Developed By: Matt Makes Games
Published By: Matt Makes Games
Played On: Xbox One S
The beginning of 2018 saw an indie title release with the name Celeste. It quickly gained tons of praise and whispers that it could be a Game of the Year contender. The one thing that had turned me off was the apparent difficulty in the platforming. Once I’d learned of this difficulty, I did not bother to investigate the game any further. I had Monster Hunter World and Dragon Ball FighterZ to keep me occupied.
Fast forward to this past December, well after the Game Awards, it was announced that Celeste was coming to the Xbox Games with Gold in January of 2019. Celeste once again peaked my interest. So, I decided to try Celeste and I walked away with a great experience.
In Celeste you play as Madeline who tasks herself with climbing a mountain. You meet a woman named Granny. She tries to talk you out of climbing the mountain. Madeline goes against her warning and camps out at night after some climbing. During your sleep you have a dream where you meet a character resembling yourself called Part of Madeline (“PoM”). She too tries to get you to stop climbing the mountain.
During the game PoM tries many ways to stop you from ascending, but at the same time she helps you during your playthrough. PoM seems to represent everything bad and everything that Madeline would like to free herself from.
Celeste seems to me to be a story of the inner turmoil one goes through and the struggle to overcome. Whether it be anger, heartbreak, or anything, you should always try and take the good with the bad. The mountain that Madeline is climbing is that inner struggle she’s trying to overcome.
Celeste is a 2D platformer, and a challenging one at that. At least it was for me. Madeline only has the ability to jump, midair dash, and hang on areas for short period of times. You can only midair jump once, unless you collect power-ups spread throughout each area you are platforming.
In my experience, death happens very often. The good part is that you are brought back to your area rather swiftly to try again. If you are having problems with the difficulty of the platforming or speed of the game, Matt Makes Games has an Assist Mode that helps you tailor the game to your skill level, so you can enjoy Celeste.
With Assist Mode you can change the follow:
For myself, I hit a point in the game where I just could not progress anymore. I was enjoying the story and I wanted to experience the rest, so I was able to tailor Celeste to my liking and I turned on infinite Air Dashes. That made me enjoy it a lot more and allowed me to complete the game. Without Assist Mode I don’t believe I would have completed the game and experienced the wonderful story. Matt Makes Games made Celeste accessible for everyone with Assist Mode and I’m thankful for that.
Graphics and Music
Personally, the graphics aren’t much to write home about. I enjoyed the look of each area that you progress through but you’re not playing Celeste for the graphics.
The music however is amazing. It flows throughout the game perfectly with each chapter, each encounter and danger. Even right now as I write this review I have the sound track running on my phone.
Celeste is a wonderful game that has deep meaning for many who have struggled with depression and battle those inner demons. The soundtrack is excellent and by far one of the best music scores of 2018.
If you are looking for a great platformer then Celeste is for you. If you are not great at platformers, then Celeste is still for you with Assist Mode.
Celeste is one of those games that I regret not playing sooner and being a part of the conversation on how great a game it is, but better late then never.
Graphics and Music: 8.5