Today, I will review a newer generation roguelike game: The Binding of Isaac, and its sequel The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. Like last time, this review will be divided into 4 subsections; storyline, gameplay, visuals and final thoughts.
I must warn you before I start, this game takes some very religious turns here and there, so those easily offended by such things shouldn’t continue. Now, without further ado:
Table of Contents
The story begins with the titular character, Isaac. Similarly to the story in the Bible, his mother, a very religious person, starts hearing a voice from the sky, presumably God himself. He claims that Isaac’s soul is corrupted and he must be cleansed.
So, his mother decides to strip him of all his toys and clothes. “God” however still demands proof of faith, so he asks his mother to kill Isaac. Isaac overhears his mother’s plan, and before she has the chance to kill him, he escapes through a hatch.
Now, Isaac must escape from the basement and free himself.
Other than the above introduction, there really isn’t much story to unlock. The only remaining story is some in-between levels cutscenes and a bunch of different endings for each first successful different final boss kill.
The game does have a deeper meaning, however, as there are signs that Isaac is homosexual, and he tries to deal with his nature by turning to religion, and after seeing that the Bible doesn’t have a solution, he kills himself.
This is not set in stone, as the game doesn’t actually have a set canon storyline. But you shouldn’t let the darker theme of the game’s story affect you as the game is more than worth it.
Another game that relies on its gameplay instead of story or graphics, The Binding of Isaac (TBoI) is a newer generation roguelike game. You pick your starting character between the many different options, each with his/her strengths and weaknesses, and you start to traverse randomly generated dungeons. Each level becomes harder and bigger, with tougher enemies. To move on to the next level you must beat a boss each time.
You begin with your character’s basic attack. As you explore, you will find various items and trinkets, all of which grant you a beneficial effect. The fun factor is the randomness and replayability; you never experience the same run, and you never know which items you’ll find. Some items can be combined to form extremely strong combos.
The first game is much harder as it has fewer items and combos, fewer characters, and fewer game modes. It also has fewer final bosses. These were addressed with its sequel, TBoI: Rebirth, and its DLCs.
There are also many micro details that you will learn while playing. For example, if you finish a level without taking damage, you have an increased chance to find a devil room, where you can trade max health for very powerful items unobtainable otherwise.
If you don’t make “a deal with the devil”, every time the devil room is set to appear, an angel room might appear instead, which gives a very powerful item for free. Things like this are worth spending time too as this game can keep you hooked for many hours. There are also many unlockables for the achievement hunters out there.
The SFX is spot on, and there are many sound effects that will be engraved in your mind. Each passive item has its own effect on your projectiles, making it easy to see what’s going on.
Certain combos create absolutely stunning visual effects. This is mostly true for Rebirth; the original is older after all.
The graphics are nothing to gawk at. It’s certainly not an AAA game, but they do hit the mood. Each level gets darker and bloodier, and they do a very good job of reminding you that you are in a hostile place.
The bosses have fluent animations and great models. There isn’t anything too complicated, and the developers did exactly what was expected.
This game delivers in its goals pretty well. Other than being a game that you can play and spend time getting better, it also has the positive of being easy to pick up and start playing and then stopping after a few minutes of playtime, only to continue from where you left off when you return.
Many sensitive people might get offended by its religious elements and “deal with the devil” options, but these people are exactly that; sensitive. For those not as easily offended, this game is sure to stay in their hearts. I guarantee that anyone who buys this game will spend hundreds of hours having fun unlocking items and characters.
General Rating: 6.8/10
That’s it for my review. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you played any of these two games? Did I convince you to try it out? If you have anything to say, just drop a comment and I will answer as soon as I can.
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