"Celeste" is the current game that is filling the void that Axiom Verge left with me...

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Paul Campbell
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"Celeste" is the current game that is filling the void that Axiom Verge left with me...

Postby Paul Campbell » December 6th, 2018, 3:34 pm

Without getting into too much detail (because I want to get back to playing), after having Axiom Verge take over my life for a good month or so, I hit a rut where no game was giving me the rush that Axiom Verge gave me. Not in game play, story, or especially music. I was obsessed with AV for a good month, and then I was obsessed with finding its replacement after I had wrung every last bit of fun out of it I could. Fast forward to a week ago, and downloading Celeste to my Switch has filled the void in my heart that Axiom Verge left when I couldn't find anything else to do in it. I highly recommend it, and you might as well buy a Pro Controller for your Switch at the same time, because you WILL need it. Combine some of the best game play mechanics I have ever seen, with some of the most current and palpable storylines I have seen in a game (let alone a retro-looking game, a deep story about mental and emotion health issues, in my opinion), and music that equals or outshines that of Axiom Verge, and you have Celeste.

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Retro STrife
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Re: "Celeste" is the current game that is filling the void that Axiom Verge left with me...

Postby Retro STrife » December 6th, 2018, 4:00 pm

Thanks for the heads up. I've been planning to get Celeste on the PS4, but I always wait for downloadable games to go on sale, which Sony does pretty often. Hasn't happened yet for Celeste, though.

I'm also looking forward to downloading Iconoclasts, which looks like it's pretty similar to Celeste. It got really good reviews too, although not quite to the same level as Celeste.

Meanwhile, I do have Axiom Verge now, but still haven't gotten around to trying it.... But your post was what finally pushed me to buy it, after I had been on the fence about it for awhile.

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Retro STrife
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Re: "Celeste" is the current game that is filling the void that Axiom Verge left with me...

Postby Retro STrife » December 6th, 2018, 11:51 pm

Speak of the litil divil, Celeste just went on sale today on PS4 for the first time. $13. Just bought it.

Paul Campbell
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Re: "Celeste" is the current game that is filling the void that Axiom Verge left with me...

Postby Paul Campbell » December 7th, 2018, 12:19 am

Awesome. It has a "Super Meat Boy" flavor, but MUCH more sophisticated controls and game play, and very interesting storylines that my wife would sit down and watch. Super Meat Boy interested me at first but the well ran dry pretty quick for me. Celest really caught me off guard because I initially saw the similarities and was a bit worried . The "just one more try" factor is absolutely off the charts with this game, once you get into it. The controls frustrated me at first because they are simple yet sophisticated, and in the heat of the moment you will eventually find yourself doing things you didn't know you could do. It's pretty amazing. And let me reiterate that the music is among the best I have ever heard in ANY video game.

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Retro STrife
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Re: "Celeste" is the current game that is filling the void that Axiom Verge left with me...

Postby Retro STrife » December 8th, 2018, 3:15 pm

For those interested in physical media, Limited Run Games just announced that they’ll be releasing Celeste on PS4 and Switch on January 1. Wish I knew that before I just bought the download on PS4! But, on the bright side, the download was on sale for $13, whereas the physical release will be at least $30.

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Retro STrife
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Re: "Celeste" is the current game that is filling the void that Axiom Verge left with me...

Postby Retro STrife » December 28th, 2018, 1:25 am

Paul Campbell wrote:Awesome. It has a "Super Meat Boy" flavor, but MUCH more sophisticated controls and game play, and very interesting storylines that my wife would sit down and watch. Super Meat Boy interested me at first but the well ran dry pretty quick for me. Celest really caught me off guard because I initially saw the similarities and was a bit worried . The "just one more try" factor is absolutely off the charts with this game, once you get into it. The controls frustrated me at first because they are simple yet sophisticated, and in the heat of the moment you will eventually find yourself doing things you didn't know you could do. It's pretty amazing. And let me reiterate that the music is among the best I have ever heard in ANY video game.


I've been playing through this game the past few weeks -- I've put in about 5 or 6 hours, finished the first 3 levels, and the B-side of level 1 -- and I'm really not sure what to make of it. First off, as a caveat, let me say that I'm not a big fan of platformers to begin with and I'm especially not a fan of punishing platformers like Super Meat Boy. But on the flip side, I did enjoy Shovel Knight and beat that game... Celeste strikes a balance somewhere between Meat Boy and Shovel Knight in terms of how it feels to me. I agree with your assessment of it being a step up in quality from Super Meat Boy, which got boring for me quickly..I gave up on that game early on.

Like you, I was put off by Celeste at first, because it gave me that same Super Meat Boy vibe. But it has slowly grown on me a bit, and I hope the story picks up so that I can stay interested in it. The platforming alone definitely will not keep me hooked on a game like this, unless the story can propel me to keep going forward. I can definitely appreciate the genius in the level design, and the trial-and-error gameplay can be addictive as hell in spurts.. yet the punishing difficulty is enough to keep me away at times too. Overall, I see why it has garnered so much praise, but I'm feeling like it's not going to "fill the void" for me as much as it did for you. But, at least for now, I plan to keep going with it.

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Retro STrife
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Re: "Celeste" is the current game that is filling the void that Axiom Verge left with me...

