Quick Intro (eshop description):
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.
In the Celeste you play as a young girl named Madeline. You start out at the base of Celeste Mountain and meet an old crazy lady called Granny. She warns you about the dangers of the mountain, but you are determined to climb it anyways.
The story of this game is very interesting in that your main enemy is yourself. Madeline is fighting mental illness and her dark side is telling her not to climb the mountain. She is struggling with depression and self doubt, and her dark side is the mental (and later in the game, physical) embodiment of those illnesses. Tied together with the game play, the story is emotional and very rewarding to watch play out as you progress further up the mountain.
The graphics in Celeste are mostly just beautiful pixel art. They bring back the feeling of the SNES days, and even though everything is blocky, you know exactly what all the objects and characters are supposed to look like. There are higher resolution drawings of the characters when they are talking and a picture of them pops up on the screen. The main menu is also not pixels, but it is a really nice looking computer animated picture of Celeste Mountain. Everything runs buttery smooth, which is absolutely necessary for accuracy during the platforming. There are different themes for each of the levels and they all look awesome in their own way.
The sound track is extremely well done chiptune music, it fits the game nicely. It varies from calm to intense when it needs to be and when it is matching up with the game play it is wonderful to hear. It is still one of my favorite game soundtracks.
The game play in Celeste is straight up 2D platformer. There are no weapons or killing of anything. Your goal is to simply climb the mountain. You have a mid air dash and you can climb walls, but only for a certain time before your stamina runs out. The dash can be revived by landing or grabbing floating crystals that adds the dash back. The puzzles in the game are all about timing jumps, dashes, and wall climbs to not fall down off of the mountain or land on spikes and other deadly terrain. It’s a blast to play if you like really tightly controlled platforming.
If you do happen to die, you start back up in the same room or area you died in, so dying is not really punished real bad and this makes it easier on the player since you will probably die a ton of times. You have unlimited lives, and it makes sure to let you know how many times you have died throughout a level and at the end of the game (mine was well over 1000 after my first run though). It is extremely satisfying to get through the difficult parts and each time I beat a tough spot I was stoked to take on the next one.
Celeste cost me right about 20 USD. I have put in somewhere around 15 hours of play time, 10 or so for the first play through. If you book it through the game and ignore all of the collectibles and barely die, you could probably get through it in 5 hours. I ended up getting some of the extra collectibles, which are strawberries floating in difficult to reach spots. If one set out to get all of the strawberries and to run through the bonus rooms hidden everywhere around the world (called b-sides and c-sides) it could easily get you double or triple the time, depending on your skill level.