Of the games whose gameplay I truly love, my overall sentiment towards them scales based on their level of ludonarrative assonance: how well does the story fit the gameplay, and how much am I enjoying the narrative experience of the game versus just the tactile experience of playing it?

And then the rarified air arrives, and you find games that not only combine narrative and gameplay in a really cohesive, intuitive way but manage to do so in a way that make you think something along the lines of: "this experience I am having — this level of frustration and joy and despair and triumph — could not happen without the medium through which I'm experiencing it."

That's what Celeste is. The gameplay is perfectly crafted not just as a delightful puzzle box or dexterity concert but as a vehicle to tell a story and teach you something about yourself.

There's nothing that I think could be improved about Celeste; it is one of the most meaningful and memorable artistic experiences of my life.


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