OnMSFT roundtable impressions: Hi-Fi Rush

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A surprise reveal during last week’s Xbox & Bethesda Developer_Direct, Hi-Fi Rush arguably stole the show when it was announced that the game would release following the showcase event—and on Xbox Game Pass, no less. The style-infused rhythm-action game has since taken the gaming world by storm, with more than a few calling it an early contender for 2023’s game of the year. You can see the trailer from the Developer_Direct below.

And now we at OnMSFT deliver our impressions on this surprise Xbox hit.

Kareem Anderson

We’ll start with fellow writer here at OnMSFT Kareem Anderson, who had this to say of Hi-Fi Rush:

I thought it was fun. I loved the art style and the over-the-top story it’s building to.

I didn’t play through the whole thing, but I got in about two hours worth. It’s refreshing to play something other than 100 hr RPG or first person shooter. If I had to put money towards the game, I’d say 35-40 would have been a decent amount for it, but I’m glad it’s on game pass.

I didn’t play with that weird beat tracker on, and I suppose that helped my anxiety with matching the beat. I know some people did and complained about the game. I would recommend that during a first play through to play without it, because it’s still a button smash game at its core but to get those cool combos and animations I could see someone wanting to play with that beat matcher on it.

Hi-Fi Rush screenshot

The other cool thing is how the artwork helps ease the transitions between cut scenes and actual game play.

Also enjoyed the random platforming that appears every now and then. Nice change up.

David Allen

Agreed, I got to say, I didn’t get the time I wanted with the game over the week but I enjoyed it, just pure fun, no K/D ratios to worry with, no yelling in the microphone, I’d buy it if not on Game Pass, it’s pure fun, I have a younger nephew that once taught, jumped right in.

Robert Collins

At this point I’ve completed “Track 4,” so I am nearly halfway through the game. There’s a lot to like about Hi-Fi Rush. I love the game’s crisp cel-shaded visuals. It’s right up there with the best animated TV shows. I also like the story and characters, especially the back and forth between Chai and Peppermint. Their dialogue is definitely worth a few chuckles, and the occasional tension between them is what really drives much of the story so far.

The plot revolves around an evil corporation that is apparently up to something shady with its AI research, specifically using it as a gateway to mind control. It seems like pretty typical stuff as in what you’d find in an anime show geared toward older kids. And I guess that’s probably appropriate for the game.

In terms of the gameplay, honestly I had a little trouble getting into the swing of things in the beginning. I should say that with the caveat that rhythm games are most definitely not my forte. In fact, I downright stink at them, and this game was no exception. For the “rhythmically challenged” like myself, the game can be a tad frustrating, especially in the beginning. I eventually discovered you could just mash buttons in the combat segments and get by. But the game has all kinds of environmental obstacles that you’ll need to contend with via button pressing sequences that are, of course, synced to the beat of the game, and mastering them can be a trail and error process.

Hi-Fi Rush screenshot

I also found the tutorials to be exhausting. The tutorials are never too long in themselves, but they seem to be never-ending. It’s great that the game is constantly introducing new gameplay mechanics to mix things up, and that it takes time to explain them, but less patient gamers may get annoyed with the constant tutorials in this game, even nearing the halfway mark.

It’s nice that the game is always mixing things up between fighting and platforming bits, as well as the occasional puzzle and scripted events like obstacle-strewn rail rides. The game never does one thing long enough for it grow tiring. All in all I’ve enjoyed Hi-Fi Rush so far…to a degree. But not so much as to put it on my Game of the Year list.

And now we turn it over to you

Now that we’ve shared our impressions of Hi-Fi Rush, we want to know what you think of the game. Have you had a chance to try it out for yourself? If so, what are your impressions? Do you think it’s game of the year material? Share your thoughts down in the comments below.

Featured image via Forbes. 

Special thanks to Kareem Anderson and David Allen for contributing their feedback.