Full disclaimer: I have never actually played The Binding of Isaac. I have, however watched over 10 hours of gameplay on youtube, so I think that qualifies me to write a review of this game.
If you’ve ever wondered, as I often have, “What would it be like if Adventure Time was mixed with The Legend of Zelda, Pan’s Labyrinth, and then left to soak in a marinade of biblical themes and then doused with a splash of generic flash game adorableness?”, then this is the game for you. If you haven’t, don’t worry, you should still probably check it out.
The Binding of Isaac is the story of Isaac, a bald kid whose mother hears a voice from “god” and decides her son is sinful and needs to destroy him. Isaac hears this, and finds a trapdoor in his bedroom, which leads to the basement, where he fights all sorts of adoraterrifying monsters with the power of his tears. Along the way, he finds uses bombs, keys, and coins to find and unlock items, most of which change his appearance in some form. The higher levels will leave Isaac (or any of the unlockable characters) grossly disfigured, and with powers such as bloody tears or the ability to spit giant balls of chocolate milk at his enemies.
The real beauty of this game is the randomness. Every playthrough is uniquely generated, with each room, item drops, etc. being completely different from every previous and subsequent playthrough. And, because there are no save points, every death means a new game. And while that’s fairly standard for a roguelike game, the way Isaac changes throughout the game means that each game is almost like playing a new character.
The game is currently made in flash, but the creator (Edmund McMillen, who also made Super Meat Boy and Gish) has announced that he’s remaking the game to take it out of that format so it will be less buggy, and also available on the Playstation Network.
If you’re like me, and are working with a computer so old it won’t even download steam, definitely check out Nilesy‘s plays of this game on Youtube. Otherwise, head on over to Steam and pick up a copy.
Or, you know, don’t. It’s your life. I’m just some person on the internet.