Celeste, arguably the best modern 2D platformer going and a notable GOTY contender when it came out in 2018, has received an official N64-style follow-up for its sixth anniversary.
Announced early this morning, Celeste: Fragments of the Mountain is available to download right now via Itch.io, and promises to let you “relive the magic of Celeste Mountain alongside Madeline.” Released by Extremely OK Games, the team behind the original game, and made in a little over a week, Fragments of the Mountain places Madeline in a 3D twist heavily stylized after N64 platformers like Super Mario 64 and Spyro the Dragon.
Of course, those comparisons aren’t really indicative of the complexity we’re talking about. Fragments of the Mountain not only borrows some of the original Celeste’s difficulty, but it also gives you several of the game’s tools straight from the start. When I tried the game out for myself, it wasn’t long at all before I was diving into tapes, dealing with multi-jumps, and even using feathers to gain temporary flight. I was also having to get to grips with the camera, which certainly captures the slippery feel of the era it’s aping, but also adds an extra level of difficulty to Celeste – in the original game, if Madeline wants to jump forward, she’ll go forward. In Fragments of the Mountain, if you’re facing even slightly off from your goal, you’ll likely find yourself catapulting into the abyss.
It also really lives up to its name, with parts of Celeste Mountain that might otherwise be folded cleverly into its 2D structure simply hovering off to the side, little side-missions that you have to physically make your way towards, and that leave you hovering even more tantalizingly over the abyss. It makes for a much more nerve-wracking experience in many ways, which seems in keeping with the meaning behind the original game.
A very detailed offering for the game’s sixth anniversary, it does sound as though the existence of Fragments of the Mountain has come as a bit of a surprise, even for the people who worked on it. In one tweet, developer Noel Berry said that “we made a thing that was supposed to be a meme but we worked way too hard on it,” while original composer Lena Raine noted that “every time I write more Celeste music I’m like ‘surely this is the last right’, revealing that it didn’t take much pushing for the team to get her back to work on the anniversary release.
Exactly what you get out of Fragments of the Mountain will likely depend on how dedicated you are to collecting all of its Strawberries, but it’s certainly a smaller project than the original game. That said, it’s an excellent birthday present for an excellent game, especially since you can pick it up for free.
Celeste sits high on our list of the best games 2018.