Boy, this couldn't have come out at a better time.
I haven't QUITE stalled out on Sonic Frontiers, but the game is now doling out New Things at a snail's pace and all I'm left with is variations on the core gameplay loop in a currently mostly grey and foggy environment, which is... discouraging.
And I had to uninstall High On Life, which I'd been enjoying, but, you know. Can't really listen to that much Justin Roiland right now.
So a completely unexpected surprise Day One drop on Game Pass of a rhythm-based platformer/brawler with super bright colors, cel-shaded visuals, and an aesthetic and tone straight out of the Dreamcast era? Goddamn, it's like the universe knew what I needed and delivered it unto me.
I'm like three levels deep in Hi-Fi Rush, and you know what I haven't had to do once? Look something up on the Internet to figure out what I'm supposed to do. Light attacks on the beat. Strong attacks on the beat. Jump to platforms. Explore short side paths for power-ups. Enjoy the boss fights, the over-the-top visuals, the smart script, the music, the brightness, the colors. No mysteries. No obscure boss mechanics. No collectathons. Just play the damn game.
It's fucking great. If I had one complaint, it's that a combination of a non-standard distance, camera angles, and the lack of shadows makes it tough to gauge jump distances sometimes. But retries are instant and non-punishing, so it's the least annoying it can possibly be.
Oh, if I had TWO complaints, the game tends to come back from Quick Restore with the audio mysteriously muted, necessitating an exit and restart from save, which occasionally loses you a small bit of progress. But checkpointing is frequent enough that you never lose much.
Also there's a pudgy robot cat. Always a plus.
This is the kind of thing that makes Game Pass great, and I'm sure it's also sold separately for (quick google) THIRTY BUCKS?! You'd almost be losing money NOT buying it at that price. There's at least fifty bucks of shiny in that thirty buck sack. I love my PS5, but goddamn, they're over there stuck with Forspoken while Xbox gets this? Microsoft won the week.
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