In 2018, Celeste not only took the indie scene by storm, but it also captured the hearts of thousands of players. Developed by Extremely Ok Games, this hit, as of September 2022, has nearly 54,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam. This is a feat that even some triple-A games fail to accomplish!
Celeste in its purest form it is a platformer. Super Meat Boy, Mario, Sonic they all follow a similar formula. You do basic movements (dash, jump, etc.) and you get from point A to point B. What puts Celeste ahead of these others are both the story and the message that it flawlessly delivers.
Mario, Sonic, and Super Meat Boy all have the same plot: you are a hero that has to save something (though we can all agree that Peach has been playing Mario since day one). Entering the game will put you in a visual trance with modernized Nintendo-esque art style, and excellent use of lighting and effects. The color scheme is reminiscent of Terraria, though the attention to detail, the fluidity of the animations and the environment set it apart. The soundtrack of Celeste deserves an award in its own right. It gives the classic platformer music that we all know and love and gives it a modern feel.
The gameplay is straight forward. You have a basic set of movements and you have to avoid the obstacles to move on to the next screen. Celeste does not attempt to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the platformer formula. Where it begins to separate from the herd is its story, which has a deep relation to one’s struggle with anxiety and depression. Early in the game, you dream about a dark reflection of yourself and it splits from you. As you continue your climb, this dark reflection of yourself begins to become a nuisance to your progress. Later in the game you must face yourself, in a manner of speaking, to progress your way up the mountain.
Though each screen is designed to be completed quickly, finding the proper way to complete the screen can be extremely difficult. This is one of the lessons that the game attempts to teach you. Though a task may seem simple, you may fail 1,000 times and must complete 1,000 steps to get there. Some people may get it on the first try, while others may never get it! These subtle lessons present in the game are one of the things that makes Celeste so special!
Overall, we give Celeste a 9/10. The story, art and simplistic gameplay are captivating in their own respects and even with the simplistic gameplay, every level feels unique and just as rewarding. You can find Celeste on Steam and is available playable on Windows, Mac, Linux and Steam OS.
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