Celeste | Forsaken City

Amazing VGM: First Steps (Celeste)

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! The decision to make this piece was a bit of a last minute idea I had while listening to the soundtrack. It just hit me that this makes the PERFECT Holiday themed VGM for this series. And also, I’ve been meaning to get back into the habit of making these for a while, and I’m been hard at work on an upcoming political piece, which means it may be a little while until another game review. Also it’s been almost a year since I reviewed Celeste, Oh Holy Shit!

Celeste excels at telling a story without the use of excessive cutscenes and dialogue. The music isn’t just a delight to listen to, but it enhances the game’s mood spectacularly. This game would not have nearly as much of an emotional impact without it. The first stage theme, appropriately titled “First Steps,” excellently sets the tone for the rest of the game. This track evokes a combined sensation of coldness and comfort. It simultaneously showcases the beauty and wonder of Mount Celeste, while also adding just enough tension to remind you of the danger.

The track is brilliantly arranged, capturing the sound of the cold icy winds, while also being used for the central melody, which showcases Madeline’s determination and her warm heart. The piano notes chords or both elegant, yet also icy and cold, once again mimicking the landscape. Overall, there’s a sense of warmth to this song despite the fact that it takes place in an icy terrain, where one slip up could mean death.

This track is also noteworthy when you compare it to the rest of the game’s soundtrack. A lot of the later tracks are lengthier and more dynamic, as opposed to this one, where the focus is on a strong melody. Lena Raine clearly knew how important first impressions are when composing this. The later tracks in the game are also harsher and more intense, which makes sense because the game also gets harder at that point. The central melody of “First Steps” is also used as the main theme of the game, and is given much greater significant than just being a random background track.

Overall, this is a wonderfully well composed piece of music that carries a ton of weight and emotion, in addition to being perfect to listen to. But we’re not done yet.

This variation right here plays on the level’s B-side, which uses all the same set pieces and mechanics of the original stage, but focused solely on the challenge factor and without the story. This arrangement is more fast paced and more frantic, but still capturing the bit of elegance that represents the setting. It fits well for the first B-Side stage in the game since it adds tension, but not TOO much. Considering that this is one of the few challenge levels that didn’t take me hours to beat, I’d say it fits. Overall, this one serves its purpose well, but it’s not one I really listen to in my spare time.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season, and will see you all in the near future!

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