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Celeste (video game)

Celeste is a platforming video game by Canadian video game developers Matt Thorson and Noel Berry, with art of the Brazilian Studio MiniBoss.[1] 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. A DLC chapter entitled "Farewell" was released on September 9, 2019.[2]

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


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, hitting certain objects such as replenishing crystals, or moving to a new screen (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 room). 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 most chapters of the game 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 is a cassette tape hidden in each chapter that unlocks a "B-Side", a harder version of that chapter. Also, optional "crystal hearts" used to access post-game content are found in every chapter. Beating all the "B-Sides" then unlocks the "C-Side" versions, which consists of very hard but short variations of the chapters. The "B-Sides", "C Sides", and the Farewell DLC chapter all teach the player more complicated movement techniques that are needed to clear otherwise impossible obstacles. 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 "variants" include: speeding the game up, 360 degree dashing, and low friction. These settings serve to make the game both more challenging and more fun. The original Celeste Classic Pico-8 prototype can also be found as a hidden minigame.[3][4]


A young woman named Madeline begins climbing Celeste Mountain, ignoring a warning from an old woman who lives at the base. After the bridge to the Mountain collapses, Madeline makes her way to an old city. Here, she meets a fellow traveler, Theo. Madeline camps out for the night and has a dream in which a dark reflection of herself, which she refers to as "Part of Me", breaks out of a mirror, attempts to stop Madeline from climbing the Mountain, first verbally and then by force.

Upon waking up, Madeline can choose to talk with Theo once more, then continue on to an old hotel on the mountain, where the hotel's ghostly concierge, Mr. Oshiro, tries to persuade Madeline to stay. Madeline feels bad for him and tries to help him clean up the place, but becomes increasingly frustrated with his misguided attempts to get her to stay. During this time is the first forced encounter with Theo. This ultimately leads to Part of Madeline breaking out of one of 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.

After traveling through the Golden Ridge, Madeline meets up with Theo. 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. Inside the mirror, Madeline meets Part of Madeline, who denies any responsibility for the situation. She explains that the mirror is a reflection of Madeline and Theo's mental landscapes and leaves, forcing Madeline to rescue herself and Theo on her own.

After escaping from the temple and the monsters in their heads, Madeline and Theo set up camp for the night. Madeline tells Theo about Part of Her and confides in him about her mental health issues. Theo offers some advice, and Madeline takes this into consideration upon falling asleep, She dreams of meeting Part of Herself again and tells her that she represents everything she needs to leave behind. This angers Part of Madeline, who sends Madeline plummeting, leading her to wake up falling. Stuck in a cave at the bottom of the Mountain, Madeline meets the old woman from the base of the mountain, who suggests that Part of Madeline might just be scared and says that Madeline should try just talking to her. Madeline takes this advice to heart and apologizes to Part of Madeline when she 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. They both view the climb as a transformative experience and vow to cooperate in the future.

One year later, Madeline receives a letter from the old woman, prompting her to return to the Mountain once again and continue investigating its many secrets. Inside, she travels to the heart of the Mountain.

The "Farewell" DLC chapter takes place an unknown amount of time later, after the old woman's death. Madeline missed the old woman's funeral, and resolves to return to the mountain to visit her grave. Madeline then starts chasing after a bird which she believes is Part of Granny. Part of Madeline refuses to help with this, saying that Madeline is in denial. Madeline follows the bird to space. After exploring the environment, she finds a Crystal Heart (which would normally end the chapter). Upon breaking said heart, she doesn't accept Granny is gone, forcing the chapter to continue. As she progresses, she concludes the bird doesn't want her to save Granny. Upon this realization, the environment destabilizes. Some time later, Part of Madeline confronts Madeline, questioning her plans. Part of Madeline convinces her they have to move on from this dream of finding Granny. Madeline soon realizes she's been holding onto a false hope, and decides to save the bird she trapped. Once Madeline reaches the end, she gets to see Granny one last time in her dreams. Madeline wakes up to a call with Theo. He explains he found a picture of Granny and his grandfather at Celeste Mountain.

