Difficulty

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Difficulty is a measure of skill and effort a player must have to complete a certain Celeste map, room, or deathless challenges. Difficulty in vanilla Celeste is never defined. Instead, B-Sides are naturally positioned harder than A-Sides, C-Sides are a notch above both, and Farewell's difficulty is slightly above the C-Sides. Mods have a much greater flexibility when it comes to difficulty. Therefore, a few difficulty scales have been developed for modded maps. This article describes the most popular ones.

Spring Collab scale[edit | edit source]

Last revision: 10.06.2024 (DD.MM.YYYY). Update?

The Spring Collab scale is one of the most common ones used in the Celeste community, separating maps into several broad categories by their difficulty. There are also modifiers indicating whether it is easier or harder than the average in said category. The maps are divided by multiple factors: the precision required, input density, the tech used in them and the complexity of executing it (e.g. tech with setups is easier), or other criteria. One example is Lava Layer, a Grandmaster map from Strawberry Jam Collab that doesn't use any advanced tech but features incredibly tight movement.

A map being longer or shorter does not affect it's difficulty on this scale, rather it is rated based on the hardest room of the map.

The shortenings and other names are given in parentheses. Grandmaster+1 and higher difficulties are not in Spring Collab; they are extensions of this scale, developed as harder maps released

Beginner (beg)[edit | edit source]

Despite its name, Beginner difficulty typically exceeds the level of "beginner" in most other games. Most of Celeste's base game chapters and some B-Sides fall into this difficulty. Some simple tech, such as Dream Jumps and setup wallbounces, fall within the scope of beginner difficulty. Beginner maps generally have few tight jumps or maneuvers and seldom use more advanced tech.

Intermediate (int)[edit | edit source]

A screen of an Intermediate-difficulty map Temple of a Thousand Skies

Intermediate-difficulty maps feature supers, hypers and wavedashes. The precision needed is higher than in beginner maps, but it is still relatively lenient compared to higher difficulties. Most of Celeste's B-Sides and C-Sides fall into this category, alongside much of Farewell.

Advanced (adv)[edit | edit source]

Advanced maps are a relatively small step up from what Celeste's base game has to offer. Reversed tech and neutral jumps are common at this difficulty; the level of precision expected from the player also grows significantly. As a baseline, a player who has completed Farewell once typically won't experience many problems tackling the advanced maps. Some Farewell and C-Side rooms can fall into this category, but that's about it.

Expert (exp)[edit | edit source]

A screen of an Expert-difficulty map Golden Alleyway. Note that the gates can be triggered by pressing Grab.

Expert maps start becoming truly problematic for most players. Tech such as dream hypers, cornerboosts, and ultradashes are introduced at this difficulty. These maps demand some degree of mastery with Celeste's various tech to complete. No Celeste base game level is of Expert difficulty.

Grandmaster (gm)[edit | edit source]

Grandmaster maps are some of the hardest maps available in Celeste. They are generally limited to top-tier players. These maps feature advanced tech almost consistently, including chained ultras, spike jumps, and core hypers. Deep knowledge of the game and consistency at frame-limited (≈ 4-frame) tech is expected at this level.

Grandmaster+1 (gm+1, astral)[edit | edit source]

The Grandmaster+1 difficulty introduces specific tech or maneuvers having a window of less than 4 frames. Tech such as reverse cornerboosts, neutral reverse cornerboosts, and setup ceiling pops are frequently utilized. Screens of this difficulty are usually very long.

Grandmaster+2 (gm+2, celestial)[edit | edit source]

Hardlist[edit | edit source]

Last revision: 10.06.2024 (DD.MM.YYYY). Update?

Celeste's Hardest Maps Clear List is a catalogue of maps that are at least as hard as Darkmoon Ruins (about red Grandmaster), along with videos of their clears. They are split into four tiers (1 Star - 4 Star) by their difficulty. Each star is divided into high and low subtiers.

