What I’m Playing Now: Rare Replay, The Wonderful 101, Katamari Damacy

what i'm playing this week rare replay the wonderful 101 katamari damacy 2016 images

What I’m Playing Now: Rare Replay, The Wonderful 101, Katamari Damacy 2016 images

This week, I finally started enjoying the massive array of titles on Rare Replay for the Xbox One and conquering The Wonderful 101 on the Wii U. I also revisited Katamari Damacy on the PS2, for old times’ sake.

Let’s take a closer look at the action from each of these titles!

Rare Replay

This is one hell of a compilation.

For most of you, this statement is probably old news—really old news, actually. But for me, Rare Replay is a completely fresh experience. The all-encompassing collection has been sitting in my backlog for quite a while, and the biggest reason that I waited so long to enjoy it was time. Honestly, with so many high-quality games in one package, I knew that the title would occupy my attention for a massive amount of time, and I accordingly wouldn’t be able to make my way through several other titles during this period.

Was this concern a little bit illogical and misplaced? Perhaps. But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t some truth to it.

My schedule fears were confirmed the second I booted the disc up.

The first game that I played was Battletoads, of course. I still remember enjoying the NES classic as a kid, and the title is just as fun—and challenging, despite my increase in both age and gaming experience—as it was years ago. I’m still getting the hang of the action, but unlike my childhood years, I’m working to actually beat the game this time around—without the help of that ultra-convenient “rewind” function in this updated version!

I don’t know what else there is to say; Battletoads is a quarter of a century old, but even today, it’s an incredible title; the test of time is often the most difficult of all, but Battletoads passed with flying colors. I’ll be playing it for what feels like twenty minutes, but is actually a few hours, without even knowing until I look at the clock!

The same can be said for Cobra Triangle, which I also enjoyed in my youth on the NES. The difficult title is even older than Battletoads, and has still held up well over time. Also like Battletoads, Cobra Triangle has the ability to turn expected hour-long gaming sessions into multi-hour excursions. Perhaps most notably of all, throwing controllers in frustration is no longer an option after I’m soundly defeated by the game’s challenges. Xbox One controllers are much more expensive than NES controllers, and bouts of anger are appreciated by others much more when one is six years old, as opposed to a grown man.

Dually noted Rare Replay. Also noted is the fact that, as I said, this game is a devourer of time—I’ve only played 1/15th of the games in the collection! But when they’re this fun, I suppose it’s a good problem to have.

the wonderul 101 wii u games

The Wonderful 101

I was impressed with The Wonderful 101 initially, and still am.

I’d heard mixed things about the Wii U-exclusive prior to playing, and I have to say that my opinion of the title rests squarely in the positive corner. The game is innovative, interesting, challenging (but not frustrating), and works surprisingly well with the gamepad. Although I’m only a couple of hours in, thanks to my interest (mild addiction) to Rare Replay, I have to say that I truly am having a great time.

I’m going to make it a point to finish the title before Uncharted 4 releases, and I should have more to say once I make a bit more progress.

katamari damacy 2016

Katamari Damacy

I keep most of my old games—especially those that I really enjoyed, like Katamari Damacy—and with my PS2 accessible as well, I decided to give the old KD another quick spin.

The title has certainly held up over time.

For reference, I’ve played every single Katamari game in-between the original and Touch My Katamari, the latest sequel on the PS Vita. That’s right—We Love Katamari on the PS2, Beautiful Katamari on the 360, Me & My Katamari on the PSP, and Katamari Forever on the PS3 (I didn’t have the energy to download the mobile games). Talk about a dedicated fan!

I understand that there hasn’t been very much innovation through all of these installments, but the quality of the core concept has kept me coming back time and time again, with a couple of minor innovations each time out. I was reminded of the quality of this concept—and the charm of the series’ debut installment—with Katamari Damacy.

The game just feels right.

To those who haven’t played the original Katamari, that previous statement probably seems like a compliment that would be issued by a nostalgic stoner, which I can assure you that I’m not. But those who have played the original probably understand that the compliment is an accurate—albeit untypical—tribute to the culmination of the game’s ideas—its music, gameplay, characters, and design, mainly. All of these things come together and result in a final product that was unlike anything that had ever been played before—in a good way, no less. There’s just an indescribable charm to it all.

No installment has beaten the original Katamari yet, and chances are the next entry won’t do so either. But, the original has reminded me of why I continue to buy each sequel (once again barring the annoying phone “games”): capturing just a little bit of the imagination and charm of the first game makes for an incredible experience.

In the coming week, I’m going to try and finish The Wonderful 101, as well as a full, modern game on Rare Replay—probably Kameo, which I never got around to playing on the 360, for whatever reason (I know, I know).

Uncharted 4 is almost here, and I can’t remember the last time that I was this excited for a new release (alright, Fallout 4 and GTA V come to mind, but that’s beside the point). This game is going to be awesome!

Stay tuned for more “What I’m Playing This Week” pieces, as well as Weekly Gaming Updates!