Mr Sun’s Hatbox review

by on April 21, 2023
Reviewed On
Release Date

April 20, 2023


Most of the time, when you’ve seen a trailer for a video game you pretty much know what to expect when you play it. Sure there might be a surprise or two along the way, but for the most part if you see, for example, a little guy jumping around you know there’ll be platforming in your gaming future. Sometimes that just isn’t the case though, which brings us nicely to Mr Sun’s Hatbox.

After a pixel art cutscene explaining that the titular Mr Sun has not had his Hatbox delivered, it falls upon the delivery company and its employees to get it back for him. Unfortunately, the Hatbox in question has been delivered to a shady organisation, and the only way to get it back is by sneaking into their base and taking it by force. This is easier said than done though because these little jerks are armed to the teeth.

A screenshot of Mr Sun's Hatbox

I was fairly sure that retrieving the Hatbox and saving the day would involve some platforming action and Roguelike randomness, but that’s not quite what you’ll find here. Mr Sun’s Hatbox is actually a 2d stealth game, complete with alarms, gun turret cameras, and even neck snapping. You’ll have to navigate the hallways of each mission carefully if you want to keep your employees alive, because if they die they’re gone forever.

A basic character with no weapons or hats only has one way to deal with enemies in Mr Sun’s Hatbox; bouncing on their head and then snapping their neck while they’re unconscious. There are plenty of other ways to deal with those pesky guards though, from simple pistols to packs of half a dozen eggs. The variety of items in this game is truly staggering and lends itself to some creative gameplay. Maybe you want to bring a gun that fires through walls, or a toy bow that knocks out foes with boxing glove-tipped arrows so you don’t break their gear and can use it yourself.

Hats are just as important as guns in Mr Sun’s Hatbox and can be defensive or offensive. Some simple options include hard hats so you can’t get stomped and stunned and propeller hats so you can fly a little, but some of the options are way zanier. The boxing glove hat will punch enemies far across the map, the whoopie cushion unleashes toxic stun gas, and the frog gobbles up enemies that get too close and spits them out stunned. There are hundreds of creative combinations of hats and weapons to use, and finding something new to try is always exciting.

A screenshot of Mr Sun's Hatbox

If you want to make sure you have plenty of gear to choose from at the start of a mission, you’ll need to capture everything you can while out in the field. Like in Metal Gear Solid 5 of all games, you go into each mission with a number of balloons that you can attach to enemies or items to take them back to base. After hooking on a cool shotgun or a stunned guard, the balloon will whoosh up into the air and be waiting for you when you’re done (whether the mission is a success or not). You only have a limited number though, so you’ll have to decide if you need weapons, hats, or buddies most.

As well as being there as extra lives if your favourite circular character dies, you’ll also want plenty of manpower to keep your base running. As you progress through the game you can pay to install extra rooms in your underground lair, each with different benefits (which is weirdly reminiscent of XCOM). The research lab can be used to unlock buffs like more starting balloons or faster healing in the medical wing, the construction team can make sure there’s room for more personnel in each room, and there’s even a backup team you can summon mid-mission to tag in a fresh character. There’s a whole lot of depth to the base building, and the more effort you put in the easier the espionage will be.

Another reason you might want to kidnap and brainwash more enemies is because every single character has a bunch of unique traits that drastically change how they perform on missions. A lot of these are negative, like lightweight characters who can’t stun enemies by jumping on them or characters who can (somehow) be seen by characters through walls. Once you level up a character enough though they’ll start to shed a few of their less desirable perks and replace them with better ones. My best character for example was able to heal double using health packs he found and was able to pull arrows back supremely fast, which more than made up for his asthma. Characters also gain maximum hit points when leveling up, which makes it all the more devastating when they inevitably die on a tough mission.

A screenshot of Mr Sun's Hatbox

It’s also worth talking about the fantastic mission variety in Mr Sun’s Hatbox. There are all sorts of objectives you’ll be given on these five to fifteen-minute-long excursions, from killing a specific target to carefully extracting some very breakable documents. Some levels have time limits, whereas some levels toss out the stealth altogether and throw wave after wave of enemies at you. There’s always one mission that will help you progress in the main quest and a couple that are optional whenever you load up the mission map, which means you’re never forced to head out on a mission you know you won’t enjoy.

Mr Sun’s Hatbox is a fantastic blending of ideas, taking elements from all manner of gaming classics to create something magical. The combination of stealth and silliness is truly delightful, and the base building gives you plenty to work towards. Now that the framerate issues have been patched on the Switch, it’s an easy game to recommend that really stands out from the pack.

The original review was a lower score, and mentioned performance issues, which have since been completely fixed with the day one patch. If you have no access to the internet to download the patch, we urge caution. But otherwise, update the game, and you’ll be good.

Truly unique 2D stealth gameplay
The base building is really compelling
A huge range of hats and weapons to try out
The mission variety is great


Losing a high leveled character always feels bad
Requires that day one update for technical reasons

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Mr Sun's Hatbox blends a whole lot of fantastic ideas together, offering great variety, and a unique take on a familiar genre.