1 Star[edit | edit source]

A map is 1 Star if it is as hard as Darkmoon Ruins and up to the peak of Grandmaster difficulty. Examples include 7D With Single Dash... (Old), Eclair, and Vivid Abyss.

2 Star[edit | edit source]

2 Star maps are green-yellow Grandmaster+1 maps. Some examples are MOCE // CPVL, Mauve, Passionfruit Pantheon, and SWAPSLUT.

3 Star[edit | edit source]

3 Star maps are red Grandmaster+1 maps up to green Grandmaster+2 maps. Examples of 3 Star maps are Crystal Garden and Avian Ascension.

4 Star[edit | edit source]

4 Star maps are the hardest humanly possible maps of Celeste, being at or above yellow Grandmaster+2 difficulty. The low 4 Star tier includes maps like D1D7, Madeline Votes in the 2020 U.S. Election D-Side, and MOCE // LXVI. The high tier only includes: The Solar Purgatory, and 5B Funnier Version

Top Golden List[edit | edit source]

There is also a difficulty scale for comparing deathless challenges. The Top Golden List from the Custom Map Golden Strawberry List uses a tier system for comparing the difficulty of deathless challenges (usually golden berry runs). A golden is called standard list difficulty if it is easier than Hell Trio, which are the B-Side golden strawberries of chapters 6, 7, and 8 from the base game. Goldens above the difficulty of Hell Trio are ranked in tiers, where a Tier 7 golden is only slightly harder than Hell Trio, and a Tier 0 golden being near the hardest golden berries ever collected, and also Tiers 0-3 are split into two or three subtiers (Low, Mid, High). Most tiers have "difficulty reference" maps which are challenges with uncontroversial difficulty opinions from the player base, so other goldens and deathless challenges can be compared with respect to these uncontroversial goldens.

The difficulty references for each tier are listed below easiest to hardest but can be subject to change at any time:

  • Standard Tier: Any challenge easier than or as hard as the golden berries for 6B, 7B, and 8B.
  • Tier 7: Chromatic Complex [C/FC], Delusional Canopy, Raspberry Roots, Static Shift, Void-Side B-Side
  • Tier 6: Cryoshock D-Side [C/FC], Delusional Canopy [FC], Mirror Temple D-Side [C/FC], Strawberry Pi [FC], UFO Nest B-Side
  • Tier 5: Teletown [C/FC], UFO Nest A-Side [C/FC]
  • Tier 4: Mango Mesa, The Summit CC-Side
  • Low Tier 3: Farewell (No DTS), Another Farewell Map A-Side [C/FC], Solaris
  • Mid Tier 3: Ferocious Sanctuary+, Glyph [FC]
  • High Tier 3: summit (SJ)
  • Low Tier 2: Grandmaster Heart Side [New] (SC2020)
  • Mid Tier 2: none at the moment, as there is no good fit for a difficulty reference in this tier yet, however some Mid Tier 2 goldens are: Mauve [Old] [FC], Reflection D-Side [New] (v3.0).
  • High Tier 2: Calypta [FC]
  • Low Tier 1: Starfruit Supernova, The Summit D-Side. [C/FC], Superfecta
  • Mid Tier 1: Midnight Aquarium [FC], Pinball Purgatory
  • High Tier 1: Everlasting Farewell, Summit Prologue [FC]
  • Low Tier 0: This tier does not have any reference goldens, however the current Low Tier 0 golden are: Chapter 3 L-Side, MOCE // LXVI, Pinball Purgatory [FC], and The Big Reveal.
  • High Tier 0: This tier does not have any reference goldens, however the current High Tier 0 golden are: 7D With Single Dash... (Old), Darkmoon Ruins [FC], Passionfruit Pantheon, and Waterbear Mountain [FC].
  • Tier X: This is the theoretical tier above Tier 0, deathless challenges such as Final Goodbye Platinum or Strawberry Jam [Grandmaster Lobby Deathless] are Tier X in difficulty.