Celestel, the first perfect score game in IGN this year
That’s right! The first perfect game this year from IGN is Celestel, a 2D pixel scroll game available in multiple platforms. It seems that 2D scroll games are returning to the mainstream market. (Do you remember Cuphead last year? It also won countless awards last year.)
What do I like most…
You could see IGN’s review here (link). It talks about music, level design, story and etc. The game mechanic is unique but not that innovative. Every element is necessary to construct this perfect game. However, what I like most is that the level design perfectly fits into the flow theory.
What is flow theory?
Flow theory(wiki) implies that when game designers work on level design, they should consider the balance between skills and challenges to form to flow channel so that players will keep engaging the game.
The ideal scenario would be going through the flow channel in the middle but it is often too hard to achieve it. The more realistic scenario would be similar to the diagram on the right. Rather than increasing the challenge incrementally, it directly jumps to next level. Then the skill of the player will slowly catch up. When the level become too comfortable for players, it jumps to another level.
Game mechanics in Celestel
Before we talk about the flow, let me briefly explain the mechanics in Celestel. The mechanics are simple. Madeline, the main character, is able to jump and then perform another dash jump in the air. The ability of dash jump will only restore when Madeline stands on the ground. Furthermore, there are no life points for Madeline, the main character. When you touch something fatal, you die.
Flow in Celestel
In general, the game is hard because Madeline is so easy to die. She revives on the beginning of stage very very quick (See GIF below). Then the player could take the challenge again. But I want to mention two important mechanics
- There is no penalty for dying. Madeline will revive very fast for player to try again. The number of death will show as info when player finishes the whole stage.
- The strawberry is not mandatory which means that if it is too difficult for the player, he could just ignore it. The number of strawberry will also show as info when player finishes the whole stage.
The interesting part about the game is that you need to complete each challenge as a whole. There is no middle ground. You either success or die. Here, let us referring back to the flow theory. The difficulty is like a cliff in front of the player. Player could try multiples times (each trying might increase player’s skill a little bit) but rest is not allowed during climbing. Madeline will not revive in the middle of the stage. However, The penalty of the death is so low that encourage players to keep trying.
Since the nature of this game requires high skill level, it is actually quite satisfying to complete each challenge. It is hard for sure but it does not scare away the player. Look at the example below. I can’t imagine how many times does the player try? (I am only in level 2 right now…) But how satisfied would that be if you could complete it. It is a perfect example of flow theory.