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Hi-Fi Rush Review

Official Score

Overall - 85%


Hi-Fi Rush is a stone-cold stunner, one with gameplay in lockstep with the beat. While finding one’s groove takes some getting used to, those with a keen ear will be in tune in no time flat.

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A funky fresh new direction for Tango Gameworks, Hi-Fi Rush combines rhythm-based combat with a world perfectly in sync. Should players move to the groove, or is the wannabe rocker Chai a little off-key?

Hi-Fi Rush Review

In a world run by the ever-present Vandelay Industries (no relation to Constanza), the protagonist Chai finds himself in the middle of it all. Invited to their island campus for their new Project Armstrong initiative, his handy-dandy music player causes the robotic limb procedure to fail and turn him into a defect. Not one to deal with imperfection, this corporation sets out to do away with him.

As Chai sets out to escape with his life, he soon begins to unravel mysteries behind the SPECTRA program, team up with allies, and experience a world filled with robots, melody, and word bubbles that would make Adam West-era Batman proud.

However, Chai’s up to the task – his new metallic arm and music player in his chest allows him to feel the beat of its world. Utilizing a healthy mix of light attacks, heavy attacks, dodges, and special attacks, everything Chai does lives and dies by the Just Timing system. Players will still hit their opponent, no need to worry about that; rather, those that time things just right (hence the name) will be able to launch opponents into the air, dodge enemy attacks on the ground and in the air, and get a higher letter grade at the end of each combat segment.

Things get that much deeper in Hi-Fi Rush as things progress. Early on, Chai comes across the robotic cat 808, which allows Chai to do Beat Hits that serve as timing-based bonus attacks. As things progress, Chai can unlock Special Attacks with appropriate titles like “Rip and Tear,” call in partners for additional attacks, and can utilize collectible (and upgradable) chips that provide passive skills.

While it is unfortunate that much of this content – and even simple combos – needs to be unlocked by spending currency gears at its store, it does ease players into the title and turns Chai into a veritable powerhouse by the end – even if you do have to wait a bit to parry.

If anything, each stage of Hi-Fi Rush features a track that sets the tone – in more ways than one. Mixing up originals with hits from artists like the Nine Inch Nails, it’s important to always pay attention to the beat. It can feel like Chai’s a lead weight – especially when it comes to its platforming. However, this title’s soundtrack is tailor-made to each level and boss fight, giving it that oh-so-special personal touch. Whether one is draining an enemy’s budget through sheer mayhem or navigating a rail line, it spices things up compared to the more traditional hack-and-slash titles on the market.

It should be worth noting that Hi-Fi Rush dresses the part. Its world of color and music is incredibly refreshing; doubly so when maxed out. We played the title on an OLED television with Sennheiser headphones and got absorbed in its world from the very first beat. It never takes itself seriously either, with Chai hamming it up every chance he gets. Put simply, Hi-Fi Rush is filled to the brim with charm.

Hi-Fi Rush is a stone-cold stunner, one with gameplay in lockstep with the beat. While finding one’s groove takes some getting used to, those with a keen ear will be in tune in no time flat.

This review of Hi-Fi Rush was done on the PC. A digital code was provided by the publisher.
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Casey Scheld

Drawn to the underground side of gaming, Casey helps the lesser known heroes of video games. If you’ve never heard of it, he’s mastered it.
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