Game Review: Celeste (Xbox One X)

Celeste is a platforming video game by Canadian video game developers Matt Thorson and Noel Berry, it released in 2018. You play as a girl named Madeline as she makes her way up a mountain while avoiding various deadly obstacles. Celeste received universal upon its release, even winning Best Independent Game & Games For Impact at the Game Awards 2018.

Game play comprises of jumping and climbing up walls for a limited amount of time. Also, Madeline has the ability to perform a mid-air dash. This move can only be performed once and must be replenished by either landing on the ground or hitting certain objects such as replenishing crystals. Throughout each level, the player will encounter springs or feathers that allow brief flight. There are deadly objects such as spikes which kill Madeline and thus return her to the start of the section.

Hidden throughout each level are optional strawberries. These are obtained through challenging platforming or puzzle solving sections. Additionally, there are cassette tapes which unlock harder “B-Side” variations of certain levels, and crystal hearts used to access post-game content.

The plot of the game focuses on a young woman named Madeline who begins climbing Celeste Mountain. While there, she has a dream in which a dark reflection of herself, known as “Part of Madeline”, breaks out of a mirror. This version of herself attempts to stop Madeline from climbing the Mountain. Along the way she meets various characters and encounters numerous challenges that you must help her overcome.

Celeste was handcrafted and has a pixelated artsyle. It’s very vibrant, a real feast for the eyes. The best way i can describe the visual style is to call it pixel heaven, if that’s your thing. However, be warned that the simplistic look of the game doesn’t translate to the gameplay. This is a challenging game. Although, it’s the type of challenge that makes you feel a huge sense of satisfaction for overcoming the impossible looking sections that are presented to you.

Thankfully, the gameplay is seriously fluid.  The controls are so responsive, you are given the tools to succeed. You’ll feel like an absolute badass when you finally make it through something that seemed insurmountable.

Accompanying Madeline’s ascent on Celeste Mountain is a wonderful score that has the feel of something classic. The music, game play and developing story create a delightful union that never feels boring. It’s very addictive, not something you want to put down for a second.

Also, the game has a deep story about the negative feelings that we all harbour within. It’s about learning to embrace those weaknesses and use them as a powerful weapon to overcome great odds.

If endlessly dying in a game doesn’t sound like that much fun to you then fear not, you can still enjoy Celeste. The game has an assist mode which you can use to give Madeline advantages like invincibility etc. However, I highly recommend you play through it as intended at least once. This game is all about overcoming adversity. Although, be warned that the “B-Side” & “C-Side” levels are hard and i mean really hard.

Overall, if you can handle the challenge then Celeste is an absolute blast that I would highly recommend. In my opinion, it deserves the praise it has received simply because it achieves so much with so very little.

  • The Final Score - 8.5/10
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