Wake up everyone! It’s time to smell the music. Publisher Bethesda and developer Tango Gameworks quietly dropped Hi-Fi Rush on Xbox GamePass late January. And I got some news for you—Hi-Fi Rush is a BANGER! Although Tango Gameworks is the same development team who brought you The Evil Within, you won’t find survival horror here in their brand new release. Riding along the same chords as Metal Hellsinger, Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm-based action adventure game to rock your socks off!

Hi-Fi RUSH Digital Deluxe Edition

Feel the beat as wannabe rockstar Chai and his ragtag team fight against an evil megacorp with raucous rhythm combat! From Tango Gameworks comes Hi-Fi RUSH, an all-new action game where the world syncs to the music.

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Who is Chai?

Hi-Fi Rush takes place in an urban skyscraper city operated by Vandelay Technologies. Six corporate executives rule over the landscape within their respective niche locations. Chai, the main character, is a not-so-famous Rockstar. He applies as a test subject for Project Armstrong to replace his injured arm. During the procedure, his mp3 player fuses into his heart, and now he feels the beat of the world around him! Labeled as a “defect,” the Vandelay Technologies corporation is on high alert to take him out.

Hi-Fi Rush Feels Like A Classic PS2 Game

The world design hits me with a sense of nostalgia. As I explore the stage, my mind shoots straight back to the classic PS2 gaming era. Every level follows a linear pathway from point A to point B. For gamers who love to explore nooks and crannies, there is a hidden secret or two found off the beaten path. Some areas are inaccessible until beating the game though. Still, secrets are not too crazy! Don’t expect invisible walls and illusions like you’d see in Elden Ring.

Animation Style Fits The Role

The visual art exuberates a wonderful animation style which allows it’s characters to thrive in a silly environment. With this type of animation style, I am glad to see the color saturation is cranked up to 11! I instantly feel the vibes that this would be like an over-the-top silly and fun adventure. Another brilliant idea was to make the enemies, companions, button prompts, and environmental objects color-coded. As a new player, this subtle art impact really helps the world feel simple and easy to understand right from the get-go without needing to delve further into the complexities of the game.

Hi-Fi Rush is A BANGER! | Game Review

Hi-Fi Rush Resonates A Beautiful Pulse

Everything in Hi-Fi Rush reacts to the music! Watching how the whole environment is affected is plainly just a joy. Even in cutscenes, the whimsical world pulses to the beat. In a strange way, being synchronized into this beautiful world feels good. On the other hand, the video game soundtrack leans more into the pop and alternative rock vibes. It works perfect for the gameplay inclusion, but the beats are similar to anything you’d hear off a normal music machine.

Most people probably won’t have an issue with that. Since I am a drummer, I am just a bit nitpicky about it. The reason I point it out is because the songs are good. However, none of them are truly unique to me. Hi-Fi Rush rings in tune with the story, characters, gameplay, interaction, and all-around charming vibes. But none of the songs get stuck in my head. In comparison, I still think about 3 different songs from Metal Hellsinger. I am a metal head so I know there is a little biasness here.

Hi-Fi Rush is A BANGER! | Game Review

Does Hi-Fi Rush Have Enough Combat Variety?

In this game, it’s all about the rhythm – mash your attacks to the beat, and you’ll be unstoppable! Like other rhythm action games, the difficulty in Hi-Fi Rush will solely depend on the same thing—how well you can mash buttons to the beat! Chai attacks with his junk-infused guitar, strings combos together for more damage, dodges, parries, grapples toward enemies, utilizes special attacks, and disrupts the stage with companion abilities.

Chai defeats most enemies by pulverizing them into nuts and bolts. Hey, that sounds familiar (Ratchet & Clank)! Special enemies require a little more work. A companion ability needs to weaken the special enemies first before Chai can finish them off. More unique enemies will also force Chai into a solo showdown with QTE button prompts, which are my favorite moments!

Hi-Fi Rush uses a similar style bonus to the Devil May Cry series. Using a variety of combos, hitting on beat, and avoiding damage will award that super spicy retro S rank! I truly love the versatility for combat because there are multiple pathways to defeat your opponents (with the exception of some boss battles). As the official Game Gush Gamer, I hereby imbue the right to bestow an S+ Rank to the combat segment alone!

Awesome References

Anyway, Hi-Fi Rush remains super silly and strums to its strength. They sneak in plenty of pop culture references like the snaps from Twin Peaks and even a Xenogears homage. I can’t help but to chuckle at this one, but many characters are named after food ingredients: Peppermint, CNMN (Cinnamon), Kale, Macaron. I love it! If you stumble upon the HR Manager, you may think the tall robot is eerily similar to Sebastian Castellanos (The Evil Within). He can be found in different areas throughout the game, and he goes into some deep dive monologues. It’s really the coolest thing for The Evil Within fans.

The Museum stage hides my favorite reference though! Yes, it’s another reference to The Evil Within. You have to know what’s going on or you’ll miss it because the animation is pretty fast. Wandering off to the back hallway of the first floor of the museum will show a Tango Gameworks snail getting sucked up by the mirror from The Evil Within. Since the same exact sound effect is used, along with the crack of the glass, the noise was just music to my ears!

Hi-Fi Rush Has Surprisingly Awesome End Game Content

Hold up, the fun doesn’t stop after beating the main story either! Outfits can be unlocked or bought in the store to customize characters. An ultimate kitty cat special attack appears in the shop menu. Chai can duke it out against robots to the tippity top of an ultimate survival tower. Replay missions to access those previously inaccessible areas. Or, you know, hammer-on for that S RANK! If it’s one thing I know for sure, Hi-Fi Rush never loses its rhythm while rocketing upwards on a consistent thrill ride!

Hi-Fi Rush is A BANGER! | Game Review

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