The Hat Man: Shadow Ward is a first-person adventure-horror game developed by Game Mechanics. It features a randomly generating map that changes both in front of and behind the player, so sometimes going back the way you came is not the best idea. Similar to Slender: The 8 Pages in The Hat Man: Shadow Ward the goal is to collect pages, however unlike Slender you are collecting the pages of a journal inside of a sanatorium as well as completing tasks that require players to fetch items and use them to continue your journey.
Not much is known about the story line yet, but by reading the pages you discover that they are from the journal of someone who was sent to the sanatorium by their family, this person could even be the player.
In the dark world, the player must explore the wards of the building and find their escape. Players must complete tasks within the buildings many areas and collect twenty-one pages to survive.
The game plays like most first-person adventure horror-games at the moment with WSAD movement and flashlight controls. Unlike similar games like Slender the 8 Pages however, the Hatman must actually catch the player to lose the game. Players can stare at him as much as they want, but in some cases the player will run down a hallway to avoid him only to meet him again in the next several rooms. Hiding from the Hatman is also possible by crouching with the lights off.
In addition to everything else, the game features a very dark ambiance to set the tone of the building, be aware of harsh audio cues telling you what is about to happen, and of course how close The Hatman is to you.
Key items have been added as of the May Beta release, these items must be used to continue the game and access more areas. One example of this is a hole in the floor where the player must use a crowbar to pry boards down from a nearby wall to cover the hole.