Players likely recognise Celeste as the pixel-perfect platformer from 2018, but it began its life as Celeste Classic, a free game written for the PICO-8. Celeste Classic presented a condensed climb up the titular mountain, letting you dash across platforms, hang onto walls, and collect strawberries - in miniature form. As a fun homage, you can find the PICO-8 version inside Celeste proper. And now, as an even funner homage, you can play it on the Playdate. A loveable game on a loveable handheld.
The Playdate port is more or less the same as the original PICO-8 version, but there are a few changes included. For one, Celeste now has a black-and-white colour palette to match the Playdate’s 1-bit screen. The new style suits Madeline’s trek, and it’s still readable thanks to bold outlines. 2018’s Celeste included some incredible accessibility and difficulty options with Assist Mode, and a few handy options have been carried onto the Playdate release. An Assist Mode menu allows you to lower the game’s speed, enable invincibility, unlock infinite dashes, or simply skip a tricky level.
Playdate owners can head here for download instructions. If you don't have the little yellow handheld, and you’d like to play the port regardless, you can download a Playdate simulator on PC. Head to that same link for more instructions.
Celeste was already tough as nails, but the above Twitter video looks like a real thumb workout. My strawberry-chasing skills were decent in 2018’s Celeste (I proudly beat a few B-sides), but I’d probably need to lift miniature weights before I’m equipped for Celeste Classic on the Playdate.
If you’re itching for more ways to play the excellent jump-n-dasher, you’re in luck! The developers released a sequel to Celeste Classic a few years ago called Celeste 2: Lani’s Trek - it was made in three days and swaps your fast dashes with a grappling hook. A massive Celeste mod recently added over 100 levels, hours of musical tracks, and a handful of difficulty options too. It’s called the Strawberry Mod and it looked amazing.
In her review, Katharine said the Playdate was "the closest a handheld has come to capturing the same kind of magic that comes so effortlessly to Nintendo consoles, and the fact it works so beautifully with PC is just an added bonus."