It’s been six years since the release of the wonderful platformer, Celeste. Six years since we all jump, jump, jumped for our mental health, and jumped for the love of strawberries. To celebrate the beloved games’ sixth birthday, developers Extremely OK Games have released Celeste 64, a Nintendo 64-style reimagining of the game as a 3D action-adventure. And it’s free!
Celeste, a long-time favorite game of Kotaku’s, was a pixel arcade game in which you controlled a young lady called Madeline as she attempted to climb Celeste Mountain. Through her ability to dash-jump and climb, it was a precision platformer that wanted to be played through—failure was not punished with setbacks, but rather instant restarts. It was always incredibly tough to make that perfect dash to miss those spikes and reach that wall, but it was eminently fair about it. It also came packed with accessibility options that allowed players to slow the game’s speed, add infinite stamina, and switch on invulnerability.
Celeste itself was a remake of the team’s previous game jam entry, later renamed Celeste Classic, designed for the PICO-8. For 2021’s third birthday, following expansions to the main game, EXOK Games created a jam-like sequel called Celeste 2: Lani’s Trek. Now, for its sixth anniversary, EXOK has released Celeste 64: Fragments of the Mountain.
What’s especially joyful here is how much effort has gone into making this truly feel like an undiscovered secret version of Celeste from 1997. While its 3D third-person view is wholly unlike the original game, everything else—including the controls—is the same. Fail and die, and Madeline still turns into a circle of eight dots, but this time big, chunky ones like you’d expect to see on Nintendo’s classic console. Granny’s still a rude lady, Madeline’s hair still turns blue when she dashes, and it’s all set in a 3D recreation of the familiar levels. It’s also set after the end of Celeste, and continues Madeline’s story following the emotional rollercoaster we previously went through with her. She’s writing a book now!
Celeste 64 was created in “a week(ish)” according to EXOK/Maddy Makes Games’ Itch page, with its source code available on Github. The whole thing is free, runs on Windows and Linux, and despite the team’s modest descriptions of inexperience with 3D, it plays fantastically well. It’s pretty crazy that something this immediately comfortable to play was knocked together so quickly. You think Earthblade wouldn’t be taking them so damn long, wouldn’t you? I joke! Take your time. I mean, entropy will eventually destroy us all, but take all the time you need.