One of last decade’s best games is $2 during Steam’s Summer Sale


Key art for Celeste.
Maddy Makes Games Inc.

During every Steam Summer Sale, tons of great indie games get massive discounts. For just a couple of dollars, you can pick up some of the best games the video game industry offers. Looking at the Featured Deep Discounts for this year’s Steam Summer Sale, one indie game that stands out from the rest of the bunch is Celeste.

Released by Maddy Makes Games in 2018, Celeste is one of the best indie games of the 2010s; it even earned a rare five-star rating from Digital Trends when it launched. I had the pleasure of playing this game ahead of its wide release then, and I was completely taken aback by how it cleverly reinforces its poignant narrative themes through gameplay, which tasks players with mastering the controls and learning the layout of platforming challenges bit by bit to overcome a massive obstacle. If you haven’t checked out Celeste yet, it’s a steal at just $2, a 90% discount from its typical $20 price tag.

Maddy Makes Games Inc.

Celeste follows a woman named Madeline as she travels to the top of a mountain. While that’s a simple premise, it quickly becomes apparent that Celeste is about a whole lot more than climbing. It’s about how we choose to deal with anxiety and depression, and how we can become stronger and accomplish anything we set our mind to when we’re able to overcome self-doubt. Its premise and pixel art visuals are deceptively simple, as there’s so much depth to what this game offers.

What pushes Celeste over the edge into greatness is how those themes are reflected in all parts of the game. It’s not just a game with a well-written story; it also features some immaculate level and game design. Celeste is a 2D platformer where larger, lengthy levels are split into smaller challenges that often take up your whole screen. If Madeline falls into a pit or touches a spike, she’ll instantly die, but she can jump, briefly wall climb, and eventually dash through the air.

Each screen or room of Celeste presents a unique challenge, and its design encourages failure. It’s OK if you die because Madeline will respawn almost instantly, and you can oftentimes get back to where you failed within seconds. Celeste is essentially a puzzle game in which players are rewarded for learning the layout of a platforming challenge, memorizing the proper moves needed to complete it, and executing that series of platforming moves flawlessly. The first time I played Celeste, I remember feeling like I was going through the same emotional journey Madeline does with each platforming challenge.

I’d start with immense self-doubt that I’d even be able to complete a difficult challenge. Then, I’d take my time to get my bearings and focus on self-improvement, learning whatever unique ability combination or kind of skill each challenge required. Finally, I’d get a feeling of satisfaction few games can provide each time I completed one of these challenges, only to start the process all over again the next time a difficult obstacle popped up.

Platforming in Celeste
Maddy Makes Games Inc.

Going through that over and over again, plus my personal experience with depression and anxiety, made me empathize with Madeline’s journey and ensured I’d never forget this experience. Celeste is a game I wish I could play for the first time again; nowadays, I mainly return to the game for its silky-smooth platforming controls. For just a couple of bucks, you now have that chance to check out this masterpiece for the first time. While Celeste can be a difficult game, this design philosophy (and some helpful Assist Mode options) means it’s a game I can recommend to players of any skill level with platformers.

Celeste is on sale for just $2 until July 11 as part of the Steam Summer Sale. You can also get a bundle with Celeste and its soundtrack at a 90% discount for just $2.88. Alternatively, the game is available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.


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