"Uhhh, hi there. I'm an Express Owl. Which really just means I ride the Owl Express that the Conductor runs. I need to ride the train to go to work, but the Conductor makes unexpected stops all the time. I have no idea why we're at a movie studio. I need to be at work in 15 minutes!"
The typical Express Owl is largely anthropomorphized like other birds found in Chapter 2: Battle of the Birds, with large bodies, rounded heads and stout figure like the animal they are based on, but have a more humanoid structure and use their wings as if they were hands.
There are two main styles that Express Owls wear, a more modern look more fitting with movie film and a passenger style that looks more in character for the Westerns that Owls typically shoot for movies.
The Modern look is comprised of a white vest on top of a gingham shirt and pants, with a bow tie on the neck and small black tinted glasses. This style is completed by a gingham Gatsby Cap, a stereotypical hat used by directors of film. The color of the gingham for all the pieces is the same for a single Owl, but comes in varieties of green, blue, red brown.
The Passenger style is made of a large overcoat, a white dress shirt underneath and dress pants held by a black belt. This is completed by a round straw hat. Unlike the Modern style, this style also utilizes accenting colors more prominently, with the overcoat and pants being the same primary color (pants having a darker shade but similar hue) while the bow tie, buttons and ribbon around the hat use the secondary color. Variants include: blue with red accents, mauve with green accents, green with yellow accents and tan with blue accents.
Express Owls are usually shown to be timid and socially awkward around other types of characters, often keeping to themselves above all else. Given their general nature, Express Owls are also generally peaceful and non-aggressive, typically passive in their actions and reactions and seldom willing to do much to remedy the issue. If anything, Express Owls show a very innocent but naive nature to conflict around them.
When in a state of intense stress, they can typically be seen either cowering and fearful to what is going to happen, or in cases like the Finale, causes them to break their peaceful nature in order to avoid judgement by Mustache Girl. This is further evidenced by their more rowdy nature when spectating the battle between The Conductor and Hat Kid in the Awards Ceremony.
Most Owls are also adept at playing instruments, manifesting in the form of the Wowl Band or the Musician Owls that follow the player in The Big Parade and The Moon Time Rift. This musical aspect is also seen in Train Rush at multiple points, but is aesthetic rather than interactive.
Express Owls have one of the greatest ranges of use in A Hat in Time, appearing as peaceful NPCs to hazards and even as hostile enemies. They mainly appear in Chapter 2, but are occasionally mentioned in other chapters, along with appearing in Hat Kid's Spaceship.
Express Owls are common encountered as NPCs, usually with something to say. They can be most commonly found in Dead Bird Studios, or aboard the Owl Express. In Murder on the Owl Express, the train is filled with C.A.W. Agents pretending to be Express Owls, though the disguise doesn't fool the player nor the Owls themselves. Other notable Owls include the murder victim and the Owl blocking Hat Kid's route to the VIP Room due to a lost contact lens.
There is a running gag with some of the Owls often using the Owl Express as a legitimate passenger rather than an employee under The Conductor, often complaining or worrying about being late to work or returning home.
The Wowl Band is a group of NPCs of four Express Owls (2 modern, 2 passenger) that are located on Hat Kid's Spaceship. These Owls serve as a "jukebox" feature, changing out the Remix tracks unlocked by the Roulette minigame and able to play songs throughout the ship until the player enters an Act or speaks to the Owls again.
These Owls appear as an Intruder once the player has obtained their first remix from the Slot Machine.
While Hat Kid is sneaking around Dead Bird Studios, she needs to be careful to avoid both Express Owls and Moon Penguins in a stealth sequence. If she's seen by one for too much time, Hat Kid will take one damage, and be placed back at the last checkpoint encountered.
They serve as a different form of hazard in The Big Parade. As mentioned above, they serve to follow the player's exact movements, damaging Hat Kid on contact and always on her tail as indicated by glowing links between herself and the owls behind her. They also appear in Act 6: Award Ceremony and The Moon Time Rift.
Express Owls can also act as a more traditional enemy too. In both the Owl Express Time Rift and Chapter 5's Act "The Finale", Express Owls will leap around the stage throwing clipboards at Hat Kid.
In the Finale, this behavior is explained by one of the Owls cracking under pressure of being judged soon, demanding that Hat Kid give her "back of the line ticket" to him before acting violently as a consequence.
- Express Owls were originally scientists. While most references to this have been removed in the final, their old design can be seen in the portraits in Subcon Forest, and one Mafia makes mention of a "confusing science owl".
- Interestingly, in the act "Train Rush", three owls can be attacked and killed. All three are in the same car, and no other owls behave like that in the Act.
|Main Characters||Hat Kid • Mustache Girl • Bow Kid|
|Major Characters||The Conductor • DJ Grooves • The Empress • The Snatcher • Walrus Captain|
|Hostile Characters||Enemy • Mafia Boss • Mafia Goons • Queen Vanessa|
|Support Characters||Badge Seller • Cooking Cat • Goofy Mafia • Rumbi|
|Minor Characters||C.A.W Agents • Coffee Clerk • Express Owls • Fat Bird • Fire Spirits • Fish Dude • Goats • Metro Cats • Meowjima • Moon Penguins • Nomad • The Receptionist • Snatcher's Minions • Subcon Dwellers • Tourist • White Seal Crew|