Do you have two left feet? Are you the family member no one wants to see on the dance floor during a wedding? Have you or a loved one been subject to a serious injury because you were trying to find the beat? If any of the above describes you, you might be rhythmically challenged and not have the best time playing rhythm games. Because of this, you might be looking at Tango Gameworks’ recent shadow-dropped (and hyped) rhythm/action game Hi-Fi Rush and wondering if it’s for you? Thankfully, the game is still pretty accommodating for those who have trouble clapping on two and four. Here’s a few tips for how to get the most out of the game for those who have no rhythm.
Hi-Fi Rush has options that let you add a rhythm visualizer to the screen at all times. This can take two forms: a bar that shows the beat on a track, with each button press timed to a center point as notes pass over it. Or if you want something that will be moving alongside main character Chai as you’re swinging your guitar-shaped axe around, 808, the robotic cat companion that follows you around each level, can also be made to visualize the beat of the music as you fight.
Both Rhythm Visualization options can be turned on through Hi-Fi Rush’s Accessibility menu. Pause the game and tab over to the tab on the far right, then scroll down until you see the Gameplay section and you’ll see Rhythm Visualization (808). Here, you’ll be able to choose between one of three pulses for 808 to let out on the beat of the music. Choose whichever you think would be easiest to parse during fights, and 808 will do the counting for you.
Even beyond the features you can turn on and off, Hi-Fi Rush has a fair amount of visual cues that will help you if you’re struggling with finding fighting to the music. Chai naturally walks to the beat, enemies and environments bop along to it as you play, and finishing moves even have a visual indicator that shows you exactly when to hit the attack button. Just be on the lookout for the signals the game gives you.
In some sections, Hi-Fi Rush will ask you to do rhythmic button presses/quick-time events to progress. While these don’t carry the same pressure of an action sequence with enemies trying to kill you, they can be difficult if you’re already having trouble hitting buttons on the beat, the game does give you an option to simplify these by making all the prompts one button only, rather than having to think about the rhythm and also move your fingers across your controller. This is also found in the Accessibility menu right above the Rhythm Visualization option on Single Key Rhythm Game. This won’t do away with the prompts themselves, but it will at least make them a little easier for you when they come up.
For a lot of action games, stringing together complicated combos and getting high scores is part of the appeal. However, if you’re struggling with Hi-Fi Rush’s rhythmic tendencies, it’s worth getting that part down before you start stringing together a bunch of elaborate attacks. Luckily, the game has an auto-action mode which will let Chai do all the combos while you focus on the beat. This lets you press one button and execute these attacks automatically, so long as you’re staying on the beat, that is. It’s a good training resource to let you get the hang of attacking rhythmically while also not sticking you in a training mode. Notably, this is only available in Easy and Normal difficulties, but if you’re still trying to get the beat down, you don’t need to be up on those higher difficulties. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Hi-Fi Rush is built around rhythm, but it doesn’t have to be played that way. The animations are all tuned to play out along with the beat, but you don’t have to always be pushing buttons in time to progress. Fighting to the music will benefit you in as much as it will help you earn a high score, but in terms of the actual utility, it’s not necessary to time all your button presses along with the music. It will help you in terms of instinctively knowing when to dodge an incoming attack, but the game is more than accommodating enough for those who just want a solid, stylish action game. You’ll end up with lower scores after each fight and level, but Hi-Fi Rush’s style and substance is also worth the price of admission (or Game Pass) whether you’re playing to the rhythm or not. So if you’ve tried all these tips to better dance around the battlefield and it’s not working, make like Merrill from Signs and swing away.
Much of the conversation around Hi-Fi Rush has centered around its marriage of rhythm and action, but don’t let it get lost in the noise that this is an action game that can be played rhythmically, not a rhythm game in the guise of an action game. You’ll get more out of it if you appreciate its musical qualities, but it is also a perfectly functional action game, no musical ability required.