Postby Retro STrife » March 3rd, 2019, 3:48 pm

I just beat Celeste this weekend.

After 20+ hours, beating all 8 levels and 1 B-side, collecting 150+ strawberries for the best epilogue, and dying over 4000 times in the process... I'm ready with my final verdict on Celeste. Bottom line: IMO, Celeste is just another overrated indie darling - it's absolutely genius in design, but doesn't translate to being fun. And its story is one of the most annoying video game stories I've experienced in my lifetime, with one of the most obnoxious band of characters ever. It's level design is pure genius -- perhaps "best of all time", and that's the only thing saving it. At best, I'd give it a B- rating.

I just posted a more in-depth review of all my thoughts over in the Reader Reviews section, here:

https://videogamecritic.com/forums/view ... 57#p165757

newmodelarmy
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Re: "Celeste" is the current game that is filling the void that Axiom Verge left with me...

Postby newmodelarmy » March 3rd, 2019, 6:37 pm

Retro STrife wrote:I just beat Celeste this weekend.

After 20+ hours, beating all 8 levels and 1 B-side, collecting 150+ strawberries for the best epilogue, and dying over 4000 times in the process... I'm ready with my final verdict on Celeste. Bottom line: IMO, Celeste is just another overrated indie darling - it's absolutely genius in design, but doesn't translate to being fun. And its story is one of the most annoying video game stories I've experienced in my lifetime, with one of the most obnoxious band of characters ever. It's level design is pure genius -- perhaps "best of all time", and that's the only thing saving it. At best, I'd give it a B- rating.

I just posted a more in-depth review of all my thoughts over in the Reader Reviews section, here:

https://videogamecritic.com/forums/view ... 57#p165757


After attempting the same stage like 50 times I gave up on it. This game just wasn't that much fun to me.

Paul Campbell
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Re: "Celeste" is the current game that is filling the void that Axiom Verge left with me...

Postby Paul Campbell » March 3rd, 2019, 8:23 pm

Retro STrife wrote:I just beat Celeste this weekend.

After 20+ hours, beating all 8 levels and 1 B-side, collecting 150+ strawberries for the best epilogue, and dying over 4000 times in the process... I'm ready with my final verdict on Celeste. Bottom line: IMO, Celeste is just another overrated indie darling - it's absolutely genius in design, but doesn't translate to being fun. And its story is one of the most annoying video game stories I've experienced in my lifetime, with one of the most obnoxious band of characters ever. It's level design is pure genius -- perhaps "best of all time", and that's the only thing saving it. At best, I'd give it a B- rating.

I just posted a more in-depth review of all my thoughts over in the Reader Reviews section, here:

https://videogamecritic.com/forums/view ... 57#p165757


Very interesting to read this, as my feelings of the game have softened a bit from my initial statement, and while my feelings are different from yours, I can definitely see where you are coming from. I actually got fairly burned out on the game after being initially thrilled, and I haven't finished it. I may have had more of an appreciation for the story and characters than you did because of the subject matter (mental health, depression, anxiety, etc), and my personal family experience with these matters, and what I saw to be some clever writing and storytelling regarding these issues.

But even as I was enjoying the game, I was never interested in prolonging the torture. I NEVER bothered getting the Strawberries unless they were relative freebies, and that should have told me something.

To be honest, I think I wanted Celeste to fill the void that Axiom Verge left that I gave it too much credit. And it didn't help Celeste's chances to win me over when Hollow Knight came and gave me what I REALLY wanted, and made Celeste seem even more lacking.

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Retro STrife
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Re: "Celeste" is the current game that is filling the void that Axiom Verge left with me...

Postby Retro STrife » March 4th, 2019, 12:56 am

Well it's good to hear your take has changed a bit too, Paul -- it makes me feel a little better about being hard on the game. While my B- might seem like a decent score, it is way below the average for this game. I must be in the vast minority, since almost every critic gave it a 90+ score. But I wonder if they took this torture to the same extremes that I did... With press deadlines being tight, I doubt they played 20+ hours and endured the hell of collecting 150+ strawberries. Celeste is probably more enjoyable if you don't take the hell route like I did -- but, then again, it's a bad sign if a game designed to be hard ends up better when you take the path of least resistance. This game could have been much better if they toned down the challenge -- if I died 1000 or 2000 times instead of 4000, and finished it in 12 hours instead of 20, I might have felt differently. Save the extreme challenge for the bonus B-Side levels.

I also feel compelled to mention that I don't mean to be insensitive toward mental illness based on my hatred of the story and characters, and I hope it isn't taken that way. Certainly, Celeste's story has resonated with many people, and I have read some online postings where people with depression and anxiety have commented that they were brought to tears by the way Celeste handled the subject matter. While I haven't personally dealt with recurrent depression/anxiety, I'd still like to think that I could appreciate the subject matter if I found it to be well-handled. To me, it's just not well-handled, so I end up having no empathy for the characters. I want to like them and feel for them, but they just make themselves so unlikeable by how they talk and act. I'm fine with the clever theme of climbing a mountain to overcome personal demons. Instead, it's the dialogue that kills me. The interactions between Madeline and her "bad inner self" are the worst, but Theo's wandering hippy persona is pretty annoying too. And I hate that Madeline becomes a whiny crybaby if anyone pokes fun at her. Learn to take a joke, Madeline.


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