Tango Gameworks, developer of The Evil Within and Ghostwire: Tokyo, along with publisher Bethesda just stealth released their latest game called Hi-Fi RUSH.
It’s an awesome looking rhythm adventure with a bit of Jet Set Radio styling. You join with the protagonist Chai having a music player in their chest and a makeshift junk guitar you swing around at enemies with the music. Here you’re fighting against an evil tech megacorp and the characters, world and combat all flow along with the music and it has some great cartoony cutscenes too. It even sprinkles in plenty of comedy, and there’s been a good few laugh out loud moments from me.
At release it was rated as Steam Deck Playable by Valve. Playable, not Verified, due to it apparently having text that can at times be too small. It does otherwise work great out of the box though, clearly this had some testing before release by either Valve or the developer / publisher directly. Have a look in the video below:
Since this is a rhythm game, you do need to pay attention to the music. I’ll admit I actually find rhythm games genuinely difficult because I just don’t have any rhythm for it but it’s fun to try and the music fits it perfectly. Here though, they clearly thought of people like me too, as you can tap a button at any time to bring up a rhythm bar to help you time your attacks correctly.
As you go through the game collecting scrap, you eventually get to use it at your hideout with a new friend who helps you with upgrades to attacks to give you new combos, special attacks, items and permanent upgrades. So it only gets more epic as you go through.
While it has some fantastic music, something I of course appreciate is that it has a streamer mode, so for videos and livestreaming, it will replace some tunes from popular artists that would get you a copyright hit with original tunes made just for the game. It’s nice to see some developers care.
- Chai Versus the World - Labeled ‘defective’ after a shady corporate experiment mistakenly fuses a music player to his heart, Chai must now fight for his freedom in a slick animated world where everything – platforming puzzles, enemy attacks and even the colorful gags & banter - are synced to the beat.
- Open Up the Mosh Pit! - Take on armies of corporate drones (read: actual robots) in satisfying, rhythm-amplified combat. Time your moves to pull off flashy Beat Hits, hard-hitting special abilities and even combination attacks with your allies! Want to show off? Go further and tap into the beat to amp up your skills and earn those covetous S-rank scores.
- Rowdy Rebels Vs. Badass Bosses - Lead a squad of colorful teammates and take the fight to the heart of an, er, heartless corporation. Square off with each department’s boss, from Production to Marketing to Finance, each more ready to protect the company’s bottom line than the last in over-the-top battle sequences accompanied by their own music tracks!
- Grab Your Headphones - Tap your toes to a killer mixtape of original music, as well as songs by Nine Inch Nails, The Prodigy, The Joy Formidable and more! Want to show off your skills to a live streaming audience? Fret not: Hi-Fi RUSH includes a streamer-friendly alternate audio mode to keep you from broadcasting copyrighted music.
Out of the box on Medium settings performance hasn’t been a problem at all on Steam Deck. Some momentarily blips here and there, but for the most part it’s been impressively smooth to the point that I haven’t felt like I needed to change any settings and that’s just fantastic. Exactly the kind of experience I want to see more of on the Steam Deck when it comes to performance.
Hi-Fi Rush not only has a great artistic style to it but it makes interesting use of different perspectives too. It has a fully 3D environment you run through, but at times it will also pull the camera back to be side-on like a classic platform and some of the bigger battles give you a special area to run around with multiple stages to fight through. There’s a lot to enjoy about this one.
While this is only an early impression because it just came out of nowhere, I’m seriously impressed and enjoying the heck out of it. The only downside so far, is that it comes with Denuvo Anti-tamper.
You can buy it on Steam.