Why Did You Climb It? Because It's There!
From a purely visual point of view, it would be easy to dismiss Celeste as another run of the mill neo-retro indie game. But once you start to play, you'll soon realise that while it does wear its influences on its sleeve, it does something that very few retro games ever did, tell a profound and thought-provoking story.
Celeste is a 2D platform game in which players control a girl named Madeline as she makes her way up a mountain while avoiding various deadly obstacles. Along with jumping and climbing up walls for a limited amount of time, Madeline has the ability to perform a mid-air dash in the eight cardinal and intercardinal directions. This move can only be performed once and must be replenished by either landing on the ground or hitting certain objects such as replenishing crystals.
Celeste has the best 2D platform controls I have played since Super Meat Boy. Simple to learn, but difficult to master. Never when playing the game does it feel like the game is cheating you, if you fail, it's because you messed up. Thankfully the process of dying and coming back to life is extremely quick.
For those that may find some of the later levels a little too hard, there is also an assist mode, It's framed perfectly too - not insulting, not condescending, just accepting. The Assist Mode is granular enough to make the assistance feel like a learning tool. There’s a handful of options available to cycle through at will, like becoming invincible, extending the all-important air dash ability and slowing the whole game down in ten percent intervals. Assist Mode allows for any combination of these to work at any time.
It is impressive in and of itself that these indie developers composed more than two hours of music for a relatively short game (around ten hours to complete all of the main bits, twenty hours if you're a completionist that is going to collect all the strawberries and complete all the "B/C/D side" challenges), and it pays off, because the soundtrack is just beautiful.
I cannot recommend this game enough, I played it on the PS4 and I think this would be the perfect game to play on the Nintendo Switch, it's quick save feature is perfect for pick up and go playing.