Celeste - Analysis
Celeste part of a premise as simple as clear and direct: we have to climb a mountain. Regardless, and it will cost us, very much. An old woman who is in the first mountain pass tells us with sarcasm and some bad grapes: Celeste is not going to climb, we are not prepared for the ascent. However, our tenacious and intrepid protagonist, Madeleine, says he intends to reach the top yes or yes. And in this way, jump by jump, screen after screen and death after death, perhaps we can achieve it if we gather enough patience and let ourselves be infected by Madeleine's tenacity. With everything and with that, Celeste is not only a great platform game but also catches for its devilish and addictive gameplay, its amazing narrative, for the charisma of its characters and for a soundtrack that will give us strength to continue climbing.
The playable base and raison d'être of Celeste is to overcome the different scenarios and levels that represent the ascent to the mountain. These levels are composed of several themes and each of them will have its own obstacles which, obviously, we must overcome. The design of levels and screens is simply sublime, few current games recreate with such expertise the sections of platforms. Each jump, each abyss, each obstacle or item is thought as if it were the gear of a great machine in which everything must work with the most absolute precision. And that happens on every screen we see - according to the developers there are more than 600, and our faith is true because each level has multiple paths to travel and several secrets to discover. Because each one is a small puzzle to solve. A kind of trial and error to determine what is the best way to go to the other side and not die trying. Because it will be better to mentalize ourselves to die a lot (very much), and to stumble several times with the same stones.
Celeste is not a frustrating game but it does require a lot of patience. Likewise, dying does not matter since most of the time we will outline a smile before a failure and we will try again as many times as necessary until we overcome that area that resisted us. The "pique" with the game itself is more than guaranteed and there will be few occasions when we can resist to stop playing since Celeste's own mechanics invite you to continue. And, as one of the loading screen titles says, the fact of dying does not matter since in this way we will learn from mistakes and polish our technique. And that is totally true, although the game starts in a friendly way, it won't take long to prove the harsh reality supported by a masterful curve of difficulty. The game will become increasingly difficult but we will be cured of horror thanks to our own mistakes and hundreds of deaths.
However, all this fun difficulty would go to waste if a good control to support it. Fortunately for us, the Celeste control system, apart from simple and effective, is extremely precise something that, given the characteristics of the title, is absolutely essential. We can handle Madeleine with the stick or crosshead - both being equally practical - while with the B button we will jump and the A will help us to accelerate and lengthen the jump, on the other hand the right trigger will be used for Madeleine Climb up the walls. Although we have to take into account several factors: the acceleration is limited - only one use per jump and is reactivated by touching firm ground or taking yellow crystals strategically placed on the stage -, and Madeleine gets tired when climbing so it does not We can be a long time attached to the wall.
Another interesting point of Celeste is the collection of strawberries and the so-called Faces B that are spread over the levels. The collection of strawberries is entirely optional since it only serves to compare statistics with our friends. But it gives a touch of extra difficulty - as if the matter were already simple - and a perfect excuse to replay the levels until we get all the red fruits. On their own, Faces B are cassette tapes that will open new variables to the different scenarios of the base game.
We have already mentioned it before, everything in Celeste overflows great personality and charisma . And that is also seen and heard both in its graphic and sound section. The title of Matt Thorson has a very eighties pixel aesthetic, what this humble editor likes to call "fat brush pixel", both in the characters and on the stage. This retro aspect is not an obstacle for the game to enter through the eyes and be very nice to see thanks, above all, to a brilliant artistic section and a very varied and effective design of the scenarios.
Regarding the soundtrack, which has been composed by Lena Raine, we can say that it accompanies the game perfectly. It is assembled with care and delicacy to what we see on screen adapting its rhythm and cadence according to the situation . An excellent job and that in certain sections will encourage us to continue climbing.
All these variables come together to give the game a very considerable dynamism. In addition to the challenging nature itself and the very well adjusted difficulty - we assure you that you will have very bad intentions for your commands, keyboards or the Switch itself; just in case you play with the windows closed. As we say, all this combination of elements make Celeste one of the best platforms of recent times. And no, it is not an exaggeration.
This independent title can rub elbows, without any blush, with the great platforms that appeared these years. This demonstrates that high budgets are not needed to create a very good videogame but that with talent, a good idea and being able to carry it out is more than enough.