Celeste: A Simple Game with a Strong Message

On it’s surface, Celeste is just another brutally hard retro precision-platformer. But if you pay attention to the story, Celeste is a beautiful game about mental illness, friendship, and conquering your own personal obstacles. Created by Matt Thorson and his team, who also created the archery/fighting game Towerfall; and with an award winning soundtrack by composer Lena Raine, Celeste is a must-play for everyone.

Celeste begins by introducing the main character. Madeline is a woman who suffers from anxiety. She has resolved herself to climb Celeste Mountain. Right off the bat, she meets an old woman who mysteriously warns her of what lies ahead. She also meets Theo, a kind young man who is famous on the internet. However, a “Part of Madeline” eventually breaks free from her and tries to stop her at every part of the trip. Throughout the game, it becomes clear that this Part of Madeline represents her anxiety, trying to stop Madeline from hurting herself while also imposing on what she needs to get done. I won’t spoil the game, but I will say that the game carries a very powerful message about how to deal with anxiety.

Even beyond the story, Celeste contains incredibly difficult platforming stages. You’ll spend hours completing some of the chapters, but this is not to say that the game is ever too frustrating. Often, a lot of the time is spent on trying to learn the different mechanics of each level rather than on simply dying over and over (although, that does also happen).

Overall, everyone should play Celeste, whether they are looking for an amazing precision-platformer, a powerful story, or a beautiful soundtrack. Celeste is available on Linux, macOS, Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.


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