Hey, I just wanted to promote a wonderful new platforming video game that came out recently and which I have been playing a lot lately. It's called Celeste. Celeste revives everything that was good about the genre when it was popular back in the late 1980s and early 1990s while improving on what have traditionally been areas of weakness for the genre.
If you, like me, are a fan of this genre and miss it being commonplace, chances are that it's because you, like me, have witnessed the nature of platforming in video games gradually change to a non-linear structure over time, inspired by the transition to 3D, resulting in more player freedom, but also in less challenging platforming, ironically as your own mastery of the art of landing jumps improved. At just the time you were getting really good at platforming, the platforming games started getting easier. Most new games that involve platforming elements today make simply finding the next place to leap to the only real source of challenge involved, not the actual leap placement. Hell, if you miss the next platform (assuming there is only one to choose from!) by less than a mile, your character will probably grab onto the ledge automatically. If you sometimes miss an old-school platforming challenge, then this is one you'll definitely want to try. Don't be intimidated though, as Celeste offers one of the healthiest learning curves in gaming: it's extremely easy to learn, but near-impossible to master.
(Not that there's anything wrong with more exploration-driven platforming games, or easier games, or even to suggest that more open-ended platforming games can't offer a superb easy-to-learn-but-difficult-to-master type of flow (consider Ori and the Blind Forest, for instance!). Hell, in general I personally prefer exploration to platforming! But what I'm saying here is that, as the rule at least (to which there are exceptions!), the more non-linear the platforming game is, the easier the platforming will be, and there exists a comparative shortage of traditional, 2D, linear platformers on the market today compared to other kinds of platforming games.)
One area though where platforming games have always tended to be criticized is that of storytelling. Platforming games traditionally haven't had strong narratives. Celeste corrects this traditional shortcoming by offering up a masterfully-written, yet not overplayed, clearly heartfelt narrative that presents the mountain you spend the game climbing as a metaphor for the stresses of a life spent navigating anxiety and depression: struggles that are deeply personal to me. It's a good metaphor too! And I really liked how organically they placed the dialogue bits as well. The story flows in a way that feels perfectly natural; in a way that doesn't ever feel like an interruption.
I also really like the fact that a game with such a theme also features so many both design and aesthetic callbacks to earlier times because I often think back nostalgically to those earlier times in my life when I was still generally happy in order to make it through my day. I depend more on nostalgia for survival than I think most people my age do. And yet, at the same time, the kinds of "stories" that those older games tended to tell offend me now because I a woman and I'm just tired of being saturated with casual yet actively disempowering and belittling thematic set-ups. I have no self-esteem anymore so it's just become really difficult for me to tolerate feeling demeaned by a game anymore in general, but especially if it's because of my gender. The last thing I need in life is yet another blow (however small) to my already-non-existent sense of self-worth. So you don't know how much I appreciate the fact that this is a thematically sensitive, "SJW" kind of game about a female human being managing mental illness; a game that actually tries to appeal to me as a human being, in a way that I can relate to, where traditionally this genre, for all its merits, has not even tried. This for me is a game that strikes the perfect balance between harkening back to a fun type of game play and aesthetics that I miss for reasons that are personal on the one hand and rupturing with what I would consider negative traditions on the other.
Sorry, that went in a bit of a different direction than I started out intending to. It just matters to me is all. Sorry for politicizing video games by being human and having mental-emotional needs. If this thread needs to be resultantly moved to Politics, whoever has the power to do that can feel free to. Whatever.
Well anyway, getting back to Celeste's design, if you don't care about a game's storyline and just want a platforming challenge, then no worries: the game offers you the option to skip every cut scene. Conversely, if you are someone who doesn't care much for a platforming challenge and is only really interested in the game's story, Celeste also offers an assist mode that makes scaling the mountain a great deal easier. And if you instinctively think of indie games as flawed for having little content, you'll be pleasantly surprised that Celeste offers unlockable, super-tough alternative versions of each stage and plentiful hidden collectibles and secrets to find as well that, all put together, can easily keep even a skilled player occupied for quite a long time. (So far I'm up to about 15 hours and there's still no end to the offerings in sight.) So there's something on offer for many different kinds of preferences here.
There's a whooooooole lot to love about this game, and that's especially true if you happen to be say in your 30s, female, and struggling with anxiety and depression like I am. Just wanted to pass out the hard recommend.