Celeste (video game)

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Celeste box art final.png
Developer(s)Matt Makes Games
Publisher(s)Matt Makes Games
Director(s)Matt Thorson
Designer(s)Matt Thorson
Programmer(s)Noel Berry
Writer(s)Matt Thorson
Composer(s)Lena Raine
ReleaseJanuary 25, 2018

Celeste is a platforming video game by Canadian video game developers Matt Thorson and Noel Berry. The game was originally created as a prototype in four days during a game jam, and later expanded into a full release. Celeste was released in January 2018 on Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, and Linux.


In this screenshot, the player-character, Madeline, is seen dashing mid-air towards an item that replenishes the dash ability.

Celeste is a platform game in which players control a girl named Madeline as she makes her way up a mountain while avoiding various deadly obstacles. Along with jumping and climbing up walls for a limited amount of time, Madeline has the ability to perform a mid-air dash in any direction. This move can only be performed once and must be replenished by either landing on the ground or hitting certain objects such as replenishing crystals (although the player is granted a second dash later on in the game). Throughout each level, the player will encounter additional mechanics, such as springs that launch the player or feathers that allow brief flight, and deadly objects such as spikes which kill Madeline (returning her to the start of the section). Hidden throughout each level are optional strawberries, obtained through challenging platforming or puzzle solving sections, which slightly affect the game's ending depending on how many are collected. Additionally, there are cassette tapes which unlock harder "B-Side" variations of certain levels, and hearts used to access post-game content. Beating all the B-Sides then unlocks the "C-Side" versions, which consists of very hard but short variations upon the levels. The original Celeste Classic Pico-8 prototype can also be found as a hidden minigame.[1]


A young woman named Madeline drives to the fictional Celeste Mountain in Western Canada with the intention of climbing it. As she approaches the base of the mountain, she meets Granny, an old woman who lives alone on the mountain. Granny questions her ability to survive the climb and warns her that the mountain may make her see things, but Madeline, determined to prove otherwise, ignores her and continues toward the mountain, narrowly avoiding her death on a collapsing bridge.

Madeline begins the climb, exploring an abandoned city that was in construction. She meets Theo, an aspiring photographer from Seattle who came to the mountain to follow his dreams after his last job didn't work out. Emerging from the city, Madeline finds a place to camp.

That night, Madeline has a dream in which she explores the next area of the mountain, the ruins of a castle. In the dream, she finds a mirror, from which a dark reflection of herself escapes and runs off. Later she encounters the reflection, who introduces herself as "Part of Madeline" and attempts to stop her from climbing the mountain, by persuasion and then by force. Madeline escapes from the castle ruins and finds a payphone where she realizes she's dreaming after someone she hadn't talked to in years calls her, and then the pay phone eats her. Waking up back at the campsite, Madeline travels into the castle ruins and emerges on the other side with little trouble. She finds the same payphone and calls her mother for the first time in weeks.

Madeline climbs to the Celestial Resort, an old hotel that went out of business and was subsequently abandoned. She is greeted by Mr. Oshiro, the ghost of the hotel's concierge, who believes that the hotel is still open, but is slowly going under. He frantically tries to convince Madeline to stay at the hotel and leads her to the presidential suite, and Madeline follows along, thinking she can climb onto the roof from there and continue toward the summit. When they reach the presidential suite, the dark "Part of Madeline" appears again and tells Oshiro that Madeline was only trying to help him to make herself feel better, and that his hotel is a wreck, before creating a path to the rooftop. On the roof, Oshiro succumbs to his anxieties and transforms into a monster to chase Madeline out of the hotel. As Madeline leaves, Oshiro, regaining his senses, agrees to temporarily close the hotel for repairs.

While climbing through the next area, a windswept ridge, she encounters Granny again, who offers her a path down to her car. Madeline declines and learns that Granny is well aware of the mountain's supernatural properties. She continues along the ridge and eventually makes it to a tram car heading to the next area. Theo catches up to Madeline and the two begin to ride up together. The "Part of Madeline" reappears and causes the tram car to stall over a massive drop, and Madeline begins having a panic attack. Theo helps her calm down with a technique his late grandfather taught him, and the tram makes it across the gap.

