Celeste

Moby ID: 101142
Windows Specs
Buy on Nintendo Switch
$60.98 used, $66.99 new on eBay
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$44.95 used, $99.99 new on eBay
Buy on Windows
$19.99 new on Steam
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Official Description (Ad Blurb)

Help Madeline survive her inner demons on her journey to the top of Celeste Mountain, in this super-tight, hand-crafted platformer from the creators of multiplayer classic TowerFall.

  • A narrative-driven, single-player adventure like mom used to make, with a charming cast of characters and a touching story of self-discovery
  • A massive mountain teeming with 600+ screens of hardcore platforming challenges and devious secrets
  • Brutal B-side chapters to unlock, built for only the bravest mountaineers
  • IGF “Excellence in Audio” finalist, with over 2 hours of original music led by dazzling live piano and catchy synth beats
  • Pie

The controls are simple and accessible - simply jump, air-dash, and climb - but with layers of expressive depth to master, where every death is a lesson. Lightning-fast respawns keep you climbing as you uncover the mysteries of the mountain and brave its many perils.

This is it, Madeline. Just breathe. You can do this.

Source: Steam Store Description

Spellings

  • セレステ - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

80 People (63 developers, 17 thanks) · View all

Director
Designer
Writer
Gameplay Coder
Co-Creator
Programmer
Artist
Concept Artist, High Res Artist
Pixel Artist, UI Artist
Composer
Sound Designers
3D Artist
3D Lighting Artist
Writing Assistance
Script Editor
Narrative Consulting
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 91% (based on 29 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.4 out of 5 (based on 37 ratings with 1 reviews)

Universally acclaimed platformer with broken controls, and terrible learning curve

The Good
+ Infinite lives. 20-second short levels. Even the hardest C-sides levels will have infinite lives, so it's just a matter of how many more times you want to practice.

The idea of bite-sized challenges is borrowed from Super Meat Boy. I really enjoy these types of short levels that I can spend one or two minutes everyday beating one level, and feel that I have made some progress in the game. The media and fan response has been overwhelmingly positive -- this is the new pinnacle among the Meat Boy-like platformers.

  • Addictive collectible system. In Celeste, you collect Strawberries and Cassette Tapes. This is exactly like last year's The End Is Nigh in which you collect Tumors and Cartridges.

Now we have the "Three pillars of platformer collectibles": Bandages (Super Meat Boy), Tumors (The End Is Nigh), Strawberries (Celeste).

  • Collecting a Strawberry will cause a "+1000" text pop-up to briefly display. This is hilarious, because there isn't any "score" in the game whatsoever. Telling you that you got "+1000 score" in a game that doesn't have score, is humor to me.

  • Confident mechanics that's built around three central moves: dashing, attaching to vertical surfaces, and recharging your stamina, by touching a crystal ball or landing on a horizontal surface.

  • Atmospheric, stream-of-consciousness type visuals. I would describe it as a colorful, pixel-art Limbo.

  • It's simply a must-play. It's one of those "video games as art" things that everyone should at least try and see if they like it. This is one of THOSE games, up there with INSIDE, The Witness, Antichamber and such.



The Bad
The controls in Celeste are broken. Now, I am aware that I'm making a very bold claim, and you probably won't find this opinion anywhere else on the Internet. But I feel that someone needs to say this, because this is my true opinion. I am a long-time player of the McMillen games -- Super Meat Boy and The End Is Nigh. I can tell you that there is a vast difference between how the controls feel in those two games, and how they feel in Celeste.

The controls in Meat Boy are slippery, and the levels look very dangerous, but the levels were designed in such a way that the most natural path you take is often the correct one -- you will often avoid the dangers naturally, without even consciously trying to avoid them. As a result, the slippery momentum usually works in your favor, and does not actually kill you.

The controls in Nigh are very simple, with only a jump button, left, right, and dive. As a result, not much can go wrong here, you just practice these 4 buttons repeatedly until you get it right.

