Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Binding of Isaac

I would probably curl up and cry in the situation too. Not gonna lie.

Yes! Laser beams! They make everything better!
Binding of Isaac is a game made by Edmund McMillen (Of Team Meat) and Florian Himsl and released on Steam on September 28th 2011. The way you would describe this game is a Zelda dungeon rogue-like with loose biblical themes. They have since released an expansion for the game entitled Wrath of the Lamb. With such a weird sounding description, is this game any good?

Let’s get the plot out of the way. The plot of the game is  based around the biblical tale of the same name, the Binding of Isaac. A parent is asked by God to sacrifice their son in His name. This is translated into the game through Isaac’s mother, who sits around watching evangelical programming and believes she is one day commanded by God to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac finds a trap door in his room, jumps in, and so the game begins. There’s really no other plot beyond that. Get to the end of the level and beat the boss who waits for you there.

The graphics for this game are very good and cartoon like. One of my favorite features of the game is that Isaac’s image will change as you collect the different items. He’ll start out as his normal, teary eyed self, but eventually transform into something twisted and deranged looking. The enemy design is also disturbing. You have segmented jumping worms, vagina monsters who shoot deadly streams of blood, and sad children with heads bloated with flies to name a few.

The gameplay is a cross between old Nintendo Zelda style dungeons, procedural generated rogue-like dungeons, and bullet hell SHMUPS. Isaac starts out with the ability to shoot out tears which can be upgraded and altered by collecting items found throughout the dungeon.You can also find rechargeable items, trinkets, health upgrades, pills, stat upgrades, tarot cards, bombs, keys, and coins. All of which is randomly generated. This means that sometimes you’ll have a game where you’ll struggle through it, some games where you’ll find yourself challenged, and other games where you’re extremely over powered and everything is a breeze. This gives the game a LOT of replay-ability.

This is a simple shop, yet there's so much bizarre stuff going on here. The shop keeper hung himself, and is that... is that a ghost baby with you?!

The music for this game is also great. It’s haunting and scary and sets the mood of the game perfectly. I would even say it’s memorable. When I think about it, I have trouble coming up with a game recently that I loved the music for, something that was a pretty frequent occurrence when I was younger. So either my tastes have changed, or we just don’t get games with music this good like we used to.

Overall I do not hesitate suggesting this to people. Right now you can get it on Steam for 4.99 and the Wrath of the Lamb expansion for 2.99. That’s awfully cheap compared to full releases that come out now a days. The content of the game is mature, so keep that in mind. If you can look past that, or just love things that are really messed up and weird (I do!) then go out and get this game! Support the developers so we can either get another one, another game from them, or even an Binding of Isaac 2!

Still unsure? Try out demo on Newgrounds!

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