Climbing together now, the two enter the Mirror Temple, an ancient temple full of mirrors and statues of strange eyeball creatures. The two get separated and Madeline later finds Theo's cell phone, and then Theo, but trapped in a mirror. Madeline keeps exploring the temple and ends up getting pulled into a mirror world herself. In the mirror world, Madeline finds a world made from hers and Theo's collective fears and anxieties, and finds Theo trapped in a crystal surrounded by staring eyes. Madeline manages to break Theo loose and starts to carry his crystal prison out of the temple, escaping flying eyeball monsters, Madeline's "Part of Her," and a massive giant eye at the temple's heart. The two manage to break the crystal and escape the temple, and Madeline and Theo camp for the night.

As they recover from the events in the temple, Theo and Madeline bond over their respective histories and mental illnesses. Madeline admits her reasoning for coming to the mountain was to try to overcome her depression and anxieties by giving herself a feeling of accomplishment. Theo talks about his sister, who also suffers from depression, and about his late grandfather, who got him into photography in the first place. The two end the night on good terms, taking a selfie to memorialize the occasion.

That night, Madeline has a dream in which she confronts "Part of Her," and attempts to let her go, realizing that she's a manifestation of all of the aspects of her personality that she views as bad. The "Part of Her" reacts badly, and attempts to retaliate by attacking her. Madeline attempts to calm herself down using Theo's technique, but the "Part of Her" breaks her focus and throws her down the mountain, waking her up and, in the chaos, causing her to fall down the mountain as well.

Surviving her fall by landing in a pool of water in a forest of crystal, Madeline reflects as she aimlessly wanders. She encounters Granny, who admits that she actually did think Madeline would make it to the summit, even if it was just out of spite for herself. She offers Madeline a path back to her car, to which Madeline almost agrees, before asking if Granny has any advice on how to defeat the "Part of Her." Granny suggests that the "Part of Her" is scared and struggling too, and suggests maybe just talking to her. Madeline takes the advice to heart and finds the "Part of Her." Madeline apologizes to her and offers to work together. The "Part of Her" attempts to retaliate and fight back, but Madeline manages to wear her down enough to convince her that it's okay to be scared, and that if they work together they can do anything. The "Part of Her" merges with Madeline, allowing them to dash an additional time in the air and launch themselves high into the sky in the right areas.

Together, the two escape the crystal forest and commit to climbing to the summit. Working together, the two work their way back up the mountain and finally reach the summit. Acknowledging that once Madeline leaves Celeste Mountain, the "Part of Her" will lose her ability to manifest in the real world, the two enjoy the view for a bit before returning down the mountain, where the two of them, Granny, Theo, and Mr. Oshiro meet back at Granny's house, and Madeline cooks them a strawberry pie with all of the strawberries collected on the mountain.

Development and release[edit]

Noel Berry (Skytorn) and Matt Thorson (TowerFall) created a prototype of Celeste in four days during a game jam. The result was a difficult platformer with 30 levels for the Pico-8 fantasy video game console designed for speedrunning and precision reflexes. Kill Screen noted that the game was a departure from Thorson's TowerFall, and had more in common with the game mechanics of his older games and Super Mario Maker work.[2] The developers also used ideas from difficult, Super Nintendo-era platformers.[3] Berry and Thorson developed the game into a standalone release with over 90 levels.[4] They livestreamed parts of their development process on Twitch. The game was also demoed at the 2016 PAX West Indie Megabooth.[5] Celeste released on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Linux and macOS on January 25, 2018. The original Pico-8 prototype is included in the game as an unlockable minigame.[6][7][8]


Aggregate score
Metacritic(XONE) 94/100[9]
(NS) 92/100[10]
(PS4) 91/100[11]
(PC) 88/100[12]
Review scores
Game Informer9/10[14]
Nintendo Life10/10 stars[17]
Nintendo World Report10/10[18]
PC Gamer (US)80/100[19]

Celeste received "universal acclaim" from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[9][10][11][12]

Destructoid's Kevin Mersereau called Celeste "An essential gaming experience," saying "For the first time in ages, I have absolutely nothing to complain about."[13] Tom Marks from IGN praised the game's story, and the way it was blended with the gameplay, saying "I cared deeply about Madeline's struggle and empathized with her in a way I wasn't expecting."[16]

