Review: Hi-Fi Rush – Rocking the Beat Downs

It’s not a common thing to see a game get shadow-dropped onto any platform, especially from a big developer like Bethesda. Luckily for all of us, Hi-Fi Rush is a great surprise that oozes fun times and a unique vibe that blends together different genres into something interesting. You have the fast-paced action and viciousness of hack & slash games combined with the flair and spectacle of rhythm games. While you might not be a fan of either one individually, you’ll definitely find yourself resonating with how well the two of them mix together, like peanut butter and chocolate.

Hi-Fi Rush, developed by Tango Gameworks, follows a kid named Chai in a futuristic island called Vandelay Campus. Chai a free-flowing dreamer who wants to be a future rock star, but is put into an experiment that turns him into a defect with a robotic arm and music player heart. Because of this, he’s relentlessly pursued by robotic enemies serving Vandelay, which has been lying about their experiments and sending people into slave labor.

Chai meets a number of allies that help him out in revolting against Vandelay, including a girl named Peppermint and her robotic cat. It’s a fun story that borrows many elements from anime stories, manga visuals, and a bit of inspiration from classic games such as Jet Set Radio. The characters aren’t very deep or complex, but enough to latch onto for the wild ride ahead, especially if you enjoy lighthearted interactions between characters.

What makes Hi-Fi Rush so special is how it fully commits to the musical themes, with the soundtrack being filled with rock bands such as The Black Keys, Nine Inch Nails, and many others. The combat and nearly every action you take in the game is tied to the beat of the music you hear throughout, rewarding you in various ways for doing things in line with the beat. While some might dislike how each battle you come across is placed in specific spots during a level, rather than randomly happening, the action is still a lot of fun. If you’re staying on beat, you can truly bring down the house on every enemy you encounter.

However, the game never punishes you for not doing so and still allows you to play as if it were any other hack & slash game. You aren’t powerless should you want to get away from the beat and just mash buttons. Doing so is fine, but you miss out on a ton of benefits by staying on beat, such as extra damage against enemies and loot drops. Getting on the beat isn’t as tough as you might think since the game gives you multiple indicators to help you out, which everyone will appreciate.

Boss fights are a big highlight of the combat. There are skirmishes with multiple types of enemies that will force you to change tactics, but the boss fights against the main antagonists feel like a major event. There are multiple cutscenes in-between phases, as well as humorous dialogue that makes them a lot of fun to play. There’s definitely a big challenge for some of the latter bosses, but the majority of them will have you looking for openings to wail your metal guitar on them. Some of the final shots you see after defeating them will make you laugh.

Speaking of loot, the game uses spare parts as currency to help you open up new attacks, special moves, and other perks for battling robots. You have a special attack that becomes available when you generate enough power, which can be used for a devastating attack or boost to yourself depending on what you have equipped. Options are scarce at first but more opens up as you complete stages and find hidden collectibles. Unlocking new moves as early as possible definitely has a big impact on how much you can do in battles, especially if you’re aiming for higher rankings at the end of each stage. Getting a better ranking gives you bigger bonuses to unlock even more afterward.

One aspect of Hi-Fi Rush that mildly brings down the experience is platforming. There’s nothing in here that you haven’t already seen in other action games with basic platforming sections to break up the action. While the environments you visit look great and have a lot of personality in them, your interactions aren’t always as intricate. Gaining new moves that allow you to bypass obstacles and open new areas is great, but not a big focus of the game overall. It’s just in here to slow you down before the next big battle, which may or may not impact the overall pacing for some players. You can find a lot of data pads scattered around that give more details about the story and history of Vandelay. If you’re not into the lore of the game then you might not care for this, but at least it’s there to give something more to those curious about it.

Hi-Fi Rush is a fun surprise that brings something great to the table. If games that are different than the norm or trying hard to attempt something different is your jam, then you’ll definitely resonate with Hi-Fi Rush. Rhythm and action games aren’t always something we can see going together very well, but this is a great example of how it can be done. What you have here is an experience that rocks the beatdowns in a very loud and fun way.

Are you a fan of rhythm or action games? Did you get Hi-Fi Rush off of Xbox Game Pass and try it out for yourself? Share your thoughts down below in the comment section!

Hi-Fi Rush
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    Hi-Fi Rush - 80%


This is a fun and unique game that will have you beating down enemies and enjoying some fantastic music. While the story may or may not click with everyone, the characters are likable enough to latch onto, even if they aren’t very complex. The action is fast-paced, the visuals are fantastic, and the overall experience is very good.

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Jakejames Lugo

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