Hi-Fi Rush was an early surprise in 2023, being announced and released on the same day as well as being a cartoony rhythm-action brawler from a studio known for horror. Our review found it didn't quite stick the landing but nevertheless delivered stellar moments, which is definitely how I felt about it: there aren't too many games where you can beat robots into scrap to the beat of a Nine Inch Nails song, and Hi-Fi Rush certainly delivers that.
The game's latest free update has arrived and brings two new modes, both of which are unlocked after you've beaten the main story. BPM Rush sees guitar-wielding protagonist Chai facing enemy waves with the beats per minute (BPM) of the music increasing as you progress, increasing both the speed of Chai's combos and the enemy movesets up to what Tango Gameworks calls a "blistering 200 BPM".
"For reference, the highest speed in the main game was 160 BPM," said John Johanas, director of Hi-Fi Rush. "[BPM Rush] features an Easy and Normal mode which reflects the amount of damage you receive and enemies take, but the overall gameplay is the same. However, completing either Normal or Easy will unlock an additional difficulty, EX Mode, which starts you almost right at the top speed and puts you against waves of high-level enemies as their damage gradually increases between each wave!"
The second addition is a twist on the existing Rhythm Tower, called Power Up! Tower Up! Players start as a de-powered Chai and, as they ascend between floors by battering robots, choose from a selection of upgrades. It's what Tango's done with the upgrades that makes this mode, with certain ones having positive bonuses and others negative bugs that affect the next battle. Johanas said it's possible with the right upgrades to overpower Chai past his usual max levels.
"Sometimes you’ll get lucky and Zanzo’s laser drones will be on your side and taking out enemies for a floor," said Johanas. "But other times, you may need to watch out for long range enemies since all beam attacks can now deal significantly more damage!"
The update also adds 40 new challenges across the new modes, and a bonanza of new cosmetic accessories and costumes, photo mode rewards including new poses and filters, sticker packs for said photos, and new special attacks. It's by far the biggest update to the game, but definitely not the first: since February Tango has added a photo mode, new assist features to help players stay on-beat, and costume packs.
"Lastly, we have something special for those who like to call themselves… completionists," said Johanas. "We like to go overboard with putting little secrets in our updates but for this one, while it might not be so little, it really is a huge thank you to everyone who’s played Hi-Fi Rush so far."
Well well well. My favourite Easter Egg in the game so far is a big hint that The Evil Within 3 is happening (Johanas directed TEW2), but there's no clue yet what this is and I doubt I'll be pulling off perfect parries at 200BPM anytime soon. If you're a rhythm head who finds something weird in the new update though, you could always send us a tip.