Review – Hi-Fi Rush


Jaxson Day, Host of Crimson Gaming Corner

When Hi-Fi Rush was announced, it immediately grabbed the attention of audiences around the world, thanks to its popping animation style, rhythm-based combat mixed with licensed music. Audiences didn’t have to wait long as the game was stealth-dropped later that day, and its unique gameplay idea worked even  perfectly in practice. Littered with amazing setpieces, unique enemy design, and laugh-out-loud moments, Hi-Fi Rush keeps the player constantly engaged throughout the 8 hour runtime.

Rush to the Beat

 Coming from Tango Gameworks, creators of the critically acclaimed horror series The Evil Within and Ghostwire Tokyo, Hi-Fi Rush is a sharp change for the developer. Despite that, the game features tons of color, action and humor thar shows Tango is more than just a horror developer. 

The game starts with having us playing as Chai, a naive but lovable protagonist who gets his heart replaced with a portable music player during a bad procedure. This forces all of his actions, as well as the world around him, to move on the beat. With this new power, as well as your robotic arm that comes with a built in magnetic guitar, you battle through linear levels as you try to steal keycodes from every boss in an evil megacorp. Each boss has a unique style, humor, and mechanic that keeps the game feeling fresh throughout the entire runtime. In terms of combat, Chai’s musical heart causes all of his actions, as well as the actions of everything around him, happen on the beat.

Head-bopping all the Way

Rhythm-base combat is not a new mechanic, as seen by FPS games like Metal Hellsinger or BPM. What separates Hi-Fi Rush from other rhythm-based games though, is you don’t have to be a rhythmist to enjoy the game. No matter when you press the button, Chai’s actions and the actions around him will happen on the beat. This not only helps in terms of accessibility but also helps combat feel easy to learn and hard to master. Hi-Fi Rush also features typical Devil May Cry action game combos, that are mixed with the rhythm. This, as well as the ability to summon your partners to extend combos, makes every scenario feel different constantly unique. 

The partners don’t just help support the game throughout combat either, each one has an intriguing part of the story. Throughout the game, well-written characters and dialogue are constantly added, making each interaction feel special and funny. By the end, every character is special, and while their collective relationship can feel rushed by the end, interacting with the entire party is a an absolute blast

Zip and Grind your way to Victory

Outside of combat, the world features some engaging traversal options. These can range from zip lines, grapple hooks, and environmental puzzles that are quick enough to not bog down gameplay. There are also lots of secrets to find, from upgrades to text logs that actually add to the story. You can also interact with a number of hilarious NPCs that sometimes offer secret side missions. This variety of collectibles begs players to explore every single nook and cranny. Thankfully, there aren’t too many collectibles that it feels overwhelming. Unfortunately, the platforming and overall movement can feel a off at times, making traversal feel a little robotic and unnatural. Thankfully, the fun setpieces and environments that this traversal and platforming take place always distracted me from these problems.

By the end of my playthrough, I was itching to go back and get S rank on all the levels. Outside of that, there are unique costumes, challenges, and secrets that make going back to levels more enticing. While I wish some of these costumes are available during the first playthrough, they are well-designed enough to warrant going back and exploring the levels.

Tango Gameworks has not only released one of the best Xbox exclusives, but also cements itself as a top-tier developer. With great feeling rhythm based combat, a hilarious story, and lovable characters that could are very memorable. Hi-Fi Rush is a special and unbelievable game that feels wholly unique and a good step forward for rhythm based combat that I’m excited to see more of in the future. 

Game Score: 9/10

Hi-Fi Rush is available now on Xbox Game Pass for both Console and PC. It also available for purchasing on both platforms for $30. For more reviews on new releases, stay right here on Geekwave!