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The Binding of Isaac

Binding of Isaac photo
Who beats off on paper? Werewolves. That's who.
Max and I started playing The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth because it's a good-ass game, and we like to do gaming. Max has actually never played any iteration of Binding of Isaac before, so I let him go first, knowing that I'd only have to wait a few minutes before my turn.

Team Meat photo
Team Meat

Team Meat and Rebirth dev talk about the woes of fans datamining The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth


All the secrets have been ruined
Nov 13
// Chris Carter
Recently on a stream called Vinesauce, Edmund McMillen and Tyrone Rodriguez, the original creator of The Binding of Isaac and the guy who lead the Rebirth project respectively talked about datamining. In short, most of t...

Review: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Nov 11 // Nic Rowen
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (PC [reviewed], PS4, Vita)Developer: Nicalis Inc, Edmund McMillenPublisher: Nicalis, IncReleased: November 4, 2014MSRP:$14.99 Everything about Binding of Isaac is crazy and feels like it somehow shouldn't exist. But it does, and there is a kind of naughty thrill in that, like getting away with a rude joke at the dinner table. For those unfamiliar with the original, Isaac is a roguelike twin-stick shooter/dungeon crawler where you play as a small naked boy named Isaac, whose mother, believing she has heard the commanding voice of God, is trying to kill him. He desperately flees into the basement where he encounters deadly insects, mutated siblings, and every sort of grotesquery you could care to imagine. He fights them with his tears. Yup. Every run is a new experience, a single chance at heaven or hell. If you die, it's back to scratch. The game is deeply mysterious, featuring no fewer than 16 different ending, at least 8 unlockable alternate characters, 4 bonus levels, and literally hundreds of items to discover, unlock, and experiment with. It's a deep, dark rabbit hole and if you have any kind of completionist streak it will ruin your life (take it from me). Isaac may present itself in the familiar sheep's clothes of a Zelda clone, a fun romp through some old-school top-down action, but that's just the skin-suit pulled tight around the beast. At its heart, Isaac is its own twisted, beautiful monster. The most notable difference between Rebirth and the original Isaac is the shiny new engine and graphical overhaul. The original was made in Flash, giving the game a distinctly smooth and cartoony look, and with no shortage of technical problems to boot. Rebirth ditches Flash (and thankfully all of the bugs and glitches associated with it), dropping the smooth lines for a more detailed, SNES-era pixelated look. More importantly than the faux 16-bit trappings, the new engine allows for a smoother and more stable experience. Where the frame rate of the original would drop through floor like a bowling ball when too many shots or enemies got on the screen, that's no longer an issue. Rebirth runs at a flawless 60 FPS come hell or high water. With the smoother graphics come some gameplay changes. Rebirth is a much more shooty (to use my highly technical vocabulary) game than fans might be used to. The dependable frame rate allows for much more intense fights than the original ever dared to attempt, veering into bullet hell shmup territory on occasion. All of the new bosses introduced in Rebirth (and there are a lot of them) are much faster and aggressive than the old guard, and some of the returning enemies, particularly the final bosses, have been overhauled to be FAR more trigger happy than they used to be. I never thought I'd be happy to run into the likes of Loki or Peep, but I'll take them any day over the new recruits in Satan's army. Thankfully, bullet hell is a knife that cuts both ways. Rebirth does not shy away from crazy item combinations that completely break the game. At one point I had a fully upgraded rate of fire with floating anti-gravity tears mixed with ricocheting rubber cement and a boomerang effect. I would step into a room, hold down the fire button for about a second or two, let go, and watch the entire room be enveloped in tears and instantly eradicate everything. The game might have gotten more difficult, but there are also more items to help turn it around. Along with the other technical advancements, there is more variety in the shape and size of the dungeon chambers in Rebirth. Rooms are no longer limited to the single screen rectangular format they used to be. You will come across long hallways rigged with traps, huge arenas filled with enemies, big multi-screen affairs that will scroll along with Isaac's movement. These massive rooms have hosted some of the most intense moments I've had with Rebirth, the added space allowing for multiple mini-boss battles or elaborate traps. Rebirth includes a small, but delightful, two-player mode. At any time player two can join in as a tiny, floating ghost baby at the cost of one of player-one's heart containers. Ghost baby is definitely second fiddle, unable to plant bombs, walk through doors, or pick up items (no cheating and grabbing something from across a gap), but he will benefit from whatever kind of shot upgrade Isaac has collected. It won't become the new way to play Binding of Isaac any time soon, but having a wingman is loads more fun than it has any right to be. Rounding out the new additions are a few quality of life tweaks. Control pads are now supported on the PC version, and work perfectly fine if that's your preferred style. You can choose between “Normal” and “Hard” modes now, letting you somewhat regulate what brand of insanity you're looking for. Hard mode, of course, hides its own set of exclusive items and enemies, so anyone looking to collect all the goodies should prepare to suffer for the compulsion. Rebirth graciously now allows you to quit mid-way and return later, instead of holding you hostage to a good run. (“I'm going to be late but I have fully powered tears and twelve heart containers! I mean, the divorce rate around here is like 55%, so I can probably get another shot at being my brother's best man, right?”). It is potentially a life-saving addition for the truly possessed. Rebirth surfaces the randomized “seed” of each run, a small series of numbers you can input to generate the same map/item pick-ups. You can replay particularly great runs, near misses, or swap favorable map layouts with friends. This is a shockingly generous addition that seems to run counter to much of the game's otherwise unforgiving and hard-nose posture. It seems so out of place that the idea rankled me. I respect the purity of the one-chance, perma-death run. Watering it down with de facto do-overs cheapened the experience for me faster than fall of the Berlin Wall devalued the Soviet Ruble. As an addict of the first game, my favorite enhancement is also the least consequential, Rebirth is able to visually stack multiple items on Isaac with fewer conflicts than before. It may seem silly, but watching Isaac's strange transformation from a tiny naked boy to a pustulating, winged, blood trailing monster, or failed Siamese twin with a chemical burn, or lipstick wearing cyclops being followed around by the floating head of his dead cat, or whatever, is one of the greatest pleasures in the game to me. My heart always broke a tiny little bit when one item would overwrite another, or just not appear at all. I love just about everything about Rebirth and (if you couldn't already tell) I can't recommend the game enough. But I feel like I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the poop. There is a lot of poop in this game, a lot of tasteless dead baby jokes, gross out gags, and weird Christian imagery, all of which might rub some people the wrong way. Personally, I don't mind that stuff and I think the game earns some of it's nastiness (the very core of Isaac is a sad story of child abuse as seen through the eyes of the child experiencing it after all, it's going to be horrifying and juvenile), rather than just being gross for grossness sake. Still, it's going to be a deal breaker for some people. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is hands down the best version of Isaac. It improves upon the original, a fantastic game in its own right, in every conceivable way. If you haven't played Isaac yet, this is the version to get. If you are a fan of the original, these are so many new items, enemies, and experiences to be found in Rebirth that it feels far more like a sequel than a remake. Rebirth is an incredible experience that can't be missed. Descend into the basement, lock the trapdoor behind you, and don't look back.
Rebirth Review photo
The best game you'll ever play about washing poop out of a basement with your tears
In 2011, I lost a chunk of my life. An insidious tendril of addiction, despair, and obsession caught me by the ankle and dragged me into the The Binding of Isaac's darkened basement. I lost dozens of hours, whole days at a ti...

