[Game Review] The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

What’s a game where all you have to do is cry to save yourself from your opponents?

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was developed by Nicalis, Inc., Edmund McMillen, and Tyrone Rodriguez. It is a remake of the original The Binding of Isaac.

Backstory

The story is about how Isaac’s mother listens to a voice who she believes to be God (after watching a number of religious programs). God tells her Isaac is corrupted. She then follows the instructions of taking away his toys, and locking him in his room to keep him away from the outside evils, and in order to prove to him how much she loves God, she has to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac then finds a means of escape through a trap door under the rug. Very much like the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac under the same name.

Gameplay + Controls

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth_20160219202358

Pretty simple, huh? Still confusing sometimes, but still simple nonetheless. I don’t know what it’s like on the PC, so if you’ve played this game on your computer, tell me in the comments how different it is from the PlayStation!

This is basically the same thing every time you play, only you get completely different power-ups and items as well as different enemies. There is a long list of items that have different enhancing powers for Isaac (or whoever you’re playing) or even items that lower your stats (I usually just cheat).

The game is literally collection overload. There are so many things to unlock, combinations to figure out, items to collect, all before you die. It’s a rogue-like/action type of game, so if you die, you’ll have to start from the top again, ensuring a completely different experience each time. Also very frustrating once you’ve found great items that boost your attributes, as well as your stock of bombs, and keys that give you access to other parts of your map. There are a lot of secrets; I didn’t even know that certain walls that you bomb will open up a secret door. I discovered it accidentally during one play-through. It’s almost like card games; your next set of cards is either really good or really bad. Even when you get less power-ups than before, after playing for a while, you learn how to survive and strategize the way you attack your opponents, but you have to balance it out with having a good amount of hearts/HP.

What’s very interesting is that when I first played, I couldn’t stop. It was so addicting, I kept playing over and over again. Since I still have classes and other engagements, I don’t always get to play but when I do have the time to, even when I want to stop playing, I still play. Sometimes you get the unproductive feeling after playing a game for a long while, especially if it’s the type where you don’t really follow a story; somewhat like an arcade game, and I really don’t want to play anymore (like I’ve said, it’s the same thing with different elements over and over). It doesn’t really work for me.

Even when I don’t want to play this game anymore, I still play anyway.

Graphics + Sounds

poopGraphics are pixel style with lots of poop! Sometimes these kinds of poop may either be good or bad. That one on the side is called Dingle and will deplete your HP so you gotta attack them with your tears.

Other than there being a lot of poop in your basement, killing a lot of these monsters make a bloody mess. It’s really nothing scary because the graphics are actually rather cute and comical.

As shown here on the right, each time you progress deeper into the basement, Isaac The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth_20160219161512remembers horrible, horrible things that happen in daily life.  Such as taking a poop and finding out you are out of toilet paper. It’s so funny that he remembers these sort of mundane things while battling for his life in the basement with his tears. It’s almost sadistic if you think about it since it is literally Isaac’s sadness, and anxiety that makes the game funny, but maybe there’s a lesson to be from it: that channeling your emotions in a completely unique way is good for you. (Not bad hehe) These little scenes are one of the things I look forward to each time I play.

Usually when I play games, I like it when, say for example, you change the armor you’ve equipped; you really see it change on the map or anywhere else you go. That is exactly the case for this game. Each new item you pick up or find that increase you attributes, something either changes or is added to what Isaac looks like. If you’ve noticed from the photos above, there’s one where Isaac wears a mask, and one where he attacks with lasers. There’s a lot more combinations where that comes from; you can even pick up what’s called “Mom’s Eyeshadow” which makes Isaac have blue eyeshadow and enhance his attacks to add “Charm” which would momentarily make the enemy help you and fight other enemies.




Sounds

The background music gets you pumped, pauses at times you enter the rooms that give you items; it’s never really quiet and although the music is repetitive, you don’t get tired of it. You don’t even notice it sometimes. The sound effects are very appropriate and gives the characters/monsters/the game itself more life.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is actually quite difficult especially if you’re bad at dodging attacks. But really, it’s a hard game. I actually haven’t gotten any of the endings. I’ve only gotten to battle Mother one time and I lost. I watched a couple of playthroughs and people have it much better than I do because it seems they already have prior knowledge about the game. I’ve never really played the original before, and really just started to get to know about it now with its blood banks, shops, etc. but it’s one interesting game. Poopies and blood and sometimes cute/sometimes weird monsters. It’s definitely my kind of game (I sense you judging me).

Rating: 8 / 10

Buy this game on Steam / Humble Bundle / PSN!




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