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 2018, the video game website Polygon listed Celeste fifth in their list of Games of the Year.


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 the eight cardinal and intercardinal directions. 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). Players can also access an Assist Mode, where they can change some attributes about the game's physics. Some of these include: infinite air-dashes, invincibility, or slowing the game's speed. 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 crystal 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. Upon clearing all "C-Sides", the player can access the Variants menu. The Variants menu allows players to change the game's physics in a way similar to the game's Assist Mode. Some of these "variant" settings include: speeding the game up, 360 degree dashing, and low friction to all flat surfaces. These settings serve to make the game either more challenging or more fun. The original Celeste Classic Pico-8 prototype can also be found as a hidden minigame. [1]


A young woman named Madeline begins climbing Celeste Mountain, ignoring a warning from Granny (an old woman who lives there). After a short climb, Madeline camps out for the night, where she has a dream in which a dark reflection of herself, known as "Part of Madeline", breaks out of a mirror, attempts to stop Madeline from climbing the Mountain, first verbally and then by force.

Upon waking up, Madeline continues to an old hotel on the mountain, where the hotel's ghostly concierge, Mr. Oshiro, tries to persuade Madeline to stay. Madeline, feeling bad for him, tries to help him with his various problems, but becomes increasingly frustrated with his misguided attempts to keep her there. This ultimately leads to Part of Madeline breaking out of one the hotel's mirrors and creating an escape route for Madeline; however, she insults Mr. Oshiro in the process, leading him to angrily chase Madeline out of the hotel.

Later, Madeline meets up with Theo, another hiker who she had intermittently encountered along the way. As the two of them use an ancient gondola to cross a chasm, Part of Madeline appears and causes the gondola to stall, leading Madeline to have a panic attack until Theo calms her down. After the gondola starts up again and reaches its destination—an ancient temple—Theo decides to explore it against Madeline's wishes, leading first him and then her to become entrapped in the temple's mirrors. In the mirror realm, Madeline meets Part of Madeline, who denies any responsibility for the situation and leaves, forcing Madeline to rescue herself and Theo on her own.

After escaping from the temple, Madeline falls asleep and dreams of meeting Part of Madeline, who Madeline says represents everything that she needs to let go; angered, Part of Madeline sends Madeline plummeting, leading her to fall down the mountain when she awakens. At the base of the mountain, Madeline meets Granny, who says that Part of Madeline might just be scared and suggests that Madeline should try just talking to Part of Madeline. Madeline takes this advice to heart and apologizes to Part of Madeline when Madeline next meets her, offering to work together with Part of Madeline instead of pushing her away; Part of Madeline initially lashes out due to Madeline's former attitude towards her, but after Madeline wears her down, Part of Madeline ultimately relents, merging with Madeline. Together, the two work their way back up the mountain and finally reach the summit.

One year later, Madeline returns to explore the Mountain's secrets.

Development and release[edit]

Noel Berry (Skytorn) and Matt Thorson (TowerFall) created a prototype of Celeste in four days during a game jam, now named Celeste Classic. 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 took inspiration from difficult, Super Nintendo-era platformers.[3] Berry and Thorson developed the game into a standalone release with over 200 rooms spread between eight chapters.[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.[6][7] The original Pico-8 prototype is included in the game as an unlockable minigame.[8] The game is set to receive a limited collector's edition.[9] Thorson stated that he plans to release a set of "farewell levels" for Celeste some time in 2019.[10]


Aggregate score
Metacritic(XONE) 94/100[11]
(NS) 92/100[12]
(PS4) 91/100[13]
(PC) 88/100[14]
Review scores
Game Informer9/10[16]
Nintendo Life10/10 stars[19]
Nintendo World Report10/10[20]
PC Gamer (US)80/100[21]

Celeste received "universal acclaim" from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[11][12][13][14] Video game journalists named Celeste among the year's best games.[24]

Destructoid's Kevin Mersereau called Celeste "An essential gaming experience," saying "For the first time in ages, I have absolutely nothing to complain about."[15] 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."[18]

The soundtrack of Celeste composed by Lena Raine and released by Materia Collective was highly praised by critics.[15][18] A sheet music book and piano album was announced in early 2018[25] and a licensed lullaby album of jazz music based on the soundtrack, Prescription for Sleep: Celeste, was released in November 2018.[26]

