Hi-Fi Rush Arcade Challenge! Update: The Best Game of 2023 Just Got Even Better
Feel the music
Hi-Fi Rush remains one of the biggest surprises of the year. This surprise, viral drop from Tango Gameworks was met with rave reviews thanks to a brilliant mix of traditional combo-based battle and rhythm gameplay. in years. There’s also a wonderfully fun story and vibrant characters backing all that up, but Hi-Fi Rush’s new “Arcade Challenge! Update!” really gives you the chance to dig deep into combat. It’s essentially an ultra-hard post-game expansion that makes the best game of the year even better.
The Arcade Challenge Update is a completely free update for Hi-Fi Rush, but it can only be accessed in the hideout after completing the main game (largely because of its intentionally high difficulty). This update adds two new challenge modes to the game, “BPM Rush!” and “Power Up! Tower Up!” Both of these are entirely combat-focused but add a unique twist.
Hi-Fi Rush: Arcade Challenge! — 2 New Game Modes
In Tower Up, Chai’s stats get brought down to the bare minimum. On each floor, you’ll get a new boost, like raising his attack, defense, or HP. At the same time, there’s a random element as power-ups can sometimes have a Bonus or a Bug attached, that adds another little twist. For example, one Bonus gives you a pair of laser drones that automatically fire on enemies, while a bug might reduce the resolution to 480p, making it harder to see everything. Tower Up creates a lot of dynamic situations that force you to adapt, and no two playthroughs feel the same.
In BPM Rush, the rate of the music and the difficulty of enemies scales up as you advance. You start at 135 BPM (beats per minute) and raise a bar as you defeat enemies and dodge and block attacks. Once full, you fight a tough enemy and advance to the next BPM, which makes the music play faster and adds in new, stronger, enemies. You’ll incrementally advance up to 200 BPM, and it’s fascinating to see how the intensity of combat scales up. When Hi-Fi Rush’s combat really clicks, you kind of “get in the zone,” and these more intense high-speed battles really get right to the heart of that.
Hi-Fi Rush already had a good bit of post-game content, but these two modes brilliantly show that Tango has created one of the most robust and satisfying action combat systems in years, which stands on much more than just its unique gimmick.
Hi-Fi Rush: Arcade Challenge! — Rewards
It’s easy to get invested in these modes on gameplay alone, but the Arcade Challenge Update also ties these to a wealth of new rewards. There are dozens of challenges to complete for both modes and they all earn rewards points that fill a meter, with each step on the meter granting a different reward. There are new accessories, stickers for photo mode, a wonderful PS1-inspired outfit of Chai and 808, and even new special attacks. It’s great that this update is not only mechanically satisfying but provides tangible rewards that can be used in the rest of the game as well.
Hi-Fi Rush: Arcade Challenge! — The Inverse Analysis
Hi-Fi Rush was a complete, robust experience when it launched in January, but Tango Gameworks has honestly done a fantastic job of follow-up support with fixes and new content, all of which seem to culminate here. It’s honestly surprising how meaty this update feels, and how engrossing the post-game now feels.
Halfway through the year Hi-Fi Rush’s Arcade Challenge! Update! creates a great reason for players to pick it back up, and more incentive than ever for anyone new to jump right in. That’s an incredibly smart move to make for a game that dropped out of nowhere at the start of the year.