Climbing a mountain is no easy task no matter how you are going to do it, but doing it while battling with severe depression and questioning your whole being is a whole another level of hard. Celeste is a platforming game about climbing a mountain but also about conquering your own inner demons.
Getting the game for free during Christmas sales I figured I would dabble a little into what seemed like a challenging but chill gaming experience. Oh boy, was I wrong. After the first few cut scenes, I started to realize that this game has much heavier topics to unravel than a typical to pixel art platformers. The player follows the story of Madeleine, a young adult who is dead set on climbing this mountain, even though she doesn’t really understand why. The game delves deeper into her inner workings as she stubbornly closes on the summit and some of the dialogue she has (mostly with herself) was rather emotional to read.
Some stages are very colorful and beautiful to look at
The gameplay of Celeste is extremely challenging. The game consists of different levels on the path to the summit. Each of these levels has multiple, dozens and dozens of different rooms that can take ages to clear. Falling on spikes, crashing on walls and various other ways the player can fail make for, at times, an extremely frustrating gaming experience.
Having your worst attributes take a form of their own can not be easy. Poor Madeleine
However, here lies the catch, conquering an extremely challenging room will give the player a sense of accomplishment. And the want to conquer the next room as well, and then the next. The controls are very simple and easy to grasp but mastering everything takes time.
Madeleine is trying to get rid of her anxiety, but it turns out to be harder than she thought
Celeste is an excellent game. It does everything one would hope from a platformer and more. Beautiful, varying landscapes, extremely rewarding gameplay, enjoyable music, and an unforgettable story. A big whole-hearted recommendation but with a content warning; themes of depression and mental health are very much present in the game.
Developer: Matt Makes Games
Publisher: Matt Makes Games
Released: January 25, 2018
Platforms: Pc, macOS, Linux, Nintendo switch, PS4, xbox one
Genres: Platformer, single-player
Pictures: Screenshots taken from the game by the author