Hi-Fi RUSH review

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Released on January 25th as a complete surprise, Hi-Fi RUSH is a nugget merging brawl and rhythm game that should not be missed.

In the pantheon of video games, Shinji Mikami is known as one of the horror champions.

What could be more regular since he created Resident Evil at Capcom?

His career includes the PlatinumGames phase, where he made the fast-paced shooter Vanquish, and the founding of Tango Gameworks in 2010, a brand new studio that produced both The Evil Within and the more mixed Ghostwire Tokyo.

If he doesn’t make games anymore, one could think that his stable would be dedicated only to horror, considering the last productions.

It is not the case. 

With Hi-Fi RUSH, Tango Gameworks prove that they have several strings to their bow.

Here is a crazy, colorful, passionate, excited, and above all, incredibly mastered rhythm-battle game.

Hi-Fi RUSH: follow the rhythm

In a dystopian but shimmering future, young Chai dreams of becoming a rock star.

But with his arm in a sling, it’s hard to scratch.

He joins the experimental prosthesis program of the Vandelay company, where he finds himself fused with a mechanical arm, but more importantly, his MP3 player, which accidentally replaces his heart and serves as his reactor.

No, it doesn’t make much sense in the universe, but whatever. 

Chai now lives by the music literally. 

With his new powers, he intends to beat up some robots to escape the factory.

On the way, he meets Peppermint, a young hacker, and her rebel troop, who intend to expose the dark machinations of founder Vandelay.

This factory of mechanical prostheses hides a Machiavellian plot and crazy bosses.

You’d think you were reading the synopsis of a Studio Trigger anime.

Take Kill la Kill, for example.

We followed Ryuko, a young high school girl with a magical uniform fighting against a Machiavellian fashion corporation. 

These family resemblances are certainly not a coincidence. 

Hi-Fi RUSH proudly displays its references and makes a compass of it.

From the very first minutes, we can see Cartoon Network and anime inspirations, not only in the artistic direction (which is full of details) but also in the construction of the characters, the zany scenario, and the offbeat but assumed universe.

Later, Zanzo, an already cult boss, goes through a series of JoJo poses.

Tango Gameworks delivers a passionate declaration of love to all those cartoons that made us live our childhood and adolescence. 

The visual palette is reminiscent of the cult Jet Set Radio, even if it leans more toward comics than street art.

The bosses are as impressive as they are well-staged.

How can we not mention the soundtrack?

If the majority of the levels follow melodies composed by Tango Gameworks, cult songs are sprinkled throughout the adventure.

We start with Lonely Boy by the Black Keys, which makes the cinematic intro fly away with panache.

The first boss is followed by 1,000,000 by Nine Inch Nails.

We will avoid spoiling future musical surprises, but the playlist will delight rock ‘n roll fans.

A necessity for a game that takes music as a vital organ.

The Gameplay

But what about the gameplay? 

Hi-Fi RUSH invokes the best elements of modern beat them ups, between Devil May Cry and Bayonetta.

You can find all the necessary details: heavy or light combos, dodges, parries, and super attacks.

It gets exciting that each level finds its rhythm in the soundtrack.

You have to hit in rhythm with the music to do more damage or dodge at the right time following the sound cues.

This reminds us of Metal: Hellsinger, a heavy metal FPS where you had to shoot according to the tempo.

But the little touch of genius is that, as said before, the whole universe of Hi-Fi RUSH follows the same rhythm.

You can rely on the scenery to check the rhythm to follow.

Just in case, an optional gauge can also appear—a welcome concern for accessibility.

Achieving a perfect combo triggers devastating effects.

In his quest for freedom, Chai travels through the massive Vandelay campus, full of linear but fascinatingly detailed levels with hilarious NPCs who willingly poke fun at their ultra-capitalist society.

In these cursed factories, engineers fight to see who is the best at programmed obsolescence.

By the way, we’re encouraged to snoop around, looking for the endless bonuses hidden in the background.

Nothing that requires a big detour. 

Hi-Fi RUSH subscribes to the PS2 school of thought: well-polished levels where curiosity is rewarded.

An improvement in PVs can be hidden behind each corner.

We can only criticize the jumping as a bit rigid, contrasting with the other movements’ fluidity.

Cult personalities

Between each outing on campus, we pass by Peppermint’s hideout.

A sweet home where you can chat with the other characters, just as colorful as the rest, or buy upgrades.

The progression is cleverly designed.

As long as you take the trouble to collect a little bit of loose change while playing (with that concern above for curiosity), your powers increase, following a clever difficulty curve. 

Hi-Fi RUSH doesn’t get more devious; it just turns up the volume.

Epic battles mean powerful heroes… and the unlockable super-attacks are fun enough to meet our expectations.

The villains of Hi-Fi Rush are parodic capitalists that we love to hate.

The universe of Hi-Fi RUSH is very endearing. 

Each character has an exuberant personality, is very marked, and becomes instantly memorable.

From the beginning, we meet Rekka, head of the production, a bodybuilder, a drunken brute who speaks only in capital letters.

In our ears, we have the right to a masterful VF that carries the dynamism of the cutscenes on its shoulders.

The casting is impeccable.

Hi-Fi RUSH is already available on PC and Xbox, including through Xbox Game Pass.

At the low price of $29,99, it is unbeatable.

Myriam

Myriam fervor for gaming extends beyond her personal experiences; she finds true joy in sharing her love and knowledge with others.

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