A platforming game in which you play as a girl named Madeline in her attempt to scale to the top of Celeste Mountain.
Pro The theme of overcoming anxiety and depression is tied into the gameplay
The game reinforces the attitude of never giving up, even in the face of a seemingly impossible challenge or self-doubt, and does this by tying this heartfelt theme into the gameplay itself.
As Madeline sets out to scale to the top of the mountain, she will encounter a lot of depression, anxiety and self-doubt along the way, which literally manifests into an alternative version of herself simply called "Part of Me". A part of ourselves many of us are all too familiar with.
During the more challenging parts of the game, this other self will appear to taunt, belittle, and even chase Madeline around telling her she's not good enough, and she'll never reach the top. She'll be a constant source of doubt throughout the duration of the game.
But, after every player death, failure, and missed jump, the game will gently remind the player to "Keep going. You've got this!" and "You're learning!" along with other inspiring messages that encourage you to push past the doubt, and keep trying until you beat each challenging level.
Pro "B side" collectibles for those who crave a deeper challenge
In each level, there is a single hidden cassette tape, often in a hard to reach area. The platforms in these areas move to the beat of the level's soundtrack, and have to be correctly navigated to reach the tape. Similar to how old school cassettes tapes had two sides, collecting this tape will unlock the "B side" of each level.
This presents the player with a much more challenging version of the level, adding new jumps, traps, and dangers. These remixed levels are extremely difficult and will provide a challenge for even the most seasoned platforming veteran. So if you've beaten the base game, and crave even more of a challenge, you will be pleased with this feature.
Pro Frequent checkpoints keep the game moving along
Checkpoints are encountered quite often, so when you inevitably die, you won't have to replay a huge portion of the level. This helps to keep the frustration to a minimum when tackling a particularly tricky section of a level, and lets you practice the part that's giving you trouble rather than making you replay the entire level.
Pro The platforming consistently adds new movement mechanics
The platforming definitely isn't stale and consistently adds new movement mechanics to keep things feeling fresh throughout your run. Glowing red orbs will send you flying in a certain direction, jump pads will blast you high into the air, and diamonds will give you an extra dash in mid air. Jumping, bouncing, and climbing around the various levels just feels fluid and fun with all these extra goodies that are seemingly endless and continually add flavor into the platforming aspect. There's a lot of "oh, that's cool!" moments when playing and discovering something new for the first time such as using a group of diamonds to chain a jump that's not only fun to watch, but fun to perform.
Pro Great variation in level mechanics to keep players on their toes
Each level features its own environmental hazard, which means players will have to adjust their strategies from time to time. One level is filled with winds that shift, sometimes assisting you across wide gaps and at other times stopping your progression forward or causing you to miss jumps. Another is shrouded in darkness with the area only illuminated when you're in mid-jump. Regardless of the hazard at play, they all add an extra level of challenge to keep players on their toes, even if they're seasoned platforming veterans.
Pro Optional assist mode for players who aren't good with platforming
For those who may not be so good at the platforming aspect of the game, Celeste offers an assist mode which allows players of all skill levels to experience the game in full. During gameplay, there are a few on-demand options available to do things such as become invincible (avoid spike traps and enemies), extend the air dash (jump further), and even slow the whole game down in 10% intervals. This is a great addition that makes the game accessible for all skill levels, and it's completely optional so that players who want the full challenge don't have to use it.
Con You'll die a lot
Although dying in this game helps to reinforce the game's overall theme of never giving up in the face of a challenge, this can be a turn off to some players. Missing the same jumps and landing on the same spike traps constantly can only happen so many times before it becomes frustrating more than fun.
Con Wind mechanic can be unfair
During one level, there is wind that pushes and blows you around, but it doesn't always work in your favor. It may send you hurtling off a steep drop right into a spike trap or ruin your carefully timed midair dash. It's very random which way it'll decide to move you, and can therefore feel unfair at times.