By the end of 2018, over 500,000 copies of the game has been sold.[10]


Year Award Category Result Ref
2018 National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards Original Light Mix Score, New IP Nominated [27]
Independent Games Festival Awards Excellence in Audio Nominated [28][29]
Audience Award Won
Golden Joystick Awards Best Indie Game Nominated [30][31][32]
Ultimate Game of the Year Nominated
The Game Awards 2018 Best Score/Music Nominated [33][34]
Game of the Year Nominated
Games for Impact Won
Best Independent Game Won
Gamers' Choice Awards Fan Favorite Game Nominated [35]
Fan Favorite Single Player Gaming Experience Nominated
Fan Favorite Indie Game Nominated
Australian Games Awards Independent Game of the Year Nominated [36]
2019 New York Game Awards Big Apple Award for Best Game of the Year Pending [37]
Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game Pending
D.I.C.E. Awards Action Game of the Year Pending [38]
Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game Pending
Game Developers Choice Awards Best Audio Pending [39]
Best Design Pending
Game of the Year 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 "Part of Her", are playable characters in the Nintendo Switch edition of TowerFall.[40]


  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. ^ McWhertor, Michael (December 28, 2018). "Celeste is getting a great collectors edition". Polygon. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Kerr, Chris (December 27, 2018). "Celeste has sold over 500,000 copies since January". Gamasutra. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Celeste for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Celeste for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Celeste for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Celeste for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c Mersereau, Kevin (January 25, 2018). "Review: Celeste". Destructoid. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  16. ^ Reeves, Ben (February 6, 2018). "A Mountain Worth Climbing - Celeste - Switch". Game Informer. Archived from the original on March 4, 2018. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  17. ^ Dayus, Oscar (January 26, 2018). "Celeste Review: More Than Just A Great Platformer". GameSpot. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  18. ^ a b c Marks, Tom (January 25, 2018). "Celeste Review". IGN. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  19. ^ Cousins, Jon (January 26, 2018). "Celeste Review - Switch eShop". Nintendo Life. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  20. ^ Ronaghan, Neal (January 25, 2018). "Celeste (Switch) Review". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  21. ^ Prescott, Shaun (January 25, 2018). "Celeste review". PC Gamer. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  22. ^ Frushtick, Russ (January 25, 2018). "Celeste review". Polygon. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  23. ^ Ahern, Colm (January 31, 2018). "Celeste review". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  24. ^
  25. ^ Lena, Raine. https://twitter.com/kuraine/status/967900071709761536. Retrieved 20 September 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2018/10/exclusive_treat_your_ears_to_a_sneak_peek_of_prescription_for_sleep_celeste_a_lullaby_album
  27. ^ "Horizon wins 7; Mario GOTY". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. March 13, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  28. ^ Whitney, Kayla (March 22, 2018). "Complete list of 2018 Independent Games Festival Awards Winners". AXS. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  29. ^ Chan, Stephanie (March 21, 2018). "Night in the Woods wins the grand prize at the Independent Games Festival". Venture Beat. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  30. ^ Hoggins, Tom (September 24, 2018). "Golden Joysticks 2018 nominees announced, voting open now". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  31. ^ Andronico, Michael (October 26, 2018). "Golden Joystick Awards: Vote for Ultimate Game of the Year". Tom's Guide. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  32. ^ Sheridan, Connor (November 16, 2018). "Golden Joystick Awards 2018 winners: God of War wins big but Fortnite gets Victory Royale". GamesRadar+. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  33. ^ McWhertor, Michael (November 13, 2018). "The Game Awards 2018 nominees led by God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2". Polygon. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  34. ^ Grant, Christopher (December 6, 2018). "The Game Awards 2018: Here are all the winners". Polygon. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  35. ^ Glyer, Mike (November 19, 2018). "2018 Gamers' Choice Awards Nominees". File 770. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  36. ^ "Your 2018 Winners". Australian Games Awards. December 19, 2018. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  37. ^ Keyes, Rob (January 3, 2019). "2018 New York Game Awards Nominees Revealed". Screen Rant. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  38. ^ Makuch, Eddie (January 10, 2019). "God Of War, Spider-Man Lead DICE Awards; Here's All The Nominees". GameSpot. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  39. ^ Good, Owen S. (January 4, 2019). "Red Dead Redemption 2 tops list of Game Developers Choice nominees". Polygon. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  40. ^ 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