Celeste is a downloadable platform game. Easily one of the most quintessential genres in video games, platforming titles have held a special place in every gamer’s heart. It has been so ever since the debut of Pitfall and Super Mario Bros. for the NES (compare it to the downloadable version for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U). The two titles largely credited with founding the genre.
Of course, as such a prevalent mode of expression in video games, you can expect that indie titles such as Celeste often try their hand at replicating the magic of a Super Mario game.
And it’s easy to understand why: as one of the most profitable video game franchises of all time, platforming games often end up “launching” the careers of many developers as well. After all, if you can master the mechanics of a Mario-style platforming title, you’ve probably made a good video game, right?
This was likely the thought process behind Matt Thorson and Noel Berry, creators of Celeste, an indie platforming title that looks like it occupies a generation between the 3D Nintendo 64 and the 2D SNES with its rich, vibrant colors and graphics.
How to Download Celeste
You can download your copy of Celeste from Steam for the price of $19.99. To do this simply click on the Download button at the end of the review. The game can be played on many platforms. They include Windows, macOs, Linux (all of that available on Steam or on itch.io), PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.
The Game Review
Released in January 2018 for all available platforms at the time, Celeste originally began life as a project the creators made at a “game jam” – kind of like a hackathon but for creating video games instead.
As the player character Madeline, players find themselves transported to a world of deadly obstacles and a seemingly insurmountable mountain that stretches on for forever. Borrowing from the Mega Man X series in some ways, one unique maneuver available to Madeline is a mid-air dash.
The move can be repeated with the collection of certain in-game items or when the player’s feet touch the ground, whichever occurs first. Chaining these mid-air dash jumps together will eventually become a mechanic that the player has to master but it is never thrust on you out of nowhere and not without proper warning.
Like all good platforming games, Celeste rewards mastery and punishes sloppy movement. Knowing how to use Madeline’s capabilities while also taking full advantage of the environmental boosts provided along the way is essential to mastery in Celeste.
If the player happens to collect these in-stage items referred to as strawberries, the game will end on a different note than it would if no strawberries are collected throughout. Additionally, players can extend the replayability of the game by collecting tapes in the levels which unlock “b-side” variants of those stages that are more challenging. And if that wasn’t enough for you, completing all of the b-side quests will then open up what is called “c-side” quests which are even tougher variants on the previous levels.
How’s that for value?
Draped in the powerfully nostalgic graphics of the past and sporting challenging gameplay and spot-on mechanics to boot, Celeste is an indie game that doesn’t feel like an indie game but rather has the fit and finish of a major release.
Not only does Celeste provide hours of platforming fun but also gives us a glimpse into the future of video games, a horizon wherein people are able to bring their creations to life and, in the process, challenge the very foundations of the industry itself.