Posted: March 19, 2014
After playing Super meat boy, I started looking out for new games by the same developer. Edmund Mcmillen’s wonderfully strange imagination is an interesting thing to explore through his games, that’s for sure.
This game was not a disappointment. At first, I had no idea what to expect, the trailer was very strange but a tad intriguing. When I came across it there was next to no information about the game and the mechanics of it on the store page and back then there was no costumer reviews to go off of. Admittedly I never actually brought it to give it a go off of the information I was given, I ended up with it from a bundle and it’s the only reason I really played it. Although I wish I had taken the leap to try it because it is well worth it.
Binding of Isaac is a randomly generated dungeon crawler, one I have heard to be described as “Zelda-like” (I would have no idea about that, never played a Zelda game) you’re a young boy running from his demented mother. Who has been blinded by her hard-core Christianity and believes that the voice of god has spoken to her and told her to murder her son to prove her loyalty. So a very interesting concept, indeed.
A short cut scene plays on start-up, which expands on what I just described, you find yourself wandering through randomly generated dungeon floors, fighting monsters, picking up loot and items as you go along that changes how you fight, gives you different abilities and drastically changes Isaac’s image. At the end of each floor, you fight a boss, and move on down to the next floor. It being harder than before, with a bigger space to explore and more enemies to defeat.
There’s a large range of items to collect that when found for the first time is added to the “things I found” section in the main menu, so a lovely bit of collecting there to entice those OCD minded like myself, There’s new characters to unlock which vary in stats, challenges to complete and even some DLC that can extend your gameplay.
You are given one life and one life only. You can find hearts to heal, but once you are dead, that’s it, you start all over again. So throughout the whole game and especially when nearing the end, it starts to put a little pressure on and gets that heart rate going. I’m not one to be good under pressure so it gets me every time. I FINALLY managed to complete the game a few times over, again, admittedly, only after I gained some “top tips” from my way-to-good-at-games brother. There have been people that have completed the game 10 times over and still not gotten bored. I think that the randomly generated dungeon element to it keeps its replay ability intact. If it were to replay the same levels over and over when you died, the game would be a lot different and no doubt a lot less popular.
I have heard from friends that it is quite hard to complete without “doing your research” on the wiki or seeking tips from those nerdy minded like my brother who managed to figure all of it out themselves. I on the other hand find that kind of thing enjoyable, because it beats you every time and you work and research and try to understand the game more to finally get to that ending. I can quite honestly say that the first time I reached the end, my heart has never beaten that loud or that fast in a long time. And that sense of accomplishment you get from finishing a game, is a on a much higher scale when you work to complete this one.
The music is great, it fits the setting perfectly and is great to listen to. Rarely have I actually wanted to download a game’s soundtrack, I can give most soundtracks a thumbs up but not often do I actually want to listen to game music outside of gaming.
The art, as per usual in Edmunds games, is amazing. And I hear they are also looking to remake the game to have a more “retro” look, with possible multiplayer features. Which should be very interesting. For those interested you can look up “Binding of Isaac: Rebirth”.
All in all, it is a great indie game, which is both fun and challenging. Definitely worth trying, I am not usually the dungeon crawler type, but this game is a lot of fun. The only fault that I had with this game, which has bothered me quite a few times now, is that I have lost my save for no reason. The game is listed as having ‘Steam Cloud’ features, but it definitely doesn't work. I haven't uninstalled the game, I haven't touched it. But recently I hopped on and seen all the progress that I had made was gone. And for a game that has no real save points or ongoing plot to keep up with, your stats, unlocked characters and collection of things you have found is pretty much all you have. I was pretty upset to see it had vanished and it’s something I felt I needed to warn people about.
TL;DR : Awesome music, fun and engaging game with a slightly 'twisted' side to it. It's a challenge to reach the end and you can definitely end up putting a lot of hours into this. Addictive and awesome all around.