Game Mechanics Analysis: Celeste

Celeste is an indie game released in 2018, developed and published by Matt Makes Games. It follows Madeline on her journey to the summit of Celeste Mountain.

Official artwork of Celeste from the Switch’s eShop.

The game mechanics of Celeste are difficult yet incredibly rewarding, especially because the game does not punish you for failing. Rather, it rewards you for taking risks, but those risks are unnecessary when it comes to winning the game.

Celeste is a platformer, one I would consider to be a fairly challenging game. It isn’t unfair like games such as I Wanna Be the Guy, which was built entirely to be an infuriating challenge. Also, while it centers around climbing to the top of a mountain (much like that Getting Over It game that was so popular a little while ago), it never throws you back to the bottom if you mess up.

One of the interesting mechanics found in Celeste that I haven’t seen in other platformers is that there is no double-jump mechanic, but instead a dash mechanic that shoots you off in one of eight different directions of your choosing, and it doesn’t recharge until you hit the ground. Considering how much climbing and dodging spikes needs to happen in every level, it’s important to use the dash only when it is necessary and not waste your only chance. Granted, I’m sure other games have done something like this, but this is my first time running into this specific mechanic.

A screenshot from one of the early levels of the game, showcasing both the dash mechanic in action and also some of the many spikes you don’t want to be running into during your playthrough.

This game is not entirely forgiving, but it does want its players to enjoy the ride. It walks a fine line between challenging and absolutely maddening, and it does so with a lot of heart and care from its developers. When you play this, you can really tell that people put a lot of work and love into the project.

Madison
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One thought on “Game Mechanics Analysis: Celeste

  1. The game also features many accessibility options under assist mode in the settings menu where specific mechanics can be altered.

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