Development and releaseEdit

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 their older games and Super Mario Maker work.[5] The developers also took inspiration from difficult, NES and Super Nintendo-era platformers, such as Super Mario Bros. 3.[6][7] Berry and Thorson developed the game into a standalone release with over 200 rooms spread between eight chapters.[8] They livestreamed parts of their development process on Twitch. The game was also demoed at the 2016 PAX West Indie Megabooth.[9] Celeste released on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Linux and macOS on January 25, 2018.[10][11] The original Pico-8 prototype is included in the game as an unlockable minigame.[12] The game will eventually receive a limited collector's edition.[13] On September 9, 2019, Chapter 9: Farewell was released, adding 100 new levels and 40 minutes of new music to the game.[14][15] It was the last addition to the game, and no sequel to the game is planned, as the team members behind it plan to move to different game projects.[16]


Aggregate score
Metacritic(XONE) 94/100[17]
(NS) 92/100[18]
(PS4) 91/100[19]
(PC) 88/100[20]
Review scores
Game Informer9/10[22]
Nintendo Life          [25]
Nintendo World Report10/10[26]
PC Gamer (US)80/100[27]

Celeste received "universal acclaim" from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[17][18][19][20] Video game journalists named Celeste among the year's best games.[30] Polygon named the game among the decade's best.[31]

Destructoid's Kevin Mersereau called Celeste "An essential gaming experience," saying "For the first time in ages, I have absolutely nothing to complain about."[21] 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."[24]

The soundtrack of Celeste composed by Lena Raine and released by Materia Collective was highly praised by critics.[21][24] An official piano sheet music book and accompanying piano album was announced[32] and released on January 25, 2019[33] and a licensed lullaby album of jazz music based on the soundtrack, Prescription for Sleep: Celeste, was released in November 2018.[34]

By the end of 2018, over 500,000 copies of the game had been sold.[35]


Celeste team at the 2018 GDC Independent Games Festival, where they won the audience award
Year Award Category Result
2018 National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards 2018[36] Original Light Mix Score, New IP Nominated
Independent Games Festival Awards[37][38] Excellence in Audio Nominated
Audience Award Won
Golden Joystick Awards[39][40][41] Best Indie Game Nominated
Ultimate Game of the Year Nominated
The Game Awards 2018[42][43] Best Score/Music Nominated
Game of the Year Nominated
Games for Impact Won
Best Independent Game Won
Gamers' Choice Awards[44] Fan Favorite Game Nominated
Fan Favorite Single Player Gaming Experience Nominated
Fan Favorite Indie Game Nominated
Titanium Awards[45] Best Indie Game Nominated
Australian Games Awards[46] Independent Game of the Year Nominated
2019 New York Game Awards[47] Big Apple Award for Best Game of the Year Nominated
Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game Nominated
22nd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards[48][49] Action Game of the Year Won
Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game Won
National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards 2019[50][51] Game of the Year Nominated
Control Design, 2D or Limited 3D Nominated
Control Precision Won
SXSW Gaming Awards[52][53] Excellence in Narrative Nominated
Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award Won
Excellence in Musical Score Nominated
Trending Game of the Year Nominated
Video Game of the Year Nominated
Game Developers Choice Awards[54][55] Best Audio Won
Best Design Nominated
Game of the Year Nominated
2019 G.A.N.G. Awards[56][57] Best Music for an Indie Game Nominated
G.A.N.G. / MAGFEST People's Choice Award Won
15th British Academy Games Awards[58] Best Game Nominated
Game Beyond Entertainment Nominated
Game Design Nominated
Game Innovation Nominated
Music Nominated
Italian Video Game Awards[59] Game of the Year Nominated
Best Indie Game Nominated
Game Beyond Entertainment Nominated
ASCAP Composers' Choice Awards[60][61] 2018 Video Game Score of the Year Won

In other mediaEdit

The main character Madeline, as well as "Part of Her", are playable characters in the Nintendo Switch edition of TowerFall.[62]

See alsoEdit


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  33. ^ Makuch, Eddie (January 22, 2019). "A Celeste Piano Album Is Coming, And It Sounds (And Looks) Great".
  34. ^ Life, Nintendo (October 8, 2018). "Exclusive: Treat Your Ears To A Sneak Peek Of Prescription For Sleep: Celeste, A Lullaby Album". Nintendo Life. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit