Hi-Fi Rush – A Music Game Passed to Us With a Great Sense of Rhythm

REVIEW – Hi-Fi Rush is a unique action game that combines music and combat with a rhythm-based system. The game features well-developed characters, memorable scenes and a world designed with passion and attention to detail. While rhythm-based combat may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the game still offers plenty of content to enjoy at a leisurely pace.



In the highly competitive world of video games, Hi-Fi Rush stands out from the crowd. It’s a game that came out of nowhere, with little fanfare or fanfare, yet it quickly became popular with gamers. The secret to its success lies in the talent and dedication of the development team at Tango Gameworks, led by John Johanas, director of The Evil Within 2. The team took a big risk with Hi-Fi Rush, but the risk has paid off and the game is already a big hit with Game Pass owners.


A The Evil Within fejlesztője, a Tango Gameworks meglepetésszerűen leleplezte új játékát, a Hi-Fi Rush-t, és rögtön el is indította azt az Xbox Game Passon.


It was immediately „passed” to us for Xbox


What sets Hi-Fi Rush apart from other games is its unusual approach. The game was made available on Xbox Game Pass, bypassing the typical months-long hype and marketing campaigns. This approach allowed the game to ‘speak for itself’ and capture the attention of gamers.

Inspired by Edgar Wright’s “kinetic comic action films”, Hi-Fi Rush is lively and acrobatic, with an emphasis on narrative scenes, shots and camera movements. The game can be compared to the stylish action games of the early 2000s that Shinji Mikami created in Devil May Cry. Players have to fight with great reflexes and dexterity, keeping an eye on combos, always prepared for new enemies that constantly fill the battlefield. When not fighting, players can collect various items, explore colourful levels and enjoy witty exchanges between characters.



Unique, stylish action game


Hi-Fi Rush, inspired by Shinji Mikami, has the potential to join the ranks of the most popular “stylish action games”. The game’s director, Johanas, said the project was born with specific visual and stylistic references to Edgar Wright’s “kinetic comic action films” such as Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. This inspiration is evident in the dynamic and acrobatic style of the game, as well as in the rich detail of the narrative scenes and camera movements.

As one of the first bosses of Hi-Fi Rush, Rekka wants to win the player’s love right away. The essence of the game can be likened to what Mikami himself defined as “stylish action games”, with an emphasis on defeating opponents and managing combos. When not fighting, the player can explore the world and collect items while enjoying the colourful landscapes and comical interactions between characters.

In terms of character design, Hi-Fi Rush sets a high bar for others to follow. The technical care and attention to detail in the narrative sequences is impressive, and the excellent animations only add to the charm of the game, full of references to the world of comics and manga.



Feel the rhythm!


From the very first moment, Hi-Fi Rush is confident in its musical knowledge. With graphics reminiscent of the MTV era of the early 90s, the game kicks off with the Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy”. The game’s rhythm is a defining feature, with music driving the experience from start to finish.

The most important feature of Hi-Fi Rush is the rhythm-based combat system, where players must use their ears to keep up with the beat. Hitting the right notes by pressing the attack and heavy attack buttons in time results in high scores and maximum damage. The game’s soundtrack is intertwined with elements of the world, from the synchronised footsteps of protagonist Chai to the movement of platforms and gadgets, all in perfect rhythm.

However, the rhythm can be a challenge to keep up with during the fights. To help players, Tango Gameworks has incorporated various cues such as the pulsing of the Cat 808, equipment items and a rhythm indicator at the bottom of the screen. Despite these efforts, I found it difficult to connect to the rhythm of the songs, as it was hard to resist the urge to frantically press buttons during battles. In addition, some of the music didn’t always fit the game’s purpose.



Sometimes it’s hard to keep up


At times, the internal team soundtrack drowns the rhythm section in a sea of noise, in addition to the rare licensed tracks, making it a challenge to keep up. The length of the two beat animations, normal and heavy, doesn’t help either, as the normal beat animation cycle is longer than the expected keyboard beat. This can lead to frustration when trying to keep up the rhythm, especially when there are five or six different enemies on screen, each with unique attack times and methods.

I found the music-based combat system to be the weakest part of Hi-Fi Rush, despite the fact that it could be a big hit with those with a better sense of rhythm. The experience can be affected by various factors, including our perception and limitations. I tried adjusting my settings, switching from receiver to wireless and then to wired headphones to see if it improved. However, I found that the results were pretty much the same regardless of how I played.

Despite the challenge, Tango Gameworks demonstrated its experience and wisdom by recognizing the situation and finding a compromise. Players who find it difficult to keep up will receive lower scores, but with the tools and resources available they can still progress and face challenges, at least on the normal difficulty level. This decision saves the game from being confined to a narrow niche market and allows it to be enjoyed by a wider audience.



The Nine Inch Nails parts will get your adrenaline pumping!


Although the licensed song selection is limited to eight, they add up to some of the most exciting and visually stunning moments of gameplay I’ve ever encountered. I say this as a music lover and fan who was delighted to see the game start with The Black Keys and continue with my all-time favourite, Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor’s band provides the song “1,000,000” for the first boss battle and it works brilliantly. Later, Nine Inch Nails return with a stunning performance of “The Perfect Drug”. In between the two, The Joy Formidable and Number Girl follow with “Whirring” and “Inazawa Chainsaw”, which didn’t impress me as much, perhaps due to the unfamiliarity of the bands. The Prodigy’s “Invaders Must Die” provides the most intense moment, while the closing chord is accompanied by Zwan’s forgotten gem “Honestly”.

Hi-Fi Rush also excels in song selection, providing an unbeatable soundtrack that is beautiful, powerful, immersive, entertaining, epic and sometimes even surprising. This strong musical presence makes it easy to overlook and forgive the game’s earlier shortcomings.



If you like stylish, musical games, then this is a must!


Hi-Fi Rush is a stunning game that has almost everything – heart, innovative ideas, distinctive style, intelligence and courage. It’s emerged as one of the most unlikely yet loveable games in the Xbox line-up, especially as it’s the first exclusive for Microsoft’s X/S series. The game is packed with character and a strong sense of achievement, allowing you to overcome some shortcomings in the rhythmic battles. The game’s wise attitude to player inclusion is what sets it apart from the rest, and its inclusion in the Game Pass offer (and its discounted price of just €29) makes it a must-have for fans of action, fighting, crazy or music games. Don’t miss this opportunity!



+ A well-designed world with great passion and attention to detail
+ Memorable and well-animated characters
+ Aesthetically pleasing, with references to comics and manga, well-designed shading and black outlines


– The rhythm-based combat system is not always convincing
– Progression is a bit too simple and boring
– According to some, collectibles can be a bit uninteresting

Publisher: Microsoft

Developer: Tango Gameworks

Style: Musical action game

Release: January 25, 2023.

Hi-Fi Rush

Gameplay - 8.6
Graphics - 9.2
Story - 8.4
Music/Audio - 10
Ambience - 9.4



"Hi-Fi Rush is an outstanding game with heart-pounding beats and immersive gameplay. With a compelling cast, unique style, sumptuous moments and a meaningful gameplay experience, it truly stands out among today's action games."

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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