18 votes

Why does Celeste feel so good to play?

12 comments

  1. onyxleopard
    Link
    Nice video. I always appreciate when game designers/developers are forgiving of imperfect input from the player. Most of us aren’t robots, and I understand that some people want to try for...

    Nice video. I always appreciate when game designers/developers are forgiving of imperfect input from the player. Most of us aren’t robots, and I understand that some people want to try for frame-perfection, but I think that’s a vast minority. I understand that there’s an audience for that, but for me, personally, when devs make games which are about the game content and the mechanics support that, instead of being a punishing learning curve, I end up having more fun.

    A game I played laster year was Hyper Light Drifter, and some of the mechanics in that game were punishingly difficult. I liked the gameplay, and with some practice I got OK at it, but I could not for the life of me finish the 800 dash chain challenge. This kind of thing is not fun. This challenge was clearly intended to train the player in order to perform dash chains fluently in combat or when exploring. But, it required a level of frame-perfect timing that was too difficult for me and made some of the content laborious to get through.

    5 votes
  2. [4]
    fandegw
    Link
    This is a comment I made on the comments section of the video, but for me the game has too much dependence on the diagonal inputs of the joystick to feel right. Starting from the haunted hotel,...

    This is a comment I made on the comments section of the video, but for me the game has too much dependence on the diagonal inputs of the joystick to feel right.
    Starting from the haunted hotel, the level design demands a lot of diagonal jumps like for the boss that chases you. But I resented not my capacity to complete the level but instead the impossibility to be reliable in the diagonal inputs.

    This is way better implemented in The End Is Nigh or Super Meat Boy, because the whole direction is taken as is and with the air control and the level design, the sensation of being able to slightly adjust the direction while jumping feels more right, and leaves no feeling of artificial difficulty.
    Each time I lost, I never doubted the processing of the inputs from the game, it always felt like it was me that was not able to complete the level.

    The whole thing felt like it was meant to be played with a keyboard, which is a bit unfortunate for a platformer.

    4 votes
    1. nothis
      Link Parent
      Yea, the diagonal inputs are a bit annoying.

      Yea, the diagonal inputs are a bit annoying.

      3 votes
    2. [2]
      natdempk
      Link Parent
      I actually didn’t have an issue with the diagonal inputs at all and I played through the entire thing with an Xbox one controller using the joystick. I’m not saying it wasn’t an issue for you, but...

      I actually didn’t have an issue with the diagonal inputs at all and I played through the entire thing with an Xbox one controller using the joystick. I’m not saying it wasn’t an issue for you, but I never found diagonal inputs to be an issue.

      I’m not sure what you mean by the second point? You can adjust your positioning in mid air precisely in Celeste also. The only time you are really locked in is during an air-dash.

      2 votes
      1. fandegw
        Link Parent
        I played with a PS4 controller at the time for Celeste and the directing joystick being in the bottom part of the joystick makes my thumb more naturally go into the diagonal up/left when trying to...

        I played with a PS4 controller at the time for Celeste and the directing joystick being in the bottom part of the joystick makes my thumb more naturally go into the diagonal up/left when trying to go upward, and more into the left when trying to do the diagonal up/left, so I had many times where I just wanted to go upward and my controller produced the diagonal air dash, and same for trying the diagonal dash.
        (The problem is a little less evident with the xbox one, but theres the problem of the LT/LR/RT/RR triggers that disfonction so easily that I stopped trying using them)

        And this is precisely because the air dash has 8 finite directions and has no control after making it that makes it a frustrating experience. I think I should have tried the keyboard before stopping to play it completly out of frustration.
        I played other platformers with dashes that feels a bit frustrating but a little less when the directions is taking as is, so this could have been a better choice, but the whole game has a level design adapted to this 8 direction air-dash.

        Compared to The End Is Nigh with for example this video that makes more evident https://youtu.be/M1iJW56z_Jc?t=1135 , the air control is total, which makes it a very rewarding experience with a gamepad. I even tried challenge runs just for the pleasure of completly controlling the small blob.

        5 votes
  3. [7]
    hook
    Link
    That was very interesting and changed my opinion of Celeste - I might just buy it. Would love to see the same done with Hollow Knight.

    That was very interesting and changed my opinion of Celeste - I might just buy it. Would love to see the same done with Hollow Knight.

    3 votes
    1. [6]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      I'm in no way a hardcore platformer guy but Celeste did something special. The video is only about jump mechanics but, for example, the way the game puts you back at exactly the right spot after...

