Initially created as a prototype during a game jam, Celeste was later expanded into a full release as a single-player platform game. Focusing on a series of jumps that require precision and timing, Celeste has the reputation of involving repeated attempts trying to overcome hurdles, getting closer to the goal step by step. With beautiful art and an adaptive environment at each level, the game is wrapped up nicely with a passionate story.
Story: Madeline is a young woman who, against the warnings of Granny, begins to climb Celeste Mountain. After a while, she camps out for the night and has a dream in which Part of Madeline, a dark reflection of herself, break out of a mirror and tries to first verbally and then physically stop her from climbing the mountain. Madeline continues to climb the next day and finds herself in a predicament that should would rather not be in. Even after getting out of that situation, there are bigger, far worse problems that await her.
Play Style: The player controls Madeline as she goes up the mountain. In addition to jumping and climbing walls, Madeline has the ability to dash in 8 cardinal and inter-cardinal directions. This move, which is used to tactically move along the game, can only be replenished by landing on the ground or by special crystals. In each succeeding level, the player faces additional mechanics that keep adding complexity to the game. The feel of the control is very smooth and satisfying. Delicate and precise, the mechanics of the game serve the well-thought out set-up of each level. Split-second decisions are crucial for making through the game, but these subtle functions all remain under the control of the player. Boss-like levels later on in the game really require the development of skill in order to further go in the game. Additionally, there are hidden cassette tapes that, if found, will unlock harder “B-Side’ variations of the levels. Beating all the “B-Side” variations will unlock the “C-Side” variations, and beating all of them will unlock the Variants menu. The menu allows the player to change the game’s physics and make the game more challenging or fun, or both.
Audience: Failures are fast and frequent so if you easily get frustrated by games that are challenging you should rather steer clear of this game. However, if you are up for not only a great task to tackle, but an amazing adventure through a deeply relatable story, then this game is certainly for you. Platform gamers would particularly love this game for its simplicity and the way it has been used to produce something so complex.
Platforms: Celeste is available on Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Verdict: The story of the game is unorthodox for this genre of games, but that is what makes Celeste beautiful. Ultra-satisfying sequences of crystal collection where you barely even touch the ground for a while are not to be missed out on. Every chapter feels fresh and never boring, as each one keeps adding to the mechanics involved and the difficulty of the game. Matt Thorson has done a spectacular job with this game, and we at Maverick IGS recommend you to keep this game in your collection.