Celeste has to be one of my favorite games right now. It’s a fun little game about climbing a mountain with retro graphics, extremely good and hard level design, and a great story. You’ll be having a blast the whole way through, conquering each tough platforming challenge and beating each level. However, the main character, Madeline, has to deal with a figment of a part of her… an EVIL part of her that is constantly harassing her…
Our adventure starts off with us walking up an old lady’s driveway and narrowly avoiding a big chunk of ice that would’ve otherwise fell right on our head. It’s in this small segment that we’ll get used to the 3 main actions Madeline can do. You can press A to jump which is vital for almost any platformer, you can also press X to do a dash move. You can dash in any direction as well so this move is very fun to use. There’s also a climb move with the trigger buttons where you can hang on and climb up or down a wall. Some pretty neat stuff! After narrowly escaping a collapsing bridge, it’s time to begin the first real level!
The first level has a bit of a city theme, complete with everything a city needs like… springs, floating crystals that restore your dash, and crazy traffic light blocks that move when you touch them! The essentials! But seriously, this first level is extremely fun. I really love how the levels are put together, they introduce around 3 new mechanics, develop them, and teach them to you so that by the end of the level it can just go crazy with them! The crazy challenges always make for a great ending to every stage. There’s usually a lot of strawberries in each level. They’re really satisfying to collect but they don’t actually reward you with anything except a better ending. You also meet an explorer that’s also climbing Celeste mountain named Theo. I really like him; he’s pretty funny.
Stage 2 takes place in some weird looking castle ruins. There’s a mirror a bit into the level. But… something’s wrong. Your reflection doesn’t look quite like you. It looks like… an evil version of you… and then your reflection escapes. Well that was weird. Anyway, there were some goopy space looking blocks earlier in the level that are activated now. You can dash through them. It sounds like not a very cool gimmick but the level does a lot of very interesting things with it. Soon you meet up with the part of you that escaped the mirror and she starts insulting you, saying you can’t climb the mountain and you just need to give up. Then, your evil clone starts chasing you sort of like the Cosmic Clones from Mario Galaxy 2 or Dark Rayman from Rayman 1. However, this mechanic is used WAY BETTER! Instead of just kinda trying to stay ahead of the enemy, you have maneuver around it in some pretty tight spaces. This section is a lot of fun, and actually pretty dang challenging.
Stage 3 takes place in a hotel on the mountain where we meet a ghost named Oshiro. He hears that Madeline is just passing through and on hearing this, he tries to get her to stay. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that there are these little black slimes that kill you if you touch them. Later on they also move and are used in some pretty challenging ways! A few of the setups with them feel a little mean to me, like ones that have them going extremely fast. The big twist is that those black slime looking things are Oshiro’s own worries. Oshiro gets more and more worried as Madeline is just wanting to leave and naturally, the further you get into the Hotel, the more of those annoying slimes there are. Around the end, Badeline (yes, I’m pretty sure that’s what she’s actually called) starts to tell Oshiro what she thinks about the hotel, Oshiro turns into a terrifying monster and starts chasing you in an epic chase sequence. This might as well be my favorite stage in the game, it’s really fun and the story of it is great. The final chase sequence is so much fun too. Oh yeah, something I haven’t mentioned, every stage has unique ending artwork! It looks very good too, so it’s pretty dang neat.
Stage 4 is extremely pretty. It’s a bit of a wind themed stage, with wind physics and everything. I really hate the places where the wind is super strong and pushing you back though, I just find it really irritating. This stage is less about story and more about platforming than the last one. Remember those blocks from Super Mario Bros. 3 that change direction when you jump on them? Well this stage has something similar to that but used way better. It’s incredible how a small game like this is doing things better than one of the most well-known platformers in existence. Speaking of Mario 3, there’s a white block hidden in this level that almost anyone who’s played Mario 3 knows of the secret where you duck and fall through the block into the background. But this time, once you fall in the background, you make contact WITH the background! This is super neat, if only just for this small section. Celeste makes a little reference to that in this level. At the end, we meet back up with Theo and ride a cable car like thing across a chasm. We then proceed to have a panic attack when it stops in the middle of the track! Yay! Luckily Theo knows a way to calm Madeline back down, and the cable car thingy starts up again.
This stage is pretty interesting. It has you go through a temple with lots of mirrors as you solve a lot of puzzles. There are these neat red bubbles that act like the blue bubbles except they keep going until you either dash out or hit a wall. I think this has to be my least favorite stage but it’s still a ton of fun. This stage’s story is too good for me to tell you so go play the game yourself and experience this awesome story first-hand! This stage is actually sort of creepy. It feels dark and isolated. There’s actually not much to say about this stage since I want to avoid talking about the story. Hopefully you can play this game and experience it.
At the beginning of this chapter, we have a little conversation with Theo. It’s fairly fun and interesting. You wake up in the middle of the night and use these feathers to fly up. Then Madeline meets Badeline again and tries to get rid of her, but her plan backfires and Badeline ends up basically pushing us to the bottom of the mountain. Great! Most of this chapter is spent doing platforming and convincing Badeline to join sides. This level is incredibly fun! Especially the end where you’re battling Badeline. At the end, Badeline ends up joining sides with you and you gain an extra dash!
This stage is sort of a recap on all of the other stages we’ve been through thus far. Except this time you have 2 dashes and the platforming is way harder! This level is tons of fun and tests you in many different ways. The ending is really neat. It doesn’t rely on anything dramatic or surprising. You just make it to the top. I thought this was REALLY cool since it’s incredibly rewarding even though nothing amazing is happening. It just feels… satisfying. After going back down the mountain, we meet up with everyone we’ve met on the climb and bake a strawberry cake for them. How nice! However… the adventure isn’t over yet. There’s still more.
There’s not only strawberries to collect in this game! There’s also a Cassette Tape in every chapter that unlocks a harder version of that stage! There are even harder versions of the hard versions! (Try to keep your brain intact) After the 7th Chapter, you also unlock a bonus level! This bonus level is called the core, and it’s big gimmick is that your dash doesn’t recover when you hit the ground, it only recovers when you collect one of those crystals. It’s really neat so I don’t really want to spoil it, just go play it yourself. One really neat thing that’s worth mentioning is that instead of just using already introduced mechanics in harder ways, it builds off of them and teaches you new moves. This is SUPER neat. It makes the post-game content a lot more fun.
So, that’s Celeste! I’d say this is probably one of my favorite games of all time! It’s a ton of fun to play and experience so if you can, go play it! Thank you for reading and see you next time!