Celeste, brought to us by Matt Makes Games Inc., first came out almost a month ago on January 25th, 2018 and I had never heard of it. Suddenly Celeste became a force to be reckoned with in the media. Somehow Celeste has exploded in the media and is gaining many massive positive reviews. So I, of course, had to check it out for myself. When everyone is willing to put aside their daily routine to play this game, then I want in too.
Madeline has come to the mountain called Celeste. Legends say that the mountain can bring one’s true self in to reality. This power can unfortunately bring fears in to being as well. As Madeline climbs and meets the residents that live on and around the mountain, she must contend with the darkest parts of her becoming real.
During this journey, Madeline must get through 700 difficult puzzles in order to reach the top. In order to do so, she must dash, climb and jump to continue. While this might sound easy, it most definitely is not. Precision is key in making the jumps, hesitating in any way will lead to certain death. On one screen alone, I was stuck for over fifteen minutes. There is no feeling to describe when you finally beat a screen that has caused you to scream and almost throw your controller. A certain piece of fruit keeps making appearances but be warned that getting it may not be worth the effort.
The difficulty of this game reignites the questions, are games simply made to induce rage and be hard or do gamers just need to become better at those games? For example, Cuphead became notorious for its high level of difficulty. Some gamers complained that the game was only created for a select set of gamers that are hardcore. The answer, as Celeste points out, is that difficulty can be overcome if the game presents it in the right way. Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the Mario Brothers games, believed that if a new element was introduced what followed should teach the player how to use that item or gimmick. Celeste’s puzzles are difficult, but eventually you do learn what you need to do. By playing fair, the game encourages repeated tries because eventually you will succeed.
Artistically, Celeste is a retro styled game. Characters have no faces and their voices are jumbled, but the scenery overall is nice. Cutscenes offer a neat perspective of the characters because the added photos and events show in detail, who the characters really are and what they look like. From there it’s all up to the imagination of the player. There is a lot to discover here with extra missions and secrets to find.
Is this game for everyone? Yes. Celeste may be a difficult game but the goal is not unobtainable. Not only is this true, but the message in the game itself is that people must overcome their challenges. You might want to rage quit, but instead, take a step back, see the mistake you made and then correct it.
Celeste is available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Mac