The very first boss battle in Hello-Fi Rush pits you in opposition to an enormous robotic that wishes to crush and eat you. So as to defeat this mechanical titan, you have to wail on it with a guitar that is cobbled collectively from scrap metallic, timing every of your assaults to the up-tempo beat of 9 Inch Nails’ “1,000,000.” Developer Tango Gameworks is clearly known for its whimsy, nevertheless it was beforehand confined to a horror style that Hello-Fi Rush most positively doesn’t belong to. As a substitute, Tango’s newest is a surprisingly vibrant Saturday morning cartoon of a sport, capturing the spirit and electrical power of a Dreamcast or GameCube title in one of the best ways doable. It is great in nearly each respect, meshing its toe-tapping fight with real humor and a large serving to of each confidence and magnificence.
At its core, Hello-Fi Rush is an attention-grabbing combine between a character-action sport like Satan Could Cry or Bayonetta and a rhythm sport. Its melee motion will really feel instantly acquainted to anybody who’s effectively versed within the former, as you utilize your Flying V guitar to pummel enemies with combos consisting of each mild and heavy assaults, juggle foes within the air, and dodge out of the best way of incoming hazard. The very best character-action video games are in a position to lure you right into a trance-like state as you step by step develop into more adept at dispatching massive teams of enemies, but Hello-Fi Rush takes it a step additional by baking this rhythmic movement into its very design. You may nonetheless succeed by button-mashing your solution to victory, however timing your assaults to the beat of the sport’s soundtrack permits you to dish out elevated injury and clear areas in a way more environment friendly method. Enemies additionally assault and transfer on the beat, making every battle really feel like an improvised dance the place you are the primary attraction.
So as to assist you discover your rhythm, the entire world of Hello-Fi Rush pulsates with the beat of no matter music is at the moment taking part in, offering you with each visible and audio cues for nailing its timing. Elevators jerk up and down on the beat, laptop lights blink with every snare hit, and the boundaries that lock you inside fight arenas are created from equalizers that undulate together with the music. The sound of mechanical gears, steam pipes, and the thud of your individual footsteps even coalesce with the soundtrack to create a harmonious noise. There are different non-obligatory visible cues you’ll be able to add for additional assistance–like a metronome–but the fundamental timing idea stays the identical all through, even exterior of its slick and satisfying fight.
Hello-Fi Rush can also be refreshingly forgiving in relation to its rhythmic traits. Your timing would not must be persistently excellent all through each battle. Every assault lands on the beat regardless, so it by no means seems like the sport is punishing your fight efficiency for those who mistime a string of assaults. I spent a lot of the sport with round 60% accuracy, but fight was nonetheless an totally enthralling blast. This additionally solves one of many greatest points with rhythm video games. Sometimes, these types of video games are discordant for those who’re off-beat. Both your efficiency negatively impacts the music, otherwise you’re chastised with a vexing out-of-tune clang to sign that you simply’re taking part in poorly. In Hello-Fi Rush, there’s no unfavourable reinforcement to probably discourage you from enhancing, other than a slight hit to your rating. The problem comes from it being an motion sport fairly than from it being a rhythm sport. Your timing must be precise to parry incoming strikes, for example, however that is no completely different from every other melee brawler. You are actively rewarded for being on beat with the excited cheers of a crowd, elevated injury, and a better probability of reaching that coveted S-rank. Hello-Fi Rush is at its greatest once you embrace and play alongside to the pulsing soundtrack, however doing so is not important to your enjoyment.
That is partly as a result of Hello-Fi Rush’s fight can also be impressively diverse. You’ve gotten a plethora of combos at your disposal–both within the air and on the ground–with extra unlocking as you gather the gear items you have to buy them. You may as well name for help from a couple of of the buddies you meet in your adventure–each one named after a unique taste of tea, for some cause. Peppermint, considered one of your gun-toting companions, makes use of a blaster to fireside photographs that may disable enemy shields. The sport’s musicality is omnipresent, too, so she fires in triplets that match the beat. Macaron, however, is important for destroying enemy armor, but will also be utilized to knock again smaller enemies, providing you with time to give attention to harder foes. Talking of which, bigger enemies do not react to your assaults till you are in a position to break their stun gauge, leaving them weak to being stun-locked and juggled. You are able to do this by dealing sufficient injury to crack it, or by parrying their strikes with skilled timing. There is a honest quantity happening, particularly once you issue within the completely different enemy varieties and particular counters required to beat them, but every thing matches into this rhythmic movement and by no means feels overwhelming.
Hello-Fi Rush’s boss battles, specifically, are a spotlight. They’re wildly creative for essentially the most half, with each throwing a novel problem your method. That is often the place the licensed soundtrack comes into play as effectively, elevating these back-and-forth clashes with tracks from the likes of The Black Keys, The Prodigy, and Quantity Lady. The remainder of the sport consists of authentic music that matches the sport’s uptempo, pop-rock theme. There are many catchy toe-tappers, though I do want there have been barely extra licensed songs, simply because bopping alongside and defeating enemies to acquainted beats has such a palpable influence. Even so, it is exhausting to not fall in love with Hello-Fi Rush’s slick aesthetic. The cel-shaded visuals are lovely, with wonderful animation and vibrant colours that pop off the display screen, making it seem like a comic book e-book come to life. It oozes type, and there is a technical proficiency to it as effectively. Not solely does it carry out as easily as butter, however the seamless transitions from gameplay to 2D animation, to blended 3D animation, proper again to gameplay, are phenomenal–and it does all of this with out ever lacking a beat of the soundtrack.
There is a goofy spirit and earnestness that emanates from each a part of Hello-Fi Rush, and this playfulness prevents the dialogue from ever feeling too cringey. The type of writing might’ve been nauseating within the flawed arms, however Tango manages to make you fall in love with its ragtag solid of characters, together with its rogue’s gallery of bosses. Protagonist Chai could be an overconfident fool, however he is surprisingly endearing, and the sport is genuinely humorous with out having to resort to any irritating snark. The story is pretty simple as you attempt to put a cease to an evil megacorporation, however there are some enjoyable twists and turns alongside the best way, too.
The one time Hello-Fi Rush falters is within the moments between its kinetic fight. The sport’s platforming is usually nice, with loads of areas off the overwhelmed path so that you can discover and discover collectibles and foreign money. Chai’s leaping is a tad floaty and imprecise, however checkpoints are extremely lenient, so that is by no means actually a problem. The issue is that these sections can drag on for much too lengthy at instances. When the fight is pretty much as good as it’s, you simply need to get again to it, however there are lengthy stretches with nothing however traversal. To compound this concern, the sport’s environments are aesthetically samey at numerous factors, too, with an overabundance of similar-looking labs and factories. This is not a deadly flaw, however among the different areas look unbelievable, so it is a disgrace the identical creativity is not utilized throughout all of its phases.
Regardless of these missteps, Hello-Fi Rush is an amazing sport that is equal elements explosive, joyous, and dripping with type. It feeds on the facility of nostalgia by evoking video games like Jet Set Radio and Viewtiful Joe with its old-school vibes and contagious power, nevertheless it’s additionally utterly recent and thrilling in its personal proper. For as a lot as I am keen on horror video games and have loved Tango’s earlier output with The Evil Inside collection and Ghostwire: Tokyo, it is refreshing that the studio hasn’t been pigeonholed into creating video games inside a singular style, and may out of the blue emerge sooner or later with an infectious rhythm-action sport that’s positive to dwell lengthy within the reminiscence.