By now the surprise is over and everyone knows Microsoft and Tango Gameworks shadow dropped Hi-Fi Rush on Game Pass. With mountains of marketing for upcoming games, it’s very rare for a game to announce and drop the same day. What’s even more is the game is actually good and that’s coming from someone who hates rhythm games.
Rocking to the Beat of Hi-Fi Rush
I was never a fan of rhythm games. Definitely nothing like Dance Dance Revolution or Rock Band for me. My timing in those games is awful and it’s just not a good time for me. I’m also not a fan of the music. I’ll skip the rock and metal.
This disdain for the rhythm games goes back even further with PaRappa the Rapper. Glad it wasn’t rock music, but man all those beat misses annoyed me to no end. I wanted to choke that little character back when I rented it so many years ago.
Now fast forward to Hi-Fi Rush and it’s rhythm based combat. Attacking on beat causes more damage and earns more points. Sure button mashing can get you through the game, but not nearly with as much fun or ease as hitting the beat on time. That game mechanic is unique enough, but I love how everything else in the game syncs to the beat.
Keeping Everything in Sync
Attacks, moving platforms, enemies, scenery and even animations sync to the beat. Takes getting used to, especially for someone off rhythm like me, but is great fun moving to the beat. With my constant misses of platforms moving to the beat, the double jump was my saving grace. Luckily, the game is also forgiving when it comes to respawning nearby instead of restarting the whole level.
The whole premise of syncing everything to the beat is great silly design, but the cartoony cell-shaded art style matches that perfectly. Animations are really smooth. Although the music is not my favorite genre, it all works well together.
Knowing I could try it out on my Steam Deck now that I have Game Pass Ultimate setup on there also helped me jump in. Granted the cloud based gaming added to the difficulty of catching the rhythm during the lag spikes. Still, I enjoyed hours via the Steam Deck with Xbox Cloud Gaming. Playing directly on my PC was much easier though.
With so much in my gaming backlog already, I’d usually wait on a game like this, but the shadow drop intrigued me. Knowing it was rhythm based, it surprised me how much fun I had. Tango Gameworks finally cracked the code for me to like a rhythm based game.
Hi-Fi Rush Game has Some Depth
There were plenty of upgrade options to unlock new attack combos, chips (buffs) and to increase health or reverb gauges. It did feel like the game was stingy with the gears currency used to unlock those. I maxed out Chai’s unlocked combos, but there’s was a ton of other supporting character upgrades I hardly touched.
What still boggles my mind is customized appearance didn’t come until the end of the game. It seems like a wasted opportunity since I didn’t really feel the need to go back and replay levels or challenges for those. In any potential sequel, I hope they revamp those upgrades.
Those aside, I loved the use of the allies to augment attacks and solve puzzles. Peppermint’s guns disabled shields and shot targets for me. Macaron was the heavy hitter to break through walls and metal shields. Korsica put out fires for me and overloaded generators. Solving those puzzles also required staying on beat.
808 the Robot Cat for the Hi-Fi Rush Game Pass Win
The robot cat, 808, is the true star of the game with typical cute cat things to offset Chai’s annoying personality. There’s even a bit I got to fight as the robot cat which felt like a nice nod to Stray. It served as the drone all the allies could communicate/teleport through. Yeah a bit weird, but hey, it’s a cartoon.
In the end, I enjoyed the Hi-Fi Rush show on Game Pass and would surely play any sequel or future story DLC. Although I’d not go so far to label it a complete masterpiece, it’s still a must play. That’s keeping in mind the music is not my favorite genre and I’m adverse to rhythm games. Any hardcore fan of something like Rock Band will likely love this game even more than me.