessly pursued by shrieking hordes of manic fans and snap-happy paparazzi.

Partially inspired by the rib-tickling 1964 mockumentary A Hard Day’s Night, this frantically paced running game puts players in control of a Beatles-esque fictional band as they hotfoot it through 30+ increasingly trippy levels, attempting to stay one step ahead of a ravenous pack of googly-eyed groupies. As I’m sure you’ll agree, the wacky premise is a great fit for a sidescroller, and Taco Graveyard have realized its full potential through some hugely unique and outrageously entertaining gameplay.

Each of the game’s bite-sized stages involves a break-neck dash towards the band’s tour bus and sees you quickly switching between the four playable characters on the fly in order to take advantage of each of their unique abilities. For example, lead singer Parker is a super-fast sprinter, Holly, the keytarist, can float thanks to her propeller hat, bassist Danny possesses an over-sized stovepipe hat in which he hides from paps, while Danny, the drummer, can smash obstacles with his construction helmet. Naturally, making it to the end of each level in one piece depends on fast finger-work and switching characters at just the right time.

I honestly could wax lyrical at great length about just how groovy Four Hats is, but I guess I should save some fan-service for our full review. Suffice it to say, iGamers can expect a fun title that delivers buttery-smooth action, great controls and quirky visuals from this one. Not to mention a liberal sprinkling of pop-culture gags and a truly excellent original soundtrack.

Based on the enjoyable time I’ve spent with the game so far, I’d be very surprised if up-and-coming indie outfit Taco Graveyard didn’t have a sizeable hit on their hands when Four Hats bows on the App Store later this month! Check back then for a full review of the game, and in the meantime you can find plenty more Four Hats-related stuff over on Taco Graveyard’s brilliant blog, including a series of ‘behind-the-scenes’ articles and some samples from the aforementioned soundtrack.