The game's logo, depicting Celeste Mountain

Celeste is a critically acclaimed side-scrolling platform game[1] created by Matt Makes Games Inc.[2] The game was released on January 25, 2018, for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.[3] The game follows a young transgender woman[4] named Madeline as she climbs the titular Celeste Mountain, facing opposition from both the mountain's natural obstacles and from within herself.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Celeste's gameplay features fast and tight controls along a series of challenging platforming sublevels that make up a larger Chapter. It follows the simple to learn and hard to master controls that are a staple of its genre, and gameplay has often been compared to others, like Super Meat Boy.[5]

The Prologue introduces players to the basic controls, such as jumping and the ability to climb walls. The dash—one of the main movement options in the game—is gifted to the player at the end of the level, seemingly by the Bird. This dash is the core mechanic of Celeste's gameplay, giving the player a short burst forward in the direction that the player is holding. It can only be used a limited number of times, and must be refreshed before dashing again. The status of the player's available dashes is indicated by Madeline's hair colour. Refreshing the dash is done in a multitude of ways, but the main actions include touching the ground, collecting stamina crystals and screen transitions.

The sublevels, and by extension the game's Chapters, get progressively harder as more mechanics and obstacles are introduced, and the use of these elements merge and flow together the closer the player gets to the summit. Towards the endgame, Celeste introduces many more moves that use various combinations of the basic three moves (jumping, climbing, and dashing) in tandem; these techniques are explored in detail on the Moves page.

Collectibles[edit | edit source]

Chapters[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

The original Celeste (now called Celeste Classic[2] and appearing as a mini-game in the full Celeste game[6]) was developed in Pico-8 by Noel Berry and Matt Thorson for a game jam over the course of 4 days. This game had 30 segments, which each had one strawberry to collect.[7] The game now referred to as Celeste was first playable at PAX West 2016,[2] and the game itself was released January 25, 2018.[3]

In December 2018, Thorson officially announced that Celeste would get a set of "farewell levels", which would be ready in early 2019.[8] In January 2019, Thorson stated the new levels would consist of a single chapter with no alternate sides or strawberries.[9] In April 2019, Thorson revealed that the chapter would be called Farewell, and would be a free DLC update on all platforms.[10] In May 2019, Berry added that the chapter has something to do with the Bird, but did not add further details.[11] The final chapter was finally released in an update on the 9th of September 2019.

Reception[edit | edit source]

Celeste garnered positive reception from multiple review studios. IGN, the game's first reviewer, gave the game a 10/10,[12] Polygon rated Celeste an 8/10,[13] and the current standing on Metacritic is averaged 91% across its platforms, with an average user score of 7.3/10.[14]

Celeste also was nominated for Game of the Year, next to God of War (the winner), Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, and Monster Hunter World. Most notably though, this game has been received as though it was a love-letter to speedrunners. It became a common appearance at GDQ quite quickly, having 4 runs between 3 GDQs (two TAS, two human)[15]. On speedrun.com, this game often sits in the top ten most active speed games.[16] As of September 2019, Celeste had the most active players on all of Speedrun.com.[17]

Many people who have played this game have noted that it is a fantastic analogue for depression and anxiety. Jirard Khalil (host of the Completionist) stated, "It's not the first video game about mental health, [and it's] not the first to use a mountain as a metaphor for one's personal struggles, but that doesn't matter because Celeste just knocks it right out of the park. [...] Now obviously, no two people are going to have the exact same experience when it comes to mental illness, [...] but it absolutely nails the feeling of trying to take care of your own mental and emotional health."[18]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Noel Berry has stated that the name of the setting was chosen when Berry googled British Columbian mountains; the team chose Mount Celeste as they liked the name of it, despite not knowing much about the mountain at the time.[19]

References[edit | edit source]

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