Time is ever-flowing, but it surely’s additionally undoubtedly a flat circle. Tendencies come and go, and loop again round, and right here we’re – it’s the yr of our lord 2023, and a time portal has simply opened above our heads and dropped a Dreamcast traditional into our laps. Or a GameCube traditional, to be honest – it feels prefer it’d be most at house on both of these. The purpose is, the most recent first-party addition to Xbox Recreation Cross feels prefer it’s time traveled from circa 1998-2003. And I imply that in the absolute best means.

Now that is the way you do a trailer.

A brand new off-beat motion sport from Tango Gameworks, the Bethesda studio that up till this level has been all about survival horror. The studio was based by Shinji Mikami, the person most frequently credited as probably the most influential particular person within the creation of the Resident Evil collection – and up to now, the studio’s works have matched as much as that. However this sport, on which Mikami is the producer behind director John Johanas of The Evil Inside 2 fame, demonstrates that he – and Tango – can achieve this rather more.

Colourful, slick, and with a stunning aesthetic and bright-eyed angle, Hello-Fi Rush remembers a number of my favourite video games of that period, the place the spirit of approachable and accessible arcade video games merged with the primary console {hardware} that was actually on par or extra highly effective than what was accessible in arcades. Once I speak about this period, I’m speaking about stuff like Loopy Taxi, and Jet Set Radio, and Viewtiful Joe – the latter of which was truly produced by Mikami. That’s the vitality on show right here.

Take a look at these colors pop.

In actual phrases, Hello-Fi Rush is an fascinating type of combine between a personality motion sport like a Satan Might Cry (one other Mikami-produced joint) and a rhythm sport. Your complete world pulsates with the BPM of no matter music is presently enjoying, and though you may simply button mash your means by issues, the way in which to deal extra harm and deal with enemies effectively is to take action with timing, permitting your hits and combos to instantly line as much as the pulsing music.

It’s simply good-ass online game motion. You’re slapping individuals about with a guitar that’s made from scrap steel. You could have a robotic arm. And since every part is tied to the music, there’s a toe-tapping poison that slowly seeps into your very pores.

By the point you attain the sport’s first correct boss encounter, which takes place to a licensed 9 Inch Nails monitor, you’ll really feel your self slowly slipping right into a goblin mode stance most acquainted to drummers and DJs – I can converse from expertise on the previous – right into a slight slouch, Gollum hunched, however shoulders rocking and popping because the rhythm takes you. The world round you seeps away.

The sport oozes fashion.

The perfect character motion video games and intense arcadey video video games at all times have this type of high quality, to be honest. I can slip into the same trance enjoying Loopy Taxi, or Ikaruga. You don’t want the music to line up on this means – however god, it helps. I believe Hello-Fi Rush is sweet sufficient to get there by itself – however the music lets it take your soul in document time. It’s a genius little bit of design that elevates what’s principally a enjoyable and fairly accessible motion brawler into one thing else solely.

What additionally elevates the expertise is the way it appears to be like. Stunning animation, popping colours, and cutscenes that actually gave me a short pause for considered ‘is that this real-time, or pre-recorded’? There’s fashion right here. It is a new-generation solely sport, accessible on Xbox Sequence X/S and PC, but it surely justifies that not with lashings of superfluous element however simply with a way of uncooked, crisp fashion – and in working silky easy.

Should you’re not too comfy with rhythm video games, there’s loads of serving to fingers, from completely pulsating UI and in-universe parts that can assist you maintain to the beat to extra non-obligatory interface items that make every part much more specific. Should you actually wrestle, nevertheless, the sport is playable sufficient hammering by it – but it surely feels at its greatest while you embrace and match the music.

I simply love what that is. It is a online game with a fucking capital V. It has zero pretentions, and no actual aspirations to be thought-about excessive artwork. It’s only a wholesome-ass online game that sucks you in and makes time soften away. Nostalgia is a hell of a drug, however this isn’t nearly being old-school and tickling this thirty-something’s recollections. What makes this work is that it’s new, recent, and thrilling, too, whereas undoubtedly referential and reverential to some traditional video games from the period I’ve evoked all through this text.

As soon as it will get its hooks in you, it will not let go.

It’s the type of sport that usually may wrestle to search out an viewers – not a sensible visible showcase, not severe sufficient, not sufficient unhappy dads frowning and sighing, not sufficient multiplayer hooks to maintain you trapped endlessly. Launched on Xbox One, I might see the place this is able to’ve gone: a cult hit, favored, however a gross sales bomb. There was the same type of vitality to Insomniac’s Sundown Overdrive, in truth. Although that wasn’t practically pretty much as good a sport as this, it deserved an even bigger viewers, however by no means discovered it.

However hopefully, on Xbox Recreation Cross, this could be a enormous hit – as I actually suppose in case you play the primary stage of this and don’t need to proceed, it’s a must to be an absolute fallacious’un. And simply suppose; we didn’t even (formally) know this existed yesterday. That is the magic of digital distribution and subscription companies, much more so than enjoying Starfield ‘without cost’ on day one.

I’ve not completed Hello-Fi Rush but. In truth, I think about I’ve received a methods to go. However already, early on, I do know that it is among the greatest video games of 2023. I really feel massively refreshed and invigorated by it – which is precisely the type of escapism video games ought to attempt to be.


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