Hi-Fi Rush Review
When this game was first announced on the last Xbox showcase it took the gaming world by storm and surprise, in an out now and on game pass announcement gamers had little to lose in trying this one out. Well, it certainly got everyone’s attention. But behind it all, is it REALLY a great game or was it a benefactor of a see it for the first time and its out now HYPE TRAIN? Let’s peel it back and find out.
Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm-based action game developed by Tango GameWorks and published by Bethesda Softworks for the Windows and Xbox Series X/S platforms. It was announced on January 25, 2023, and released worldwide the same day.
The game follows self-proclaimed “future rock star” Chai, whose music player is accidentally embedded in his chest during experimental cybernetic surgery, allowing him to sense the rhythm of the world. Labelled a “defect” and hunted by the corporation that transformed him, Chai bands together with new friends to defeat the company’s executives and put a stop to their plans. Hi-Fi Rush includes licensed music from bands such as The Black Keys and Nine Inch Nails.
Attacking on rhythm is not required, as actions automatically sync up with the music, but by timing the button presses right the players are rewarded with higher damage output and timing-based combo finishers deal additional damage.
A parry move allows players to cancel enemy attacks by pressing the button at the exact moment of attacks. In addition to the beat-em-up action mechanics, there are also rhythm-based minigame elements where players repeat cues in a call-and-response fashion or press buttons in rhythmic sequence based on on-screen cues.
The game takes place across multiple linear stages, representing various divisions of the antagonist corporation. Each division is based on a particular musical style, and Chai engages in boss battles at various points.
In addition to combat, the game also features some platform game elements, as well as a system of upgrades to unlock new moves, abilities, and perks, which can be purchased with gears, an in-game currency earned in combat or by exploring levels. Permanent upgrades to health and the special meter also appear in stages as collectibles.
Overall, I will say this game is a lot of fun to play, we don’t get as many 3D platformers as we used to so this was a nice change of pace. The rhythm mechanic is cool to see reflected in the entire world as everything pulses, vibrates and blinks along to the beat. With the way the game is designed you aren’t punished for playing off beat, which is nice.
The game does feature a lot of tongue in cheek humor to keep things light and honestly with the animation style almost comes off as an American take on an Anime. After a while it can become a little tired, but ultimately doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.
The music is great however near the end of the game the gimmick loses a bit of its gleam, while the soundtrack is heavily padded with original music (which isn’t that bad honestly) the licensed tracks are the star and the game just doesn’t lean into it as much as I’d like it to, but I am sure they had a budget they had to adhere to.
While the game is a fun platformer in my opinion it does fall a bit short of a game like Ratchet and Clank a Rift Apart as far as gold standard platformers. But it was great to see Tango attempt something new and refreshing outside of their normal wheelhouse. I would fully expect to see more adventures from these characters in the years to come.
Do I think it benefited from the hype of shadow announcing and shadow dropping? Absolutely, but this is still a great platformer, nonetheless.