Shock drops for video video games are nothing new, however probably not within the triple-An area. Hype and evaluation gas that arm of the sport business in a relentless self-sustaining cycle, much more so for titles from a console maker’s first-party studio.
So when Microsoft used its current Developer Showcase to announce Tango Gameworks’ Hello-Fi Rush after which launch it on the identical day, calling it a shock can be an understatement. Microsoft’s recreation output has been notoriously hit-and-miss, and apart from some leaked concept art from months in the past, there wasn’t any indication that the sport even existed.
However the recreation isn’t simply right here, it’s fairly nice, and that’s stunning to contemplate for a lot of causes.
Tango adjustments its tune
Tango is finest recognized for horror adventures reminiscent of The Evil Inside franchise and 2022’s Ghostwire Tokyo. These aforementioned video games drew affect respectively from director Shinji Mikami’s Resident Evil tenure and Japanese folklore. Builders typically change genres, however Hello-Fi Rush is as removed from Tango’s pedigree as you can get. At first look, its cel-shaded artwork model would make you assume you’re watching a Cartoon Community present from the late 2000s or early 2010s. Always, it’s loud and boisterous in a great way; the sport opens with lead character Chai jamming out to The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” as a robotic desk employee seems to be at him in irritation. In cutscenes, occasions are timed to hit with the beat, and the surroundings does the identical factor when you actively play: platforms rise in a musical order or transfer in time with the music, and Chai even snaps his fingers whereas standing idly.
Comparisons between this recreation and Insomniac Video games’ underrated 2014 shooter Sundown Overdrive (or Sega’s 2000 platformer Jet Set Radio) are inevitable. With a concentrate on rhythm and magnificence, Hello-Fi Rush is the most-PlayStation 2-ass recreation the Xbox has ever put out. It feels just like the offspring of Satan Might Cry and Guitar Hero; the previous is to be anticipated since Mikami was an government producer on the primary Satan Might Cry and fellow character motion recreation Viewtiful Joe, as he’s right here. You’ll be able to see how Dante and Nero have influenced Chai, who rocks a prosthetic arm and an electrical guitar as his melee weapon. His prosthetic doesn’t have a operate that lets him cease time (a minimum of, not so far as I’ve seen), however you wouldn’t be incorrect in calling the child Nero for the millennial technology.
Hello-Fi Rush consistently has its soundtrack rocking due to Chai’s MP3 participant (implanted, naturally the place his coronary heart was). It rewards gamers for hitting enemies or dodging assaults on the beat. The music working within the background will get you to faucet your toes, and it may really feel nice to listen to the guitar are available in when assaults match the beat. Admittedly, this isn’t something new—2022’s Metallic Hellsinger and Soundfall each had comparable mechanics, even right down to an on-screen metronome that helps hold you on the two and 4. However it actually comes alive in Hello-Fi, and it makes you surprise why this isn’t extra frequent within the character motion style.
Hello-Fi Rush comes on the proper time for Xbox
After Microsoft laid off hundreds of staff and confronted criticism of the way it’s managed 343 Industries, there’s been the query of Xbox’s place within the video games house. In comparison with Sony and Nintendo, each of whom have a dependable launch schedule, Microsoft is on significantly shakier floor, which clashes with its need to grab up different studios. Past that, the thought of what an Xbox recreation really is is up for debate; the console would not have an id of status like Sony, nor does it have the everlasting gas of nostalgia that Nintendo does.
Hello-Fi Rush would not hit these considerations, but it surely does handle to offer Xbox a win that it is desperately wanted for a while. Because of a shock same-day launch, it managed to keep away from getting caught up in any narrative that might’ve scuttled its potential to entice gamers, as we’ve seen with Halo Infinite or this week’s fellow huge launch, Forspoken. Within the triple-An area, the worst factor for a recreation to have is baggage hooked up to it, and sadly for Microsoft, practically all of its huge video games like Redfall or Starfield received’t be capable of keep away from that.
Then again, Tango principally confirmed up with Hello-Fi Rush beneath its garments and caught everybody’s consideration. In only a few minutes, the studio managed to offer just a little slice of the sport earlier than stepping again and letting audiences see what it’s all about. And if the sport’s Steam reviews and sales are any indication, gamers are taking a shine to it.
Outdoors of its presentation, it is a enjoyable recreation with a cool gimmick that manages to really feel like a throwback, which is way from unwelcome proper now. Having a cute robotic cat would not damage issues, both.