      I'm in no way a hardcore platformer guy but Celeste did something special. The video is only about jump mechanics but, for example, the way the game puts you back at exactly the right spot after dying to not lose your flow is perfect. It's the only "super hard" platformer I ever played that doesn't feel frustrating. Very much recommended.

      6 votes
      1. fandegw
        Link Parent
        I find it surprising because when I originaly seen the game, I felt that the respawn was taking way too long for hard platformer. Compared to The End Is Nigh this is probably 4 times longer. This...

        I find it surprising because when I originaly seen the game, I felt that the respawn was taking way too long for hard platformer. Compared to The End Is Nigh this is probably 4 times longer.
        This was not as annoying than what I expected, but for me this has clearly felt way too long and frustrated me more as a result.
        Maybe the order that I played them in was not the best, but The End Is Nigh is the perfect hard platformer for me, the player mechanics are a bit more limited, but the whole game was excellent to feel like you as a player was learning and succeeding and not had a bit of luck from the controls.

        4 votes
      2. [4]
        hook
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        That is good to know. Thanks. So far I mostly heard it being compared to Meat Boy and praised regarding its story (fighting depression, IIRC), neither of which compelled me. Meat Boy I played when...

        That is good to know. Thanks.

        So far I mostly heard it being compared to Meat Boy and praised regarding its story (fighting depression, IIRC), neither of which compelled me.

        Meat Boy I played when it was still a Flash game and didn't like it really. But this video showed Celeste differs in some of the parts that I didn't like in Meat Boy.

        The story, I'm still unsure of though.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          nothis
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I got bored with Super Meat Boy halfway through, not sure whether that was because of different taste back then on my part or whether the two games do something significantly different. The story...

          I got bored with Super Meat Boy halfway through, not sure whether that was because of different taste back then on my part or whether the two games do something significantly different.

          The story is cute but it's like 10 minutes of an 8 hour game. To me it matters to the point that it shows the devs took no shortcuts, everything about the game is polished (it won an IGF "Excellence in Audio" award, for example). It's fun to feel like you're playing something that developers care about so deeply. It's a tale about overcoming your inner demons by treating them as a challenge and the joy of seeing that lead to progress. Appropriate as a story for a super hard platformer and charmingly done, but I dunno how people would spin this as a main appeal of the game. It's an abstract, oldschool platformer.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            hook
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Well, that is something I can get behind then. Thanks for the insight. I have no idea how the reviews I saw emphasized these bits so much, but I'm happy I saw the video and your comments now. It...

            Well, that is something I can get behind then. Thanks for the insight.

            I have no idea how the reviews I saw emphasized these bits so much, but I'm happy I saw the video and your comments now. It will have to wait that I finish other platformers and metroidvanias I already have though (at least Hollow Knight, Shantae, Dandara, and Shovel Knight, which I all already started).

            2 votes
            1. nothis
              Link Parent
              I feel a bit like a dick for downplaying the story aspects because, again, they're done with a lot of love and care! This is just a rather specific pet peeve of mine that has to be seen in context...

              I have no idea how the reviews I saw emphasized these bits so much

              I feel a bit like a dick for downplaying the story aspects because, again, they're done with a lot of love and care! This is just a rather specific pet peeve of mine that has to be seen in context of how games are reviewed/discussed, nowadays.

              I'm at a point where it frustrates me of how much "quality" game design is associated with presentation, when the truly unique part of the medium, the actual gameplay, is treated as more or less a side-spectacle to keep you occupied. A lot of the reviews basically made it out to be a great game about a young woman overcoming her deepest fears and... some bearded dude who likes to make selfies? And, I mean, that's cute and all, but it's so not why Celeste works. It's, IMO, just the result of someone spending thousands of hours (and 15 years worth of lessons learned from platformer design) on one game, getting it perfect, and duh, if you do that, you go the extra mile. Perfect pixel graphics, perfect menu design, perfect sound, perfect music, perfect pacing, story, typography, portrait art, etc, etc. Like, you don't spend all this time perfecting platformer design only to get the dialog in the cut scenes wrong. But that doesn't make the story the center of the game. It's presentation, it's care about the details and general feel and atmosphere. But it's ultimately just very polished coating around an incredibly solid core of platforming perfection.

              Dedicating 50% of a review to the story, IMO, is just an instinct learned from movie-like AAA games, where the gameplay is forgettable and you have to cling to the 3 hours worth of cut scenes to get some enjoyment out of the experience. I'd rather play a game that is dedicated 100% to story (which exists in the form of some pretty great indie "walking sims"). But the thing with Celeste is... again, the story is cute. But damn, the gameplay! It's all about the gameplay.

              5 votes