Last year, Nintendo Switch owners got to explore lots of interesting worlds, some of which featured incredible mountains for players to scale.
This year is keeping up with that tradition.
Celeste, the Switch’s newest 2D plat former,hones in on that specific aspect, with the main objective being to jump, dash, and climb your way to the top of a mysterious mountain.
Oh, and the game even takes place in a faraway, magical world – Canada.
Prior to playing Celeste, I really only knew two things.
It was a plat former, and that it was going to be hard.
After completing it, I can definitely say that both of those are still true, but the game really is so much more than that.
Perhaps what surprised me most was the story.
Unlike most plat former that have simple stories that don’t really leave much of an impact, Celeste did.
It starts simply enough – Madeline, the main character, wants to climb a mountain in order to escape the daily frustrations of regular life.
However, as you climb higher up the mountain the game not only gets more challenging for the player, but it also becomes mentally challenging for Madeline.
I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that I think the developers did a great job at giving the player a glimpse into the mind of someone that is struggling not just with climbing a mountain, but dealing with life in general.
I really did find the story of Celeste to be compelling, and it was definitely a main factor in driving me towards the end of this game.
It did help, however, that the platforming and level design is some of the best I’ve ever seen.
The levels, or chapters, follow a Nintendo-esquedesign philosophy, where each chapter introduces a new element or two, and as the chapter progresses,those elements are used in new and more challenging situations.
I absolutely love this kind of level design,as I feel like I’m constantly improving and learning the mechanics of the game in new and interesting ways.
The controls are extremely tight – as in,I always felt like I had 100% control of my character, and any failure in platforming was by my own doing, not the game’s.
Like Super Mario Odyssey, the game only makes use of three buttons, being jump, dash, and climb.
I really love how these three simple actions can be strung together to pull off a number of different amazing platforming moves.
I was even discovering new ways to combine these actions during one of the final challenges of the post-game, which impressed me, as that doesn’t happen too often.
While we are on the subject of post-game,let me just say that there’s a LOT to do once the credits roll.
Every stage features a number of strawberries,the game’s equivalent of a Star Coin from the Super Mario games.
Collecting them involves taking on more difficult challenges or finding secret, breakable walls.
And don’t worry – these breakable walls aren’t as hard to find as the original Zelda’s.
However, the true bulk of the post-game content is found in the “B-side” of every chapter, which is accessed by finding a hidden cassette tape–which for you kids out there, was a music tape that could be flipped over for more content.
Hence the “b-Side,” which in this case,is basically a more difficult version of the chapter.
And they are absolutely brutal–I died as many times on the first chapter’s B-side as I did during the main game’s final level.
But like the rest of the chapters, none of the B-sides that I have completed have ever felt unfair.
It’s a great challenge for those looking for it.
I’ve already praised the game play and story,but I haven’t even begun to talk about possibly my favorite thing about Celeste – the music.
The soundtrack truly captures the feeling of climbing up a mountain.
From the slow, beautiful tracks that are played between stages and during restful cut scenes to the fast, energetic ones played while platforming,every song was a pleasure to listen to.
I can distinctly recall a moment during one of the final cut scenes where I just put the controller down and just soaked in the music,refusing to advance the dialogue.
And I would have done that during the platforming sections too, if I wasn’t so eager to avenge the countless lives I had already spent in the level.
As you can probably tell, I quite enjoyed the time I spent with Celeste.
It’s a game that has brought me hours of fun, and I’m sure it will continue to bring me much more as I try and finish collecting everything it has to offer.
I loved Celeste, and I’m excited to say it’s one of my favorite 2D plat formers put out on a Nintendo system.
Thanks for watching and make sure to subscribeto GameXplain for more reviews and everything Nintendo Switch!.