Hi-Fi Rush Review (PS5) | Push Square


Hi-Fi Rush was easily one of the surprise hits of 2023, which just so happened to be one of the best years for game releases collectively. Despite not having the immediate chance to experience the latest creation by Tango Gameworks due to Xbox exclusivity, Microsoft’s recent announcement of PS5 support has finally enabled us to dive into this excellent rhythm-focused action game. And by no surprise, it’s just as enthralling as it ever was, and an essential title for those looking for a hyper-stylish experience.

The game focuses on a wannabe rockstar by the name of Chai, a young man with a non-functional right arm who arrives at the Vandelay Industries campus to join a scheme to replace his arm with a robotic prototype. Inadvertently, a music player finds its way into Chai’s surgical procedure machine, embedding itself into his chest, resulting in him sharing a musical relationship with the world around him. This mishap then causes him to be branded a defect, resulting in a fun narrative focused on his attempts to evade his pursuers and put a stop to some corporate shenanigans.

The overarching plot of Hi-Fi Rush is enhanced by some truly spectacular writing. This is mostly evidenced through the game’s dialogue, which is often fourth-wall-breaking, full of comedic one-liners, and occasionally thought-provoking when it decides to provide a layer of commentary regarding the entire concept of video games. Chai’s role as the game’s protagonist further exemplifies the strength of Hi-Fi Rush’s writing, as he’s both a charming and amusing character. The supporting cast is also similar in this regard, with some excellent voice performances across the board.

Chai’s musical connection to the world is the framework for the game’s mechanics, being entirely centred around attacking enemies to the beat of the music. Although this may seem overwhelming for those unfamiliar with rhythm games, Tango Gameworks has taken lengths to make sure mechanics are introduced at a nice pace, meaning you never feel like you’re being thrown into the deep end. At the end of a combat segment, you are graded based on your performance and ability to perfectly time attacks to the beat. This is subsequently exchanged into a points system, which then calculates your overall score for the stage upon completion.

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Despite this, sometimes inputs don’t seem to register as intended, especially during stages that have unpredictable rhythmic patterns. This for the most part, is a minor inconvenience at best, though it can easily become frustrating when tons of enemies are thrown at you in quick succession. Nevertheless, there are remedies to this issue, with an option to view the timing of the beat with a simple press of the Dualsense touchpad button. This makes the musical compositions on harder stages easier to read, as you have a direct reference for when you should be pressing a button.

Speaking of stages, Hi-Fi Rush boasts twelve unique levels, each with their own aesthetic, combat scenarios, and of course, musical tracks. The earlier stages have an emphasis on introducing you to basic gameplay mechanics such as attacking on beat, but as you progress through the game, you learn about dodging, parrying, and other useful tools to help you take full advantage of the music-focused combat system.

The combat itself is versatile, too. Your options, like previously mentioned, are expanded when you start to learn more about Chai’s move set, but there’s a lot more you can work with. Hi-Fi Rush features a bespoke upgrade system in the form of an upgrade shop run by Peppermint, one of the supporting characters. This allows you to spend gears obtained in stages to purchase new attack combos, special moves, and assign passive abilities using chips. The shop is in different locations during stages, and in the hideout between missions, a hub-like area that also allows you to pet the game’s robotic cat named 808 – how adorable!

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Equally important to the overall gameplay experience is Hi-Fi Rush’s presentation, which is full of glamour, and we’d consider it to be one of the most visually impressive games we’ve ever played. The cel-shaded art style, combined with the music-focused environmental design, results in a game that can present itself flawlessly in a hyper-stylish manner. Everything in a stage, whether that’s an object, decoration, or enemy – will move or behave in conjunction with the beat. Moreover, you can use your surroundings as another way to detect whether you’re timing inputs correctly.

Unsurprisingly, a game with such a strong presence of music results in a truly excellent soundtrack. The music of Hi-Fi Rush is varied throughout its roughly 12-hour runtime, containing an assortment of both original and licensed music. Each stage utilises music differently, constantly switching up the tempo when reaching certain checkpoints, or when encountering one of the game’s many boss fights.

The bosses in Hi-Fi Rush are incredibly engaging, too, offering an extra layer of challenge compared to the main stages. They are usually thrown in towards the end of a level, forcing you to use your knowledge of the core gameplay mechanics to achieve victory. Unlike normal combat scenarios, the bosses will usually invoke some sort of gimmick within the fight, ensuring that they stand apart from the normal enemies you’ve seen countless times before.


Hi-Fi Rush is a gorgeous rhythm-action game with a strong cast of characters, addictive gameplay, and an incredible musical score. The game has a ton of replayability with the way it’s structured, allowing you to improve your timings to perform better in the game’s rhythmic combat. This is an essential title for PS5 owners, and we’re glad Xbox has allowed us to finally experience it.

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