I’m not sure if you’ve even heard of it, but play Celeste
I actually only learned of this game earlier today. I saw some reviews, felt it looked interesting, looked into it more, bought it on a whim, and… damn.
I don’t remember the last time a game took so much out of me emotionally. Celeste is so incredible. On so many levels. It’s a very sad game, but it’s extremely hopeful. The themes and core message are resonant and universally identifiable. The writing is remarkably straightforward but very, VERY strong. The characters all feel fleshed out and real, the dialog feels authentic. The art style is gorgeous, the music is beautiful, and unlike so many indie games of this nature, the gameplay is great too, featuring some well thought out puzzles and legitimately fun gameplay loops.
It’s also remarkably how well the game hits this balance between feeling like the sort of breezy adventure that A Short Hike felt like last year, and having decidedly heavier stakes. Like the entire game makes its sadness clear and pervasive, and there’s this theme of mortality that’s constantly weighing on you. But there’s also this innocence that it has, and this breeziness of getting to live a day in an ordinary life, that really helps it feel really relatable and charming in an everyday way.
I honestly wish I had the words to do it justice, but this game resonated with me on an incredibly strong level. It seems to have totally gone under the radar, I haven’t seen it discussed anywhere, I don’t know if any major outlet has even acknowledged it, but this is too much of a hidden gem to just wither on the vine like this.
One tip to support the developers: NEVER EVER buy this game on sale. Doing so would mean less hard-earned cash to the indie devs. Imagine if they go bankrupt because you couldn’t be bothered to buy this Hidden Gem at its full and worthy price? I’ve already bought seven copies, all at RRP.