The message of “never give up” is laced throughout Celeste’s story and gameplay, which captures immersive heights. Celeste manages to tell an impactful story through immersive and, often times, challenging gameplay.
The story focuses on a young adult named Madeline. Madeline’s goal is to climb Celeste mountain. Her reasoning is unknown to the player at first, but climbing it will reveal answers that were before unseen. Along the journey, players come to adventures that contain inner demons that need sorted out. This provides a heartfelt story that’s not usually found in the 2-D platformer genre.
Celeste’s key gameplay mechanics are simple in nature, which is good because the rest of the game isn’t. The basic components to a platformer is jumping, but where Celeste differs is in adding a dash mechanic that allows the player to thrust forward in order to stay alive. Celeste manages to use these two simple instruments and create a symphony in the process. Each chapter feeling instantly different from the next while still using the same base mechanics found right from the beginning.
Besides trying to get from point A and to point B, there are plenty of side objectives found throughout the chapters. For example, the player finds hidden hearts, strawberries, cassette tapes and more when playing. Each brings an extension to the gameplay and makes the experience last longer than intended. The hidden hearts unlock end-game levels that are harder than anything else the game has to offer. Cassette tapes bring an extra challenge, allowing the player to go through chapters they’ve already completed but far more intriguing platforming. Each reward makes the player think outside the box and gives extra content but also provides challenges in the process. It’s the perfect way to expand progression without making the game feel like it’s overstaying its welcome.
Celeste isn’t just a great platformer, but also an enduring story. It deals with relatable problems such as depression and anxiety, which helps the player to get a better sense of who Madeline is as a character. Sometimes, the player will try to complete a task that seems unattainable in her eyes. It is a fundamental idea found in everyone's hearts. That’s why the gameplay and story mesh beautifully together because they’re both preaching the same unified message — keep on going.