Celeste Review - Read Before You Buy

Celeste Review

Celeste - merely a charming platformer or one of the most endearing games released this year?

As someone who is familiar with platformers, I remember hearing about the buzz about Celeste earlier in the year when it launched. Only recently I decided to play it, and it seemed to be worth the great deal of praise the game was getting from players; it's currently listed as a "Must Play" under Metacritic's new system. Upon playing it, does it justify that title, but it may in fact be one of the best games released this year, and will go down as one of the sleeper hits of the year.

About Celeste

Celeste is a platformer that released earlier in the year, in January of 2018. Developed by Matt Makes Games, a small studio, the game focuses on screen-based gameplay and precision platforming, similar to games like VVVVVV and Super Meat Boy. It received near universal praise on every platform it released on, which included consoles. The PC version in particular has sold over 100,000 units since launch.

Celeste's Story

Celeste focuses on the story of Madeline, the games protagonist, who is on a journey to climb the mountain of Celeste. For Madeline, her intentions to do so is to prove herself, and along the way, it becomes clearer that she is wanting to do so less for accomplishments and other purposes. The mountain also plays a role in manifesting obstacles and challenges along the way, which leads directly into the core of Celeste's story, which I won't spoil here. It's a very personal story and one that I found much more interesting to follow than one would expect from a platforming game. I would imagine some of Madeline's goals and intentions could deeply resonate with players in ways one wouldn't be expecting, and is, in fact, part of the reason people seem to appreciate the game.

Madeline on her way to the mountain of Celeste

Celeste's Gameplay

As said earlier, Celeste is a platforming game, so the whole point is jumping and moving around the gamespace.  What makes Celeste unique is the dash mechanic, for every time you jump, you are allowed to do one additional dash in the air, and this core idea gets expanded on with every chapter. You'll start learning that you need to dash to make the distance between two platforms, and later in that chapter learn that dashing on objects causes them to move, which you have to manipulate in order to get through the room in question.

The game also includes additional challenges besides the increased complexity of mechanics. Throughout each chapter, there are a great deal of optional items to obtain, such as strawberries, which are there for completionists as they're housed in the areas hardest rooms, to cassette tapes that unlock an additional, harder version of that chapter, expanding on the concepts further. This allows the player to choose if they just want to go through the story, which is about five-to-six hours, or really try to do and complete everything in the game, which essentially doubles the length of the game. Additionally, the game comes with assists to make various parts of the game easier, which actually allows the accessibility of the game to truly to be open to veteran players of the genre who want to have their skills tested, to newcomers who just wish to experience the game without feeling parts of the game are insurmountable.

Madeline dashing through the air, avoiding the spikes

Celete's Graphics

Celeste goes for a visual look very similar to small-team indie projects with a pixelated look, and yet, in that look a tremendous amount of character and charm emit from the screen. The game oozes personality, charm, and confidence in the look its going for. At no point did the games visual representation appear to be one of cutting corners but instead appears as one that absolutely sells the presentation it wises to present.

Madeline overcoming the harsh winds: a strong symbolism to the games challenge and her own story of climbing the mountain

Overall, Celeste is one of the best cases for a sleeper hit released this year, and while it may be overshadowed by the end of the year because of its early launch, it still remains one of the most charming, confident, and pleasing games to come out in recent memory. This is a game with a particular vision, and attempts to deliver on that as completely as one may expect.


- Pixel perfect controls

- A surprisingly engaging and appealing story

- Memorable cast and soundtrack


- Some challenges are a little too difficult in relation to where they are in some chapters

- It's one of those games that's so good you're sad it ends when it does

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A know-it-all-know nothing just trying to ride through life. Now, if only I knew how to do that...
Gamer Since: 1990
Currently Playing: 20XX
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition, The Witcher, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn