Hi-Fi Rush tech review: a visual treat indebted to comics and TV cartoons

February 3, 2023
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Hi-Fi Rush is superb. Announced at Microsoft’s Developer_Direct showcase last week and released immediately thereafter, the game is a wildly creative effort from developer Tango Gameworks. There are elements of action, platformer, rhythm and side-scroller games, all held together by an incredible sense of style and bold visual choices.

This is a wild, courageous game that succeeds on just about every level – and it’s an eye-popping visual treat as well. It’s also the first major first-party Microsoft title in over a year, ending a prolonged drought for exclusive Xbox software. Today, we’ll be taking a look at Hi-Fi Rush’s daring flair and beat-matching brawling action, and try to get a sense of what makes this game tick.

Let’s explain how the game works, before we get into the technical nuance. It’s really a thrill ride from the get-go, a snappy character action game where you dodge, attack, parry, jump, grapple, and unleash a host of special abilities, all actions beautifully animated and super responsive. On a basic level, it’s not so different from something like Devil May Cry, but the key is that most in-game actions work better when timed to match the background beat. For example, attacks get a bonus when they’re done to the beat, which is conveyed through the idle animations, game environment and UI as well as the music. Similarly, enemies moves correspond to musical moments, helping you anticipate their actions. The system never feels overwhelming and quickly becomes natural.

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