In both of the McMillen games, you have fine control over your character while he is mid-air, allowing for precise adjustments.

Celeste throws away pretty much all of the good points above, then comes up with a new, very awkward style of gameplay. Let's see.

  • You have 3+4 buttons to control Madeline: Jump, Dash, Cling to surface, and the four directions. In Super Meat Boy you have 2+2 buttons, and in The End Is Nigh you have 1+3 buttons. This is already feeling very wrong. The existence of all these buttons means that your brain needs to constantly try to remember the correct button to press, and it's a lot of stress, and a lot more ways that things can go wrong.

  • Did I say 3+4 buttons? Let me correct myself. There are actually 3+4+4 = 11 buttons, because you see, the "Dash" move can go in EIGHT directions, not just four. So, the 4 additional "diagonal" buttons should actually be considered individual buttons.

This is a really, really bad thing. Note that on a typical game controller (Xbox One or PS4 controller), you use the analog stick to select one of the eight directions and you press the Dash button. But the problem is, the analog stick isn't precise enough to point to the correct direction every time. The "Up+Right Dash" can easily turn out to be an "Up Dash" or a "Right Dash". You can't adjust your position in the middle of a dash. Once the dash move has been issued, you cannot change it until the move ends.

Is there a solution? Of course. Use a keyboard. Pressing the Up+Right keys on the keyboard is clear, unambiguous, and precise.

You know what? I personally know four people who have said that they love Celeste. Two of them use the keyboard to play. That's 50%. It proves my point. The use of a keyboard is a major requirement of a person enjoying this game.

  • Your control over the character while mid-air is very, very limited.

  • The level design is quite punishing, such as having spikes everywhere in the room except for the one narrow, correct path. This path often feels like a very unnatural path to go. I often get the feeling that after 30 minutes of practice, I didn't improve at all in a particular level, because all this time I spent, I was essentially fighting my urge to do things the most natural way -- I had been practicing on how to do this the awkward way! I don't like this feeling.

  • In Super Meat Boy, you generally have some "resting areas" in the middle of levels, where you are safe from the dangers, so you can take a short break, figure out what's in front of you before continuing. In Celeste, you have spikes after spikes after spikes, with no resting areas in the middle, so you have to execute 4 or 5 difficult moves IN A ROW, without any breathing room in between.

  • Ultimately, the problem with Celeste controls is that they don't fit the level design at all. You can either have punishing levels, and precise controls (like in Super Meat Boy), or you can have forgiving levels, and loose controls (like in Castlevania games). Mixing the two together can only result in disaster.

Aside from the broken controls, I also find the difficulty curve, or learning curve, to be terrible. The game often throws a new mechanic or difficult puzzle in my face without properly preparing me with introductory, easier puzzles first. The McMillen games never had this problem. The End Is Nigh has a shocking amount of 60 levels which could be considered easy introductory levels to new players.

The music is average. The sound effects are alright, nothing special.

The Bottom Line
Celeste is the latest universally acclaimed indie platformer. You can find out about its greatness, anywhere on the Internet. People really love it. But let's say the Internet didn't exist, I'm presented with this game and have to judge this game based solely on how much I enjoy it, and how well it plays to me -- it's not really that good.

Windows · by Pagen HD (146) · 2018

Trivia

Awards

  • The Game Awards
    • 2018 – Game of the Year – Nominated
    • 2018 – Best Score/Music – Nominated
    • 2018 – Games for Impact – Won
    • 2018 – Best Independent Game – Won
  • TechRaptor
    • 2018 – Indie Game of the Year – Readers' Choice
    • 2018 – Indie Game of the Year – 5th place

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  • MobyGames ID: 101142
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kam1Kaz3NL77.

Stadia added by Rik Hideto. PlayStation Now, Xbox Cloud Gaming, Windows Apps added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Havoc Crow, Ms. Tea.

Game added January 25, 2018. Last modified January 23, 2024.