Celeste

A certain kind of game is made much better by being brutally difficult, and Celeste is that kind of game. Everything about the game is tightly managed—from the small moveset to the narrow spaces you’ll be traversing. It’s often frustratingly fair, since I wanted to blame the game for my failures, but found I couldn’t.

Celeste teaches you the great lesson that all hard video games teach well. Things may be difficult, but if you really try, and dedicate yourself, then eventually what at first seemed impossible will yield and become possible. There are a few sections where you’re required to string together many moves in a row, and these complicated maneuvers are some of the most rewarding when you finally put them all together.

In general, resets aren’t too far away—every time you reach a new screen, that also signals a new checkpoint. Cleverly, there’s a way to use these transitions to reach some unlockables that also seem impossible at first, until you figure out the trick.

Celeste is generally very mechanic-y, which I really enjoyed. There’s a jump and a dash. Everything else comes from interesting ways the developers put these parts together.

Also, anyone who says the space of good pixel art has already been completely mined is wrong.

Play it if

You enjoy difficult platforming, metaphorical mountains, or sparse mechanics used in interesting ways.