Ain't No Mountain High Enough
We’ve all had those moments where we feel like we HAVE to do something for our own reasons. Essentially the plot of the game is this and what you must do is climb Mount Celeste. The game plays as a 2D Pixel art platformer which is decidedly lower resolution than a lot of similar indie offerings. Malicious in it’s design it doesn’t directly punish death which will inevitably come from falling, spike trap or boss battle. There are no enemies to speak of, rather the harsh environment is your nemesis. The game tells a touching and meaningful story via short cutscenes and gives a positive message we all should appreciate!
Super simple pixel art style belying its devilish difficulty. The sound track is pretty lonely and easy going save for the boss battles which usually involve a chase and get up-tempo.
+ Loving the fact the game runs at a consistent resolution including rotation/scaling etc. (but ignoring dialogue boxes).
+ Somehow they managed to squeeze variety from just the snowy landscape of the mountain!
- It's super simple and may put some off as a result (not me though!)
The game uses basic climbing, wall jump and air dash controls and throws you through a gauntlet which will test your twitch gamer skills to the limit.
+ Every chapter brings a new twist to the gameplay (and they twist it hard!)
+ Simple and effective controls
+ If it goes wrong you feel like you’re the only one to blame….
+ …and the game doesn’t make you feel like a failure for dying continuously (inspirational loading messages!)
+ Ability to save and resume from whichever room you’ve got to relieves a lot of stress!
- Can’t help but think that some deaths were a little cheap with no real way to avoid. Not many but some.
They’ve managed to fit a fair bit of variety into a setting which is basically just a big cold mountain.
+ The plot is touching and something we can all relate too as well as giving a good message.
+ The story doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game.
- Don’t quite find out exactly what events have led to Madeline wanting to conquer Mount Celeste (doesn’t make it any less relatable though)!
A package which is maximised in the most basic of ways.
+ Every stage holds numerous Strawberries for collection to impress your friends with!
+ B-Side to every chapter (if you can find it), basically a hard mode with no collectibles, just you against the stage.
+ Additional 8th Chapter which can be unlocked if you collect enough Crystal Hearts in the main game. Your dash is limited to 2 uses per screen.
+ Once you’ve done the above you can unlock the C Side of each stage if you’re a real sadist.
- The difficulty will put people off.
- Sticking points around certain stages and boss battles might push you to quit.
You’ll discover within 15 mins whether Celeste is a game for you. Rest assured it throws a lot at you and it is pure evil in places, but it feels great when you finally clear that screen which has taken 50 attempts and 20 minutes of your life.
Something I do enjoy is when a game sets its own rules, mechanics etc. and after teaching you the basics, leaves you then to use them in more and more complicated ways leaving you surprising yourself that you’ve found the right way to complete a task (other examples that come to mind are Disgaea and even Minecraft).
I had a go on this as a recommendation amongst a great sea of indie titles on Steam and I now pay that recommendation forward to you. Give it a try and see if it’s up your alley. You might even learn something about yourself!