Cheap Game Tuesday: ‘Binding of Isaac – Rebirth’
We have already reviewed The Binding of Isaac along with its expansion pack Wrath of Lamb very early in this series, but we loved it so much and it’s seeing a resurgence in popularity that we’re going to recommend it again.
Binding of Isaac is a retro style dungeon crawler from the creators of Super Meat Boy. From the offset it seems quite simple but the myriad of unlockable content and bonus material that you’ll find yourself playing it again and again. And again. Playing as the neglected and potentially about to be sacrificed child Isaac, who has slipped into the cellar to hide form his manic Evangelical mother, you explore each level searching for items to increase your stats and face a boss before moving further down the nightmare.
Gameplay is pretty simple. You can move around and shoot your tears along the four compass points. You can drop bombs and use items that you find around the dungeon. There are hundreds of items to pick up and experiment with, some more useful than others. Some give you big attacks to help wipe of the horrors you’ll face, some are passive and increase your speed, etc, and some hover around Isaac lending assistance.
As you progress you’ll unlock new items and villains. After you defeat Mom for the first time you’ll also unlock a bunch of new boss monsters, level types and characters with differing powers. There are also rare items, room types and abilities that will only show up randomly or when you fulfil certain criteria (or sometimes both). Seeing everything there is to see on the first – or even the first dozen – play throughs is impossible. In addition the dungeon layout is randomised with every new run, lending to the already impressive level of replayability.
The time of the game is a twisted one indeed. The story is about a small child fleeing from a deranged mother who is trying to sacrifice him, and he fights through piles of shit and some completely demented, horrific monsters using his tears as a weapon. On the way you’ll find semi-humanoid figures bloated with flies and spiders, headless children gushing blood, skull faced people with exposed brains, undead babies and worse. It’s simple, cartoony graphics may betray the horror aspects but it is not for the easily disturbed.
You may be tempted to go with the original because the graphics look smoother and less retro, but the animation has been greatly improved. Tonnes of new content including items, enemies, boss monsters, characters and unlockables are included so even if you’re an old hand you’ll find something new here.
If you didn’t catch Binding of Isaac the first time it came around, make sure you check it out now.