Dashing to Victory: Celeste

Introduction:

We all know of the cult classic Super Meat Boy. It is a small indie game that took the world by storm. Its gruesome art style and tough-as-nails gameplay attracted numerous people trying to conquer the challenge. Enter Celeste. What at first seems an unassuming, simple game that slowly evolves into a tough-as-nails platformer that expands on the base set by Super Meat Boy.


The Story:

The game starts with a simple message: You can do this. A simple thing that both set the pace for the story, and provides a means of motivation for the player, something that will surely be needed to overcome the insanely difficult obstacles that will soon present themselves.

You can do this.
A simple message for a long journey

You are a girl named Madeline, with a simple task: climb the mountain Celeste. You are not told why, or how. Just given this task and set on your way. As the story progresses it turns into a heartwarming tale, with a unique ensemble of characters. An old woman who never stops at an opportunity to tease you, a cheery man climbing the mountain in memory of his Grandfather. As the story progresses the Mountain turns Madelene’s insecurities into a reality and she has to face them head-on with the help of the friends she’s met along the way.


The Gameplay:

The star of the show, the gameplay. You have a very simple set of options for movement. You can move left and right, crouch, jump, dash in 8 cardinal directions and hold onto walls as long as you have the stamina. And the game does a great job of conveying this information without tutorials and easing you into the mechanics naturally. Using this basic move-set celeste can lay out obstacles, where finding out how to progress is only half the fun. The real fun comes from perfecting your movement so you can seamlessly glide through the obstacles to your endpoint. And for those seeking to stretch this game to its limits, Celeste features optional collectibles called Strawberries, which may be hiding behind a simple wall, or maybe behind some of this game's hardest challenges.

Brutally difficult platforming
Brutally difficult platforming

Your growth as a player is very apparent. While at first, you may struggle with basic movement, by the end of the game you weave through complicated patterns like childsplay. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the Golden Strawberry challenges. Playing through the game you die hundreds to even thousands of times in a single level. Beating the game unlocks a challenge that tests even the most skilled. Beat the Strawberry’s respective challenge without dying. This is a daunting task but highlights the growth the player has experienced as they slowly but surely conquer even this challenge. More on postgame content, every level has a hidden tape that unlocks its “B-Side”. An even harder version of the previous level complete with remixed music. And just when you thought the developers had outdone themselves, beating every B-Side unlocks a C-side, a challenge that raises the difficulty to its maximum. While all content may make it seem like this game gets stale quickly, it is anything but. Every single level introduces a multitude of new mechanics and dramatically different scenery, keeping the game fresh and leaving you wanting more even after you’ve beaten everything the game has to offer.

Amassing hundreds of deaths
Amassing hundreds of deaths

The Music:

Celeste’s music is beautifully composed and pairs perfectly with the tone of that level. Somber tones for sad moments, almost heroic tones for moments filled with hope, and an eerie tune when the time calls for it.

The best part is the integration of the music with the gameplay. Not only does the music continue its pace despite deaths, preserving continuity and momentum, but it slowly evolves the more you die, halting the feeling of being stuck behind an obstacle and instead of invoking the sentiment of slowly overcoming it.


Synopsis:

With a heart-warming story, tough-as-nails gameplay that keeps you coming back for more, and an insane amount of content, Celeste is a game perfect for those seeking a challenge or wanting to relive the days of Super Meat Boy. The game has released two free content expansions and has an insane modding community for those truly dedicated to the game, and for only 20 US, it's a steal. So get Celeste now and dash your way up the Mountain.


Written by Yaseen


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