Published on March 19th, 2024 | by Gareth Newnham

Hi-Fi Rush (PS5) Review

Hi-Fi Rush (PS5) Review Gareth Newnham

Summary: One of the most triumphant Xbox games of 2023 is now one of the most Excellent PS5 games of 2024. Party On!



Hi-fi Rush is, without a doubt, one of the best games of last year. Tangosoftworks shadowdropped Xbox exclusive, came out of absolutely nowhere, and blew me away in every conceivable way.

A technically proficient, rhythm-action brawler with a beautifully realised world, endearing characters, and more charm than a beloved Saturday morning cartoon, this cel-shaded rock ‘n’ roll romp quickly became one of my picks for game of the year.



But one thing that played on my mind while I was slicing my way through the robot hordes was that I wish I was playing this with a Dual Sense.

I’m not knocking the latest Xbox pad—it’s a workhorse I love just as much. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that  Hi-Fi Rush was designed with the kind of haptic feedback the Dual Sense provides.

But now, just over a year later, and some bombshell announcements of arguably Microsoft’s best games from last year (including the sublime Pentiment) going multiplatform. I’ve got my wish, and although the haptic feedback doesn’t now include the pad-pulsing click track I was hoping for, it’s still great to see this hard-rocking action game available to a wider audience.

In Hi-fi Rush, you play as Chai, a wannabe rockstar who signs up to get a ‘cool robot arm’ as part of Project Armstrong from the shady tech corporation Vandalay. After his totally-not-an-iPod-Nano ends up fused to his chest during the procedure. Chai is branded a defect and is forced to go on the run from Vandalay’s army of wise-cracking security robots who want to turn him into scrap.

Luckily, Chai’s new accidental heart implant gives him the power to put the beat down on these corporate drones, as his litter picker is transformed into a cool axe made out of scrap, you know, the musical kind. Armed with the deadliest Flying V known to man, Chai beats the bots to the beat. The secret of successfully turning everything that dares get in your way into scrap is to keep your in time with the rhythm of the world around you, everything from steam pipes to sword-wielding security bots bounce to the beat, and keeping your beatings in time with the beat is the key to victory.

The combat is best described as Devil May Cry by way of Bit Trip Runner, and it is as satisfying as it sounds, as you pull off well-timed combos to the beat and string huge combos together while keeping in time. Once you literally find the rhythm, it feels absolutely fantastic, and trying to get up to an S rank becomes an almost addictive pursuit.

Soon, Chai is accompanied by Peppermint, a mysterious hacker who has a bone to pick with Vandalay and believes that the corporation’s generosity may have a far more sinister side. Together with some disgruntled employees, the ragtag gang of freedom fighters sets out to stop Vandalay’s corporate malfeasance one board member at a time.

In-game, this allows Chai to beam in his buddies to help him clear obstacles, shoot switches, and break down barriers. While in combat, they can be used to lower shields, zone enemies, and help extend your combos even further as you face Hi-Rush’s ever-expanding roster of robots ready to wreck Chai’s day.

Strewn throughout each beautifully realised department are thousands of collectible gears, health-extending pocket watches, new valves to extend your special meter, and chips used to make picks you can equip that modify your stats. Numerous hidden challenges are also found off the beaten path, encouraging you to explore every nook and cranny and even return to areas later once you’ve gained some new powers.

Gears can be used to buy new combos, special moves, and chips, as well as to extend your health and special meters. In other words, it’s in your best interests to smash and grab everything that isn’t nailed down.

Accompanying the action is an absolutely superb soundtrack that mixes a rocky score of Tango Softworks’ own devising with certain sections punctuated by licensed tracks that fit the action perfectly. Highlights include bouncing along to The Joy Forminable’s Whirring, fighting a colossal QA Robot to the pounding industrial noise of Nine Inch Nails 1,000,000, and a brawl in the staff canteen punctuated by the Prodigies Invaders Must Die.

The voice cast is also absolutely spot on, with every last member of the game’s cast, from the Chai to the lowest grumbling bot, putting in an absolutely phenomenal performance.

The presentation is also absolutely flawless. Hi-FI Rush feels like a comic book that leaps straight off the page. There were times when the game transitioned from a cut scene to gameplay, and it took me a couple of moments to realise I was in control because I couldn’t tell the difference.

The world of HI-Fi Rush is bright, beautiful, and incredibly colourful; every character feels like they have a purpose and is placed perfectly within the sprawling factory complex you explore, while the boss battles are absolutely spot on. Beautiful ballets against maniacal masters of their departments that tie up the end of each level while acting like the perfect test for all the skills you’ve picked up along the way.

Final Thoughts

If you missed out on Hi-Fi Rush last year, you have absolutely no excuse now (especially at the price). What was one of the Xbox Series X’s best exclusives is now one of the best games on any platform. Thanks to the wonders of Dual Sense, I would say the PS5 is probably the best place to play it.

Hi-Fi Rush remains an absolute feast for the senses, a heady mix of unique and addictive brawling, beautiful presentation, an incredible soundtrack, and a cast of well-drawn characters in every sense of the word that demands to be in any action fan’s collection.

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