The soundtrack of Celeste composed by Lena Raine and released by Materia Collective was highly praised by critics.[13][16] A sheet music book and piano album was announced in early 2018[22] and a licensed lullaby album of jazz music based on the soundtrack, Prescription for Sleep: Celeste, was released in November 2018.[23]


Year Award Category Result Ref
2018 National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards Original Light Mix Score, New IP Nominated [24]
Independent Games Festival Awards Excellence in Audio Nominated [25][26]
Audience Award Won
Golden Joystick Awards Best Indie Game Pending [27][28]
Ultimate Game of the Year Pending
The Game Awards 2018 Game of the Year Pending [29]
Best Score/Music Pending
Games for Impact Pending
Best Independent Game Pending
Celeste team at the 2018 GDC Independent Games Festival, where they won the audience award

In other media[edit]

The main character Madeline, as well as her counterpart Badeline, are playable characters in the Nintendo Switch edition of TowerFall.[30]


  1. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (July 20, 2016). "Towerfall dev's next game Celeste recalls Super Meat Boy". Eurogamer. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  2. ^ Hudgins, Amanda (July 26, 2016). "Next up for the creator of Towerfall, A game about climbing a Mountain". Kill Screen. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  3. ^ Alexander, Julia (February 22, 2017). "Towerfall developer's next game, Celeste, heading to the Nintendo Switch". Polygon. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  4. ^ "Celeste is the insanely difficult and insanely cute platformer we Deserve". Kill Screen. August 11, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  5. ^ Robinson, Nick (August 26, 2016). "Watch 10 minutes of gameplay from Celeste, the next game from TowerFall's creators". Polygon. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  6. ^ @NoelFB (January 11, 2018). "Celeste is launching January 25" (Tweet). Retrieved January 28, 2018 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ "Celeste on Steam". Valve Corporation. January 25, 2018. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  8. ^ http://uk.ign.com/wikis/celeste/Chapter_3-_Celestial_Resort
  9. ^ a b "Celeste for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Celeste for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Celeste for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Celeste for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  13. ^ a b c Mersereau, Kevin (January 25, 2018). "Review: Celeste". Destructoid. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Reeves, Ben (February 6, 2018). "A Mountain Worth Climbing - Celeste - Switch". Game Informer. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  15. ^ Dayus, Oscar (January 26, 2018). "Celeste Review: More Than Just A Great Platformer". GameSpot. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  16. ^ a b c Marks, Tom (January 25, 2018). "Celeste Review". IGN. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Cousins, Jon (January 26, 2018). "Celeste Review - Switch eShop". Nintendo Life. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  18. ^ Ronaghan, Neal (January 25, 2018). "Celeste (Switch) Review". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  19. ^ Prescott, Shaun (January 25, 2018). "Celeste review". PC Gamer. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  20. ^ Frushtick, Russ (January 25, 2018). "Celeste review". Polygon. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  21. ^ Ahern, Colm (January 31, 2018). "Celeste review". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  22. ^ Lena, Raine. https://twitter.com/kuraine/status/967900071709761536. Retrieved 20 September 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2018/10/exclusive_treat_your_ears_to_a_sneak_peek_of_prescription_for_sleep_celeste_a_lullaby_album
  24. ^ "Horizon wins 7; Mario GOTY". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. March 13, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  25. ^ Whitney, Kayla (March 22, 2018). "Complete list of 2018 Independent Games Festival Awards Winners". AXS. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  26. ^ Chan, Stephanie (March 21, 2018). "Night in the Woods wins the grand prize at the Independent Games Festival". Venture Beat. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  27. ^ Hoggins, Tom (September 24, 2018). "Golden Joysticks 2018 nominees announced, voting open now". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  28. ^ Andronico, Michael (October 26, 2018). "Golden Joystick Awards: Vote for Ultimate Game of the Year". Tom's Guide. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  29. ^ McWhertor, Michael (November 13, 2018). "The Game Awards 2018 nominees led by God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2". Polygon. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  30. ^ https://www.polygon.com/2018/8/28/17791722/towerfall-nintendo-switch-release-date-celeste-nindies

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Celeste (video game) at Wikimedia Commons