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Hi-Fi Rush Review


Hi-Fi Rush Review

Beat 'em up... 

Tango’s synonymous reputation preconceived through its undeniable popularity developing The Evil Within, its sequel The Evil Within 2 and Ghostwire Tokyo planted the Bethesda subsidiary as its core horror studio. While gamers were set on the notion that Tango Gameworks were quietly working on The Evil Within 3 or Ghostwire Tokyo 2, the team surprised everyone with its same-day release of Hi-Fi Rush, the rhythmic action-platformer announced and given a same-day release during the XBOX and Bethesda Developer_Direct. A departure from Tango’s wheelhouse, and taking gamers by surprise, the title itself is emblazoned with charm, attitude, style and flair. The vibrant and colourful universe that juxtaposes its premise of conformity in this musically inclined dystopia delivers a unique exhibition for its overall presentation.

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Comprising an abundance of aesthetical value as its primary design choice, overlaying comic-book style lower-thirds and anime type cuts and pans, a common theme gives insight to what our experience should entail from its onset including comical dialogue, lovable characters and a catchy soundtrack that our character bops his way through while toppling a deceivable dictatorship. Hi-Fi Rush is packed to the brim with excitement and awe from its initial introduction of our melodically menaced protagonist that whimsically lives his life through the beat of one drum, his own. Defying the odds and the laws imposed by Kale Vandelay, the dastardly devious CEO of Vandelay Technologies, this beautiful blend of action-adventure, platforming, rhythm hack-and-slash is an outstanding title, that will surely be in contention for Game of the Year.

Chai Time...

The premise of Hi-Fi Rush is introduced without an elongated introduction, as we’re given a simple backstory to our protagonist’s outing. Chai, a youngster that’s left with a disabled arm but loves his music, volunteers himself to the cybernetic initiative proposed by Valenday Technologies, appropriately coined Project Armstrong – go figure. During the initial process of replacing Chai’s limb with the robotic implant, Chai’s portable music player is embedded into his chest, causing him to be labelled a defect by Security. The robots attempt to recall Chai, however his arm suddenly ejects a baton that produces an electro-magnetic field, attracting bits of scrap metal surrounding him to then form a makeshift electronic guitar that he wields as a weapon. While Chai initially is reluctant to be posed a threat, he defends himself using his guitar taking out security to the sound of the beat expelled through the music player, grafted within him.

Chai’s unintended expedition see’s the semi-cyborg saunter through the city’s incredibly dynamic landscape, comprising of linear levels that guide our hero through its complex combat system, that is all tutorialised quite seamlessly. There are some comprehensive beats that our auspicious anti-hero gets mandated with, but are backed by an unlikely associate 808, who is represented by their avatar, a cat head that hovers above Chai like a guardian angel. While the title bodes the standard platforming tropes such as leaping hazards, pits, and obstructions while climbing monolithic structures and stairs, the dextrous manoeuvres executed will be called upon initiating battle with swarms that come in waves. Random encounters are scattered across your adventure, but the crux of the journey is laden with groups of bodacious bots trying to best our boy.

Everything from basic movement, to swings of your guitar is synced to the beat. The base of our tale teaches Chai’s offense at a tempered tempo to begin with. The UI will keep players in-check, with the beat ringing through his body boasted to blast his way through the aforementioned robots. Multiple button combination chains change offensive strikes and how hard they hit. If landing specific cues on screen perfectly, Chai is scored with a letter grade dependent on specific waves he smashes through. Item drops are awarded in the form of Gears, Hi-Fi- Rush’s in-game currency that allows Chai to purchase unlockables such as health upgrades, offensive moves, abilities, buffs and more. There will be imperative purchases needed to progress through the campaign, as each level style will entail its own theme and tempo, ultimately changing the flow and increasing difficulty of your adventure.

Hi-Fi Rush is immediately deemed an essential experience for gamers, lovers of a great hack-and-slash campaign, the rhythm-based connoisseur, or just a button mashing casual that wants to leap into action without cause. Quite possibly, this year's greatest video game thus far.

As important as offense is to any combat title, Hi-Fi Rush’s defensive system is just as gratifying to pull off. Parrying threats from enemies, dodging attacks all while timing it to a specific beat is a lot of fun. The change in tempo with each level’s respective soundtrack makes for a relearning curve that’s unique, fresh and easily adaptive. Executing everything at right tempo will be scored and added to a respective battle’s tally. Special Attacks are charged during battle and are quickly executed without interrupting the flow of combat. There are mini-boss fights that occur within some rumbles, that of course come with its own story event. Boss battles have their own style of offense but is primarily the same in execution, just follow the beat and prompts that aid Chai throughout the encounter.



