By: Winona Young, Arts Editor
Mountain climbing has never been so adorable — and unbelievably challenging.
Made with a lot of love and effort from a small team of indie developers, Celeste is a video game that has captured the hearts (and frustrations) of many. Users play as a young woman, determined to climb Celeste Mountain, dodging dangerous heights, kooky characters, and more.
When users begin Celeste and press A to continue right, the game surprises you by not only having its maze of levels extend upward, downward, and all other directions, but it only allows gamers to continue forward in the game without falling to their death, otherwise, they need to restart entire levels all over again.
Despite this, the game’s creators understand that some gamers may have difficulty with such obstacles. Therefore, they enabled “Assist Options,” wherein gamers can adjust their level of stamina, their ability to jump, and most importantly, their invincibility (which, yes, literally means you can play without dying for however long you would want.) This just goes to show that Canadian developers Matt Thorson and Noel Berry not only made a good game, but made sure it would be a good game for everybody. (For any pro gamers out there, the menu even includes a speed running clock to be visible on screen while you play!)
In terms of game design and world building, Celeste impressively boasts uniquely complex levels and little quirks/obstacles to match. This makes it a perfect balance of a challenging game, but one that is well-designed rife with great storytelling.
Celeste dives up into a magical world in the mountains, as the protagonist meets more characters, finds out more about herself and her anxiety, and the more about the mountain she’s climbing itself. While the dialogue may be sparse, when it does happen whether it’s between you and an antsy shopkeep or a selfie-loving hiker, the dialogue is lively, hilarious, and slowly reveals an even more intricately rich story.
As for the aesthetics of the game, Celeste is bright, brilliant, and unbearably charming with its classic eight-bit pixel style. Each level and stage are more inventive than the next, and the soundtrack to match.
Overall, Celeste stands as a powerhouse of a game amongst its indie competitors. And for anyone looking for a good game, no matter what your power level, Celeste is gonna take you on a hell of a hike.