Hi-Fi Rush First Impressions

Tango Gameworks surprise dropped their new game during the recent Xbox Developer Direct, and this one is a rhythm adventure available on Xbox, PC, and also Game Pass too.

In Hi-Fi Rush you play as Chai, an aspiring rock star, plus his pet cat. This is a different look for Tango Gameworks who’s most recent releases including The Evil Within and Ghostwire: Tokyo. This is much more upbeat, colorful, and some might say, downright fun.

It immediately gives of Jet Set Radio vibes where you lay the beat down on robots to the music with your guitar. The environment itself pulses with the music, the whole world following along to the beat in time with the music. The beat matching battle mechanics aren’t compulsory you’ll be happy to hear, as rhythm games aren’t for everyone. But if you do want to get into things then you can jump, swing and smash along to the background beats. Smash in time with the music and you’ll get additional flourishes of music too.

As you play through the game Chai teams up with new allies, who add new moves into the mix. This expands the overall combos you can inflict on your enemies. The soundtrack is pretty great too with tracks from Nine Inch Nails, The Black Keys, The Prodigy, Wolfgang Gartner and The Joy Formidable.

Hi-Fi Rush is a colourful action game, similar in-part to Devil May Cry and Bayonetta, but with the rhythm element. The whole world around you moves to the beat, reinforcing the rhythm, however, it’s not essential by any means. You could probably get through the game by smashing the X button, but you’re going to have more fun if you get into the rhythm.

The game makes a great first impression, much like it did during the Xbox Developer Direct. The art direction is one of the main catalysts for this, but get into the game and the characters really bring it all to life. Chai is silly but likeable, and 808 is a good sidekick mascot too. It’s similar to cartoon animation, much like Into The Spiderverse, where the game’s animated at a lower framerate to mimic hand-drawn, cel-shaded design.

The rhythm element isn’t obtuse either. Other games that have come before this one, like Cadence of Hyrule, really wedded you to the rhythm elements. Hi-Fi Rush doesn’t go down this path and while you are nudged in that direction, it’s by no means essential. The combat is fun, using a combination of light and heavy attacks, then having to time the button with two circles to fufil a combo. As you progress through the game the combos, enemies and encounters get more difficult and complex, but the game does a good job of bringing you along for the ride, teaching you slowly but surely through an in-depth tutorial, which takes up most of the opening hour of the game. Other characters join the party and bring their own weapons to improve the action including a grappling hook, other special abilities and a parry system.

Hi-Fi Rush was one of the highlights Xbox Developer Direct, with the fact it could be played immediately after a high point. Shadowing dropping games always makes a showcase more exciting, and the fact this was a semi-surprise makes it even better.

In terms of reception, so far it appears to be going very well. So far been awarded ‘Very Positive’ user reviews. There are 300 reviews so far, with an average of very positive. The user reviews are so good, one user even asks if “Microsoft silently dropped GOTY 2023”, while another user describes this as Guitar Hero blended with Devil May Cry. As well as good reviews it’s also selling well via Steam. It’s currently at number 7 on the Steam sales charts, meaning plenty of people are paying full price for the game even though it’s on Xbox Game Pass.

Hi-Fi Rush is available now on Xbox consoles and PC via Steam or the Microsoft Store. It’s also available on Xbox Game Pass.

Developer: Tango Gameworks
Publisher: Bethesda Studios
Platforms: Xbox, PC, Game Pass
Release Date: 25th January 2023