✔️ An audio-visual astonishment that will leave gamers wanting more.

✔️ Charming, hilarious and choc filled to the brim with delightful personality and character, an all-rounded artistic approach.

✔️ Streamer Mode is a huge plus for content creators, removing licensed music in favour of original compositions that still slap.

❌ Minor Bugs, nothing a patch can’t fix.

An insanely gorgeous design choice bolsters Hi-Fi Rush, contrasting the dull and deadly worlds that are commonly found in Tango Gameworks’ dark and mysterious horrors. The anime aesthetic that’s accompanied with a comic-book/manga like call-to-action flurry, is backed by its cell-shaded lighting that contours our cast of characters and the cityscape surrounding them. It’s unequivocally an artistic statement made prominent through the use of bright and colourful charm, with some flashy affairs that are dramatised in outstanding cinematics and Quicktime events. 

I mean, it’s not the first time we’ve seen a one-armed, cybernetic-grafted protagonist within a cell-shaded society – Rhys Strongfork; Tales from the Borderlands – yet its striking differences being an original universe that sparks encouragement through its enriched environments and direct offense deliver authenticity that are simply worlds apart. Design across the board is astounding, from its futuristic skyline that bustles within a busy downtown business district, that seems embroiled with its own issues while Chai tried to escape detainment, to character designs looking remarkable themselves. The frail nature of our audibly inclined guitar slinger, to the insanely robust and broad line of bosses that you will confront, it’s all very flashy, yet reigning with personality.

Establishing a campaign that primes itself on being an audibly intense conversation-piece needs to be comprised by experience, and Tango have called in the big guns to compose and excellent soundtrack of original overtures. Shuichi Kobori, the former in-house composer at Konami, notorious in his workings for such titles as Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriots, The Evil Within 2 and a plethora of award winning titles co-leads this compilation alongside former Capcom musician Reo Uratani and Tango’s own Masatoshi Yanagi. I praise this trio for creating an impeccable soundtrack that promulgates a user friendly base soundtrack that’s catchy and quite easy to follow and adapt. I commend Tango for their content creator friendly choice of including a ‘streamer mode’ option that removes licensed music from the title in favour of a copyright-free compilation, mainly comprising of the band The Glass Pyramids.

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Licensed music however is confoundingly welcome while playing independently, including notorious tracks from Nine Inch Nails, Number Girl, The Black Keys, Fiona Apple, The Prodigy, The Joy Formidable, Wolfgang Gartner and Zwan. A playlist of the title’s entire soundtrack, including its original compositions are available to listen on Spotify. Speaking of character, charm, personality and audio-visual experience, this all compounded by a cast of heralded voice actors that are renowned for their respective works in the industry. Robbie Daymond (Persona 5 Royal, Omega Strikers) takes the lead as our unlikely hero Chai, alongside Erica Lindbeck (Persona 5 Royal, Fire Emblem Engage) as coincidental confidant 808/Peppermint. Sonic the Hedgehog’s Roger Craig Smith (Crash Bandicoot 4, Sonic Frontiers) heads up the antagonising dictatorship as Kale Vanderlay, along with Misty Lee (God of War: Ragnarok, Ratchet and Clank), Todd Haberkorn (River City Girls 2, Bleach), Dave B Mitchell (Sonic Frontiers, Lost Judgment), and other esteemed notables making quick cameos throughout the campaign.

Hi-Fi Rush is 2023’s undeniable sleeper hit, that has caused a flurry of excitement through the industry with its surprising same-day release and astounding quality of life. An assurance of games that may come out the pipeline without warning, yet deliver on a promise that developers are capable of selling original IP’s without campaigning nor commercialising its product. Style, flair, vibrancy, writing, narrative, core design, gameplay loop, music, and personality leave nothing to be desired for in this astounding feat for Tango Gameworks. The studio have released a Game of the Year worthy experience out of nowhere, and should feel proud. Hi-Fi Rush is immediately deemed an essential experience for gamers, lovers of a great hack-and-slash campaign, the rhythm-based connoisseur, or just a button mashing casual that wants to leap into action without cause. Quite possibly, this year’s greatest video game thus far.

Hi-Fi Rush Review



Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm-based action game developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda Softworks for the Windows and Xbox Series X/S platforms. It was announced and released worldwide on January 25, 2023.




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