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Playing Hi-Fi Rush feels like reading the first volume of a comic about a brand new superhero, unburdened by expectations.
There's such an obvious, whole-hearted commitment to creating a world that runs on music that I found myself bobbing my head and tapping my foot to literally nothing an hour after I put this one down. Rhythm is so thoroughly baked into this game's DNA that, after a certain point, it becomes more difficult to do things off beat than on it. It's got charm and earnestness that quiets my impulse to nitpick. Everything is music in some way, and every element snaps into place on a beat - UI elements, footsteps, enemy attacks, YOUR attacks, item pickups. Cohesive and confident enough that I would almost believe it if you told me it was somehow an influence on every rhythm genre hybrid that came before it. Feels like a game from 3 hardware generations ago, and I mean that in the best way possible.
I see people use words like "childlike joy" a lot, but I don't remember the last time I've seen a game so suited to it before playing the remake of 2004's Katamari Damacy. Katamari Damacy asks that you maneuver an increasingly large ball around a level where smaller objects adhere to the ball - the katamari - until you have enough volume to roll up new objects. Its sense of tactility is perfect: in primarily using the analog sticks, you are not the ball - you are the diminutive prince, forced to settle for merely corralling the momentum of a katamari that is often twice your size before you've picked up even a single object.
It's not a frictionless experience, but Katamari Damacy's developers are judicious in how, when, and how much they attempt to toy with the player. For the most part, they're rooting for you: objects are generally placed with those of a comparable size, allowing you to build up some steam before hitting a conspicuous, illogical wall of bicycles or traffic cones or what-have-you that blocks the path ahead - a gentle, guiding, parent-like hand that asks you to spend a little longer working with what you've already got before picking up some new toys. And boy howdy will you pick up some new toys.
Start with thumbtacks, then move to erasers, then pick up a toothbrush that nearly prevents your katamari from rolling in certain directions. In the span of minutes, cars become as useless as thumbtacks as you pluck buildings from the ground, islands from the ocean, and clean the sky of its clouds. You have completed your goal of making something as big as you possibly can during your time at recess, and how do you feel as you roll around the empty ocean? Satisfied? Bored? Hungry for more? Do you feel a tinge of regret as the whole of human existence accretes around your katamari, at having undone it all? That last one is me speaking from my own experience, but Katamari Damacy itself does not judge you - it'll make a magnificent star, after all.