Celeste is a 2d platformer and is available this month on PS NOW. Celeste has a streamlined and single-minded approach and the movement is the core that powers the entirety of the game. The way Madeline hops and bops through levels is just so spectacularly sleek. The strength of the movement grows from a lot of elements, the sharp responsiveness or the animation which ensures you always have all the information possible like changing Madeline’s hair color when you use her dash or just the simple bouncing nature of her entire body and hair when she’s leaping through levels.
The most important element of this game is the simplicity of the movement. Madeline only has 4 moves which are run, jump, dash, and wall climb. This light but effective toolbox means you become intimately familiar with each of the move’s little nuances. This intimate knowledge allows you to get creative with how you utilize and string them together.
You may think that this lack of progression in abilities could lead to stagnant gameplay but instead of piling on new abilities, Celeste continuously challenges and surprises you with new things to play within the environments themselves, and these little additions are just joyous to interact with. Each new area of Celeste’s campaign introduces a new one of these joyous little interactions.
Perhaps it’s the cheeky little blocks that move when you Dash or the bobble bubbles that push you forward when you touch them or even the simple wrinkle of the diamonds that just refresh your Dash midair. Each of them are intricately linked with that simple toolset we discussed earlier. Most importantly they deploy them so intelligently that each level allows you to get to grips with the new interaction then starts mixing and piling them together with the things you’ve learned before.
Creating this devilishly difficult but utterly captivating brew of fun. This cycle of learning and executing creates a building and cascading pace until the final levels where you play through a climactic orchestra of all these mechanics just jammed together. This game is challenging and these mechanics are solid and fair so use them to your advantage.
Brilliantly though it’s customizable and for a player who just wants the experience you don’t have to get all the collectibles where a lot of the tough platforming challenges come in. You can even enable infinite dashes and if you really want a challenge there are the B-sides which are harder versions of the base levels. They are evil incarnate but oh so satisfying. I loved playing these levels but my ass got kicked so many times.
This game’s gameplay appeals to and caters to any kind of player and that’s good because the story and visuals are worth experiencing just for their own sake. The narrative of this game is directly concerned with anxiety and depression. Using the climbing of Celeste mountain and common game tropes to explore the internal battle that people who suffer from these things go through. Ultimately though these themes can appeal and resonate with just about anyone and never feel overly sentimental and it is straight forward and utterly touching.
The visuals are beautiful and varied while the soundtrack is an utter triumph ranging from beautiful introspective melodies to jubilant climaxes that complement the rest of the game at every moment. Do not let Celeste fool you, behind its utterly enchanting visual style and charming tale of self-growth is a devilishly challenging yet satisfying platformer. Anyone that enjoyed games like Super Meat Boy or platformers, in general, should definitely try this game out.
Celeste has been permanently added to the PS NOW service.
Celeste tells a powerful story that contains a difficult subject matter that not many games explore. Beautiful art and music add to the overall aesthetic. Overall it is an enjoyable platforming game that can be a bit hard in some areas but very satisfying when you complete them.