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Binding of Isaac Review

Binding of Isaac is classified as an “indie game”. Indie games are video games developed and typically published by a company that is not owned by bigger companies like Activision. Think of them like independent record companies. It is the same process, just with video games. Binding of Isaac shows the indie charm because a big name developer could not come up with an original idea like this one. It sports a dark humor atmosphere with classic gameplay, and a dash of difficulty.

The game is relatively short in comparison to other games on Steam. However, for $5 you very much get what you ask for and more. The Binding of Isaac’s plot is a spinoff of the bible story with the same name. Isaac, a child, and his Mother live in a small house on a hill, both happily keeping to themselves, with Isaac drawing pictures and playing with his toys, and his mother watching Christian Broadcasts on the Television. Isaac’s mother then hears “a voice from above”, stating her son is corrupted with sin, and needs to be saved. It asks her to remove all that was evil from Isaac, in an attempt to save him. His mother obliges, taking away his toys, pictures, game console and even his clothes. However, this continues to pose a problem and God tells Isaac’s mother he needs to be cut off from the outside world. Upon locking Isaac in his room God tells his mother that she must kill him. Isaac’s mother grabs a kitchen knife and heads to Isaac’s room, only for Isaac to see the impending doom and escape through a trap door. This the quest begins. The game has multiple endings, making the story distorted and multi-directional as the game progresses. The most notable endings are the first, 10th and last.

The gameplay is simple, progress through the dungeons to reach the end. You control Isaac, abandoned naked and in a dungeon full of nightmarish creatures. You move with aswd and attack with the directional arrows. You shoot tears as Isaac is always seen crying. However, these can change with the large amount of upgrades available. Killing bosses, finding secret rooms and killing the secret level bosses all net you some sort of reward. You can turn into a hellish demon and shoot fire from your mouth, or you can wear your mom’s heels and underwear to give your tears better range. Every upgrade changes your appearance and this kind of thing is lacking in video games. In games that allow some form of customization you rarely see anything change. Isaac is an indie title and it very much shows as the game is very different from popularized and mass produced games.

There are usually two bosses per level each ranging in difficulty. Some have easy to see patterns, others are hard to predict and never seem to have an opening to attack. As you progress through the randomly generated dungeons you will find upgrades and items. Obtaining pills will net special powers. There is a catch, you do not know what the pills do until you use them. It becomes a flip of a coin choice at that point. Do you use the pill in the boss and hope for the best? Or do you not risk the pill being bad and hinder you during the boss fight. The abilities stack up and you eventually become a force to be reckoned with. However, there are no checkpoints and no extra lives, you die once, you start over from the beginning.

There are multiple characters to unlock each with their own playstyle, strengths and weaknesses. Every time you beat a dungeon you unlock something new. Complete with steam achievements and a demented retelling of a biblical story Binding of Isaac is a game worth played, especially for 5 USD. The art style is unique and the classic style of gameplay is wonderful. I give Binding of Isaac a 9/10, if only this game was longer.

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