“Celeste” Is One of the the Best Indie Platformers Ever – Review

Celeste is a difficult platformer that was released at the beginning of 2018. It was made by Matt Makes Games, the company led by Matt Thorson that also made Towerfall. Here’s what makes it great!

Pros

  • Controls
  • Visuals
  • Soundtrack

Cons

  • Difficulty

In Celeste, you play as Madeleine, a young woman working through some personal issues by climbing a mountain against everyone’s advice. The story is beautifully told through cutscenes (which you can skip) and dialogue boxes. There’s only a handful of characters but it’s really about Madeline and the titular mountain, Celeste.

The games visuals are heavily-inspired by the 8-bit era and show just how much you can do with so little. The colours are vibrant, the graphics are clear, and animations are beautiful.

Lena Raine’s soundtrack is beautiful and you’ll struggle to not find yourself humming along to the recurring motif that plays throughout. The blend of piano and chiptune music works beautifully with the game’s aesthetic and brings the whole thing to life. Do not put your own music on while playing this game!

With the game looking so good and sounding so good, you could easily just sit and watch people play it. However, it’s the gameplay where it really shines. This is a hard-as-nails platformer and you will fail again and again, and that’s fine!

The controls are so tight that when you fail, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

Difficultly is the only downside to Celeste (and that’s clutching at straws) but since the game’s themes include challenging yourself, there’s no way you could include difficulty settings or make it easier without taking something away. The game’s exactly as difficult as it needs to be and that’s what makes it awesome.

That said, there is an assist mode, which is greatest accessibility feature I’ve seen in a game and for me, it’s can the game easier without compromising on its creative vision. Personally, I don’t use it and never will, but it’s definitely a great way to ensure that everyone can enjoy the game.

With every level divided into screens, you can easily pick up and play Celeste for a few minutes at a time as the game saves at the start of every screen. Of course, you can keep playing if you want, which you probably will.

The game is full of collectables in the form of strawberries, extra challenge levels, and plenty of extras to sink your teeth into. There are so many secrets and things to see that if you want to keep playing, you can easily spend 30+ hours playing the game if you want to get everything. However, if you just wanted to see the end of the main story, you can be done in less than 10.

The VErdict

Celeste looks fantastic, sounds amazing, controls like a dream, and has plenty of content for you to enjoy. Additionally, there’s an eagerly-anticipated update coming out next week so if you still haven’t played it!

It’s available for PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One.

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