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Binding of Isaac, The
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Console: Steam
Year: 2011
RFG ID #: W-194-S-05830-A
Part #: 113200
Developer: Edmund McMillen / Florian Himsl
Publisher: Edmund McMillen
Genre: Action/Adventure
Sub-genre: Dungeon Crawler, Roguelike
Players: 1
Controller: Mouse & Keyboard
Media Format: Downloadable
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Collection Stats:

  • 67 of 7593 collectors (0.8%) have this game in their collection
  • 0 of 7593 collectors (0%) have this game in their wishlist.
  • 0 of 7593 collectors (0%) have this game for sale or trade.

The Binding of Isaac is a four-directional shooter / dungeon crawler starring a child who runs into the basement to escape his deranged mother. As Isaac, you must battle horrible creatures as you move from room to room, deeper into the basement. With Edmund McMillen's signature style, the game features brightly-colored visuals and expressive animation, but also contains a high amount of blood & gore, disturbing imagery, and religious references.

The gameplay takes inspiration from the roguelike genre of RPGs: Many elements are randomized in each playthrough including enemies, items, and room layouts. The items you come across can change both your physical appearance and your abilities. Different combinations of items can allow for radically different styles of play, and coincidentally, radically creepy characters.


CoinCollector's Review:

The Binding of Isaac... on one hand, it's a superb action-RPG-shooter with roguelike elements. I'm a real sucker for roguelike-inspired games. Permadeath gives your decisions more significance and makes survival really important. Then the randomization makes every playthrough exciting - you never know what items or enemies you'll run into.

On the other hand, the game is profoundly disturbing on many many levels.

Here, check out the premise: Isaac's mother, hearing voices from God, decides that she must kill her son. Isaac takes to the basement where, naked and crying, he must fight his lost brothers & sisters with his tears. The creatures you come across can look particularly horrendous, and on top of all of this, the initial goal of the game is to kill Mom. It's sick, it's absurb - it's seemingly trying to be as offensive as possible.

There lies the dividing line that will determine whether or not you can enjoy this game: does all of that offend you? Can you look past it? Or perhaps you dig really messed up stuff? Me, I intensely dislike the entire scenario the game presents, but because I am already desensitized by other games & media of today's world, I was able to have a good time with the gameplay hidden underneath the shocking exterior.

So, the gameplay. The game really does do some cool and interesting things in that department. As you're traveling through the basement you come across a variety of items that change your abilities or give you new ones. Some will increase (or decrease) your speed, strength, health, or other stats, while others will cause pretty radical changes like changing your tears to lasers that instantly shoot across the room. Sometimes a pickup will allow you to take to the air, flying over pits, spikes, and other harmful things. Any one item can have a pretty big change on your current play style or can open up new possibilities, and some items combine with others to result in some interesting synergies. Before long you can end up with a character that looks and plays miles apart from the Isaac you were on level 1.

The vast possibilities for character customization make starting a new playthrough really fun - it can be exciting to see what loot you'll run into this time. There's nothing like the thrill of walking into a treasure room and spotting a really awesome item that will completely turn your run around. Maybe you were limping along with bad luck, barely managing to stay alive, but now that your tears have been replaced with bombs you're pretty confident you'll make it to the final boss this time.

Randomization combined with the high stakes of permadeath can call for some dynamic decision-making at times. Choices galore: I can see the boss on the map, so should I go straight to him and move on to the next level ASAP, or should I risk exploring the other paths first, and maybe come across some extra items? Should I pour my coins into a slot machine, or spend them in the shop? I could permanently lower my health in exchange for some really powerful items from the Devil. Through the procedural generation, all of the game's elements are shuffled around to create a countless number of scenarios to find yourself in. It's an action game with a lot of skill involved, but it also keeps you thinking, always weighing factors to see which choices will most likely lead to success.

Also, Isaac is a difficult game. There is plenty of hardcore challenge within for those up to it. There are dozens of unlockables and achievements to earn, and simply beating the game is a true accomplishment. Mom seems like the final boss at the beginning, but there are, ehm, several others to look forward to. Players who push through to the real end should feel super proud (that is, if they aren't already embarassed from playing the twisted thing in the first place).

The Binding of Isaac: great game in a gross shell. No doubt it's got a lot of personality, but you just have to decide whether or not it is a favorable type of personality. If it's your kind of thing or you can look past it, come on in. The gameplay's fine!

Related Games:

Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Steam W S Basement Collection, The Edmund McMillen 2012 Compilation
Steam W S Super Meat Boy Team Meat 2010 Action/Adventure
Game Trivia:

  • Originally released exclusively on Steam on September 28, 2011, the game has since been available in multiple Humble Bundles and in two retail releases.
  • An expansion pack entitled "Wrath of the Lamb" was released on May 28, 2012.
  • Since the game was built with Adobe Flash, a free browser demo was able to be released on Newgrounds.com.
FAQ's/External Links:


Taken from the game's first room:

Move Attack Bomb Item
A S D W ← ↑ ↓ → Shift or E Space
Easter Eggs:

  • Every time a teleport item is used, there is a small chance that the player will be sent to a special room with intentionally glitchy graphics containing several items, a trapdoor that leads to the next level, and a bearded figure saying "I AM ERROR". The latter is a reference to Zelda II.
  • A rare miniboss, Ultra Pride, is a pair of enemies that resembles Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl.
  • A blocky pickaxe item called Notched Axe is a reference to Minecraft and its creator, Markus "Notch" Persson.
Game Credits:

Artwork & Animation     

Edmund McMillen


Florian Himsl


Danny Baranowsky

Sound Effects

Jordan Fehr


Mattias Bossi

Special Thanks

The Bible †
And all the people we love ♥ !

Page Credits:

Michael Collins: Page Design, HTML Code
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fungal mage: Title Addition
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Last Updated: 2013-07-18 14:22:47
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