‘Hi-Fi Rush’ provides pure joy gaming experience

Written By Dan Russo, Staff Writer

For years, we have been conditioned to button mash in our video games. When in doubt, spam the A button. Some games, like Super Smash Bros employ a “stale moves” mechanic which discourages button mashing. However for the most part it has been a staple of gaming. Hi Fi Rush seeks to remedy that.

Developed by Tango Gameworks, the developers of the horror game Evil Within and Ghostwire: Tokyo comes Hi Fi Rush, an action game with a combat system that hinges entirely on music. Released a few weeks ago by surprise during the Xbox developer direct, this game is not worth missing.

The player controls Chai, a wannabe rock star with a penchant for whacking things with his guitar. Players use 2 attack buttons, a parry button and an assist button to attack. There are tons of unlockable combos which require proper musical timing to make the most of. Chai will always attack on the beat but pressing the button at the right time rewards you with bonus damage, more meter for special attacks, and a bunch of disembodied voices cheering your name. There’s also a super meter for powerful special attacks. One has you ride your guitar like a skateboard, and one makes you perform a Guitar Hero-esqe solo to land it.

Enemies attack on the beat as well, giving combat this engaging sense of rhythm to get lost in once you get the hang of it. Objects in the world dance to the beat to help you get your bearings, and there is also a feature that will show you the beat at any time. All of the boss fights are creative and keep the player guessing and smiling throughout their fights.

The game also has rhythm-based rail riding segments and some light platforming. These don’t make up a lot of the games length but are good enough to keep the game from getting too repetitive. There is also a home base where you can talk to your friends and upgrade and modify your abilities.

For a game all about music, the soundtrack has to deliver. Hi Fi Rush’s soundtrack certainty does. The studios in house band provides a lot of great original rock music. Tracks will build and add instruments depending on your performance, adding another layer of tangible satisfaction to each combat encounter. The game also features such acts as The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips and Nine Inch Nails, which are reserved for boss fights.

The game is also quite funny. It has this Saturday morning action cartoon feel to it, like something ripped right out of Cartoon Network. All of the voice actors do a great job selling that style, too. It got quite a good number of chuckles out of me throughout the games 10-hour story. The story itself is nothing mind-blowing, but it doesn’t have to be, and it doesn’t take itself seriously at all.

Overall, if you have an Xbox and were waiting for a new game to play, do yourself a favor and pick this up. It’s on Xbox Game Pass right now too and is also on Steam. Hi Fi Rush is sheer joy to play, and I recommend it to everyone with the means to play it.