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Thread: Freedom Planet: My Dream Game Finally Arrives!!

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    IMPress Polly's Avatar Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Xl View Post
    Well I'm looking for some new games and indie games are cheap so any suggestions are welcomed. All I have right now is Pokemon and Smash Bros. What is Celeste about?
    It's a platforming game where you climb a mountain called Celeste. Narratively, the mountain has a double-meaning, as our protagonist, whose default name is Madeline (though you can alter it), needs to conquer a real challenge to gain a sense of confidence in herself. She struggles with anxiety and depression. The mountain has mysterious powers that, along the way, give her self-doubt and distrust of people, her id, a separate body, whom internet has dubbed "Badeline". (Badeline is the character you see in my current avatar.) Badeline torments Madeline repeatedly as she tries to conquer Mount Celeste, but along the way, she (Madeline) meets a few new friends in unexpected and beautiful ways, and they help her.

    Following a catastrophic relapse, represented by a plunge all the way back to the foot of the mountain, Madeline realizes that the key to reaching the summit is accepting and loving her whole self, including Badeline, instead of trying to get rid of those dark elements. Doing so changes them both in time.

    So thematically, Celeste is about navigating mental illness. Although with its focus specifically on anxiety and depression, obviously I find this game especially compassionate and wonderful (and a pretty accurate metaphor for how these struggles really work; it does often feel like there's another you who is always dragging you down and you can't just will that away like so many lazy, ignorant TV portrayals have suggested, and relapses are real and part of it), people who don't struggle with these things also find that this game helps them understand and empathize with those of us who do. So that's what it's about.

    Gameplay-wise, Celeste is the best platforming game ever made, IMO. It's extremely simple to learn (and the controls are flawlessly responsive) and offers a very natural, gradual escalation of challenge. Make no mistake though, this game becomes very tough. Even veterans of 2D platforming find much of the game very challenging. I'd been playing 2D platformers for more than 26 years before I first picked up this game early this year and I had to turn on a couple cheats (invincibility and infinite jumps) to make it through the last one-third of the final stage because, after 473 failed attempts at crossing the same screen (you get infinite lives and the game saves your progress automatically every screen), it became clear to me that it wasn't going to happen for me otherwise if that helps make this point clear. So although the narrative is really more effective if you don't use cheats, there's no shame in having to after a certain point really. The challenge, together with flawless controls that made it clear that the game wasn't just being unfair, actually enhanced the particular story this game wanted to tell and made it more worthwhile to me.

    One of the rare design features of this game is that there are only two enemy characters in the game, and you actually reconcile with both of them narratively by the end, so the focus of the aforementioned challenge is pretty exclusively on the platforming itself, not enemy placement. The lack of enemies to avoid or defeat made this game really stand out for me among platforming games and made me come to feel like games that include large numbers of enemy characters are maybe kind of copping out on quality design; like maybe that's just used as an alternative to actually designing a quality platforming challenge well. So it gave me a new philosophical perspective on design choices that developers use in this genre as well.

    And if the main game is not enough of a challenge for you (somehow), there are also unlockable alternate versions of each stage (called the B-sides) that up the difficulty level even further. You unlock them by finding hidden cassette tapes in each stage. (Hence why Badeline is holding one in my avatar.) Speaking of which, yeah, this game employs lots of retro callbacks and aesthetics that way. Graphics-wise, for instance, it uses NES-style pixel art and the soundtrack is chiptunes style. I can be a sucker for nostalgia, so I enjoyed that aspect of the game too. It's just really good. Everyone I know who has played the game loved it. It's in the running for Game of the Year awards too. It won't win because it's an indie, but IMO it really should.

    It's available on like every platform, including Switch. Here's a trailer:

    Last edited by IMPress Polly; 12-09-2018 at 11:48 AM.

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