Celeste Game Review: A journey through mental health, strawberries


Kaylee Aguilar

Celeste is a highly-praised platform game that was released in January. It touches on the topics of overcoming challenges and anxiety while still maintaining an aesthetic look with its pixel art style.

Andrés Bear, Staff Writer

Few games broach the topic of anxiety in their storyline, let alone their gameplay. Celeste manages to include both in a respectful manner.


Celeste is a platformer on current gen consoles and steam. The game is stylized in a 8/16 bit art style with hand-drawn portraits that appear when characters talk. This allows for versatility in the game’s environments and characters. Following suit, the soundtrack mixes elements of chiptune and piano to complement every playthrough.


“I like how it’s an indie-stylized game. It feels like they smashed a few different art styles together,” said Coppell High School sophomore Camden Southwick, a Nintendo Switch owner. “There are different looks between the background and the character. It all works out really well.”


The game was developed by Matt Thorson, the same indie developer who released Towerfall in 2013. With help from Noel Berry, another notable indie developer, they released Celeste in January. Just a few days after its release, the game was receiving universal acclaim. IGN, a respectable games publication, gave the game a 10/10.


“Celeste blends its story beautifully into the arcade-y game that houses it, making me feel for its characters without ever forcing me to,” IGN journalist Tom Marks said in his review for the game.


Speaking of story, Celeste tells a tale of overcoming anxiety and a physical mountain. The name of the game derives from the mountain that Madeline, the main protagonist, sets out to climb. She meets Theo, a photographer obsessed with social media, and together, they experience many obstacles holding them back from their goal.


The game’s top-notch designs truly push players to achieve that goal. Players are tasked with climbing the mountain by jumping and dashing through screen after screen. Each mistake made along the way feels like it was justified. There is room for error in platforming – just don’t get too comfortable with that mentality.


“I feel like Celeste is challenging in a good way,” said Coppell High School sophomore Paul Valenta, an avid PC player. “Even though you’ll die a thousand times, it makes you want to continue and improve on your platforming. Also, the art style is very unique and gives you a vibrant feel.”


Where Mario 64 had Power Stars and Super Meat Boy had bandages, strawberries are the game’s collectible item. Celeste’s fruity approach to the collectible is completely optional. They are not needed progress, but they are an enticing way to brag to fellow players.


During my playthrough of the game, I was constantly going out of my way to collect strawberries. The enjoyment of seeking the berries added multiple hours to my playthrough. There was a sense of accomplishment after finishing each of the seven chapters with more and more berries.


“The game seems like it’s interesting and fun, the developer put a lot of time and passion into it,” said Coppell High School sophomore Jacob Morse, a connoisseur for games of all types. “The art style has an old-school style with modern age capabilities. It’s very different. The game doesn’t feel slippery, the controls are tight.”


With hours of fun and responsive gameplay, Celeste is a blast to play. It is a game with a message about overcoming obstacles. Once you finish the main seven chapters you’ll feel like you overcame one big obstacle, Celeste Mountain.


Follow Andrés Bear @_andresbear