To be honest, I have not been able to gush about a game in quite some time. I have been poking and prodding my way around games trying to find that fix that would keep me hooked for hours and hours. Do you ever just start a game and know from the very first screen that you are going to fall in love? Enter Celeste. Celeste is a 2D platformer much like Super Meat Boy but instead of being a “twitch” type runner, you actually get to put some thought into figuring out each level before you start running and dashing.
Celeste is all about its level design. There are many other positives but trust me, the level design is where this game shines. Celeste makes you want to keep playing. Each level is intricately hand crafted to give the player a full experience. They really want you to understand how a mechanic works so you master it. After you successfully complete a “room” you get transferred into another room and this acts as a basic checkpoint. If you die, you just re-enter the room without having to restart the entire level over again. This makes the game so much easier to consume because your frustration is minimum.
The audio in Celeste is beautiful. BEAUTIFUL! Remember how we all fell in love with the Bastion soundtrack? Get ready to fall in love again. A mix of different techno beats and acoustic melodies makes you play through the levels with a clear head happily bobbing to the new music as you progress. Even the audio clips as you jump and dash makes it so easy to get engulfed in the experience.
It is very difficult to make pixelated graphics look good in the modern gaming era but Celeste does it right. The Towerfall: Ascension developers once again stuck to their guns and created an aesthetic to brag about. Everything has a very intense touch of passion in it from the characters to the environments to the effects. You will get stuck staring at the screen without touching anything on your controller for quite some time.
One of the best features inside of Celeste is the ability to make the game easier if it is getting too difficult. It is all about accessibility these days. Dying too much? Add another dash to your arsenal. Slow down time if the game is going at too fast a pace. There are tons of assist options to allow anyone to play this game. Great addition.
The controls are a tough pill to swallow out of the gate, Don’t get me wrong, I understand them now but WOW it took some time to get my fingers right on this one. I felt like I was clambering to grab a ledge when I actually meant to jump and dash. Sometimes it was all a mistake but it worked out.
Even though the level design is amazing some of the levels feel like they are way too long. They seem to really want you to know what you are doing except it gets to the point where you just want the level to end because you feel like you got the most out of the level already.
Do you love 2D platformers? Are you okay with dying a lot but not getting frustrated over it because you actually know what you’re doing? Do you love good music? This is a must buy! MUST! With robust level design, tons of collectables, extra levels for each stage, and an addicting strategic feel, Celeste is already on the top of my list for Game of the Year. Is that a bold claim? Not at all. Play this yourself.