Developer: Matt Makes Games
Finished: Kind of
Celeste is a really good game! It's amazing how accessible it is to everyone, including people who are not very good at platformers. The game has an extremely satisfying difficulty progression that starts from the very basics and then smoothly ramps up to difficult challenges that leave you feeling like "wow, I did it!" In addition to that, it actually has accessibility options beyond just being very beginner friendly, including an "Assist Mode" that gives you more lenient windows for platforming challenges. I didn't use it myself but I really appreciate the effort by the devs who, even though they clearly set out to make a game that was based around difficult gameplay and the satisfaction of overcoming challenges, still put in th option for easier difficulties for people that might need it to enjoy the game.
I also have to give big props to the story. To be honest, I don't really like violent games. I've played a lot of strategy games, but if there's even a small emotional connection to a unit beyond what you would feel to a chess piece, I really can't bear to let anyone die. It's why I reset every time I lose someone in Fire Emblem. Screw the no-save mechanic, if I can save them, I will! But anyways, the story of Celeste is great at creating a conflict in a spatial medium (a platformer) that doesn't involve (very much) violence. There's physical danger, such as falling off a ledge, and there is conflict between the main character Madeline and her evil alter-ego and some beholder-type lovecraftian monsters (and a pushy hotel manager), but it's all through the lense of a Mario-style boop-their-heads level of physical conflict. The emotional core of the conflict isn't in the physical altercations but rather in the overcoming of obstacles and (especially with the alter ego) understanding deeper emotional turmoil. There's a lot of metaphor to mental illness and anxiety which gives the narrative a lot of depth and makes it very relatable to someone who does struggle with overcoming my own personal mountains.
All in all I really love this game. I got all of the red strawberries and finished all of the base levels in the game, and I think that's reasonable for someone like me. After that, the challenges really ramp up, and it becomes more of a game that's geared towards people who enjoy difficult platformers than people who want to enjoy Celeste. I would recommend it to literally everyone (unless you have a distinct aversion to platformers, in which case, not a good fit), because of it's flexible difficulty, deep story, and extremely rewarding gameplay.