Warning, spoilers for A Hat in Time!
After chipping away at it for the better part of two years alongside a friend, I’ve fully completed A Hat in Time’s Death Wish.
Death Wish is the Deal part of Seal the Deal, the first DLC released for Hat. It adds a bunch of extremely difficult challenges in the form of twists on existing levels.
A certain level posed a particular challenge: Wound-up Windmill. It’s a harder take on the original level, The Windmill. The obstacles are moving faster, enemies locating at annoying spots, and Snatcher (the big purple sadistic worm) has given the place some personal touches a la light arson.
If that didn’t sound bad enough, we were going for full completion. Windmill offers two addition bonuses; get to the top without using hat abilities or taking damage, and get to the top within 4 minutes. Luckily, we discovered a ton of shortcuts (mostly me, but my friend found two) that reduced the overall difficulty enough for us to collect both bonuses at once, with my time clocking in at around three minutes. It’s broken to the point that I honestly can’t recall the intentional way to play the level. I’d like to share the most helpful tricks we strung together in order to complete the level.
When you get to the base of the Windmill, you’ll want to go to the right, in the direction of the gate. You can pull off some precise platforming to vault over it and skip the entire first section inside the Windmill. Double jump off of the stack of hay bales, wall climb as close to the fence as possible, and then jump off and try to get Hat Kid to climb over the top left edge of the door where it meets the fence. Don’t worry if you can’t get it on your first attempt, it might be the toughest trick here to consistently pull off. Here’s a video demonstration:
Progress through the level as normal until you re-enter the Windmill, right above the gate. Ignore the moving platform and jump directly onto the rim of the blue window. Walk forward until you can’t, and then jump on the rotating wooden box and then immediately to the next platform.
From here, jump to the middle platform, the one with the spider. Don’t worry, the spider targets some area below the platform you’re jumping to, so you can’t interact with it or take damage from it. You can make the jump easer by going to the left or right to prevent yourself from being bonked by the moving platforms. Hitch a ride onto one of the platforms going up, and jump off right before it flips over. If you time it right, you can reach the large gear or even the little stone spinner above it.
Continue onward, past the two platforms with the buttons, until you reach the fast-moving horizontal platform. This next skip was found by my friend. Although, maybe skip is too strong of word; it takes a touch longer, but can make it significantly easier if you struggle with the timing. There’s a rectangular beam next to the platform you stand on before you jump, connected to some mesh fence-like barriers. You can jump, wall climb on the side that faces the moving platform, and then double jump and dive to get atop that platform.
Continue upwards until you reach another large, blue-rimmed window. Jump onto the rim from the inside of the Windmill, and walk up towards the blue platform towards the left. Walk up the slope until you get stopped, then position a dive to launch you towards the platform. This will require you to have the No Bonk Badge, and might require some practice.
From here, backtrack through the inside of the Windmill by taking the flat, horizontally-moving platform to get to the wooden platform next to the big opening. Dive at the rim from the side, and cancel your dive once you get close to the top-most area; a large section of the top of it has collision. Again, you will need the No Bonk Badge. Be careful not to fall through the convenient little hole in the floor. Then, jump to the moving platform, and then again to the blue spinning platforms.
From here, you can make another tight jump from the top of the blue platforms to the spinning gear at the center.
Continue through the level as intended. When you get to the part that locks your camera (if you have camera assist enabled, which is the default), you can completely skip the little spinning wooden platform and jump directly to the sandbags, eliminating some potentially tricky timing.
From there, the finish line is in sight. Complete the level and claim both bonuses, given you met the requirements.
This is not an exhaustive list of all of the little shortcuts. I’ve intentionally left certain skips out of here for you to discover yourself. Hope it makes it easier if you end up attempting this!