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Hi-Fi Rush is Steam Deck verified, go forth and shred

Play it ‘fast as you can, fast as you can’

protagonist Chai, in Hi-Fi Rush, slams his guitar on the floor. The highly stylized, comic book style illustration depicts an explosive cloud and “PHOOM!” in big letters around the point of impact. Image: Tango Gameworks/Bethesda Softworks
Nicole Clark (she/her) is a culture editor at Polygon, and a critic covering internet culture, video games, books, and TV, with work in the NY Times, Vice, and Catapult.

Surprise breakout hit Hi-Fi Rush is officially Steam Deck verified, publisher Bethesda Softworks announced in a tweet on Thursday. The action rhythm game plays beautifully on Steam, and the handheld support means you can shred against bosses on the go. I’ve found that the game plays best with a controller, and I can’t wait to try it out on the Deck.

Developed by Tango Gameworks, Hi-Fi Rush launched with minimal fanfare at the end of January, and grew in popularity thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations. The title was also on Game Pass from day one, meaning that subscribers have no excuse not to try it.

In Hi-Fi Rush, you play as Chai, a guy whose iPod is fused into his chest à la Iron Man as a result of a mistake during a robotic augmentation procedure. Chai is now fully in tune with the music — he moves to the beat — but the robots on the Vandelay Technologies campus that he’s trapped in consider him an aberration. He must fight these enemies in battles set to the bangers on his playlist, which include recognizable tracks from the Black Keys, Fiona Apple, Nine Inch Nails, and others. With stylish cel-shaded visuals to boot, the game reads much like Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver (though the dialogue has more in common with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, from the same filmmaker).

Where other rhythm games can be a bit exacting, Hi-Fi Rush makes their magic accessible for a broader audience. Regardless of your timing, you can still attack successfully; Chai will still strike on rhythm. Tapping the attack button on the beat just means landing combos and getting a better post-fight rating. It’s absolutely a rush.

The next level of puzzles.

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