Team Fortress 2 photo
Team Fortress 2

We could've had Binding of Isaac poop hats in Team Fortress 2


Valve went with horns instead
Oct 14
// Jordan Devore
When I clicked on this blog post for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, my eyes went straight to the second image -- specifically, the sobbing Heavy. Love it. Next, they shifted to the Scout wearing a hat that looks like a giant ...
Wii U photo
Wii U

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth teased for Wii U


Smiley face
Oct 07
// Jordan Devore
Fans of The Binding of Isaac have long wanted the game on 3DS and while that'd be great to see one day, I'd be just as happy to to have it on Wii U. Which might actually happen! I know! Nicalis uploaded this video yesterday and that blip at the beginning sure is a Wii U overlay. There's also this Twitter exchange between designer Edmund McMillen and Nicalis' Tyrone Rodriguez. [Via GoNintendo]
Binding of Isaac photo
Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is everything I hoped it'd be


PS Vita owners especially are in for a treat
Sep 08
// Jordan Devore
One of my favorite parts of PAX Prime this year was an appointment with Nicalis. Not only was the meeting away from the crowded, noisy Washington State Convention Center, it was an opportunity to get sucked into The Binding o...
Binding of Isaac photo
Binding of Isaac

Co-op in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is looking good


A short Let's Play preview from the McMillens
Aug 19
// Jordan Devore
Here's Edmund and Danielle McMillen previewing cooperative play in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth including one of the game's twenty challenges, Head Trauma, in which you have tons of tears spraying all over the place but the...
Binding of Isaac photo
Binding of Isaac

Replay runs, customize controls in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth


PS Vita visuals won't be exactly on par
Jul 29
// Jordan Devore
I convinced myself long ago that The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was something I needed in my life, so every additional detail or feature we're told about in the lead up to release is just icing on top. This week, customizable ...
Binding of Isaac photo
Binding of Isaac

Binding of Isaac: Rebirth's Jar lets you capture hearts like Link does fairies


Oh my, this game is going to be big
Jul 22
// Brett Makedonski
Some 150 new items are being added to Binding of Isaac for Rebirth, and as the game inches toward completion, Edmund McMillan is dutifully trotting several of them out one at a time to let us know what we can expect. The...
Binding of Isaac Rebirth photo
Binding of Isaac Rebirth

Binding of Isaac Rebirth's developer re-iterates that it will be super large


'Much larger than the original and the expansion put together'
Jul 03
// Chris Carter
We've gotten many hints that Binding of Isaac Rebirth will be a very large game, but a new blog update shines a little more light on what goes into that equation. While the original game and the expansion had 198 items, ...
Binding of Isaac photo
Binding of Isaac

Here's how co-op works in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth


How is babby formed?
Jun 18
// Jordan Devore
We've long known that The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth will have an all-new local cooperative feature but here are the specifics, as broken down by designer Edmund McMillen. When the second player presses start, they'll randomly...
Binding of Isaac photo
Binding of Isaac

New Binding of Isaac: Rebirth character detailed


Spoilers below
May 27
// Jordan Devore
There are going to be "a few" new playable characters in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth but we'll only hear about one of them pre-release. Eden is a randomly generated character that "isn't a man, nor are they a woman," accord...
Deals photo
Deals

You should consider getting Desktop Dungeons at half price


Also, Binding of Isaac and Spec Ops
May 13
// Jordan Devore
My original intention was to inform you that Desktop Dungeons is $7.49 this week on Steam until Friday morning, and that you should play it because it's real good. Hard as hell, but good. That was until I noticed another game...
Binding of Isaac photo
Binding of Isaac

More info and screens from Binding of Isaac: Rebirth teased


Definitive details and final build soon
Apr 30
// Chris Carter
Hey, remember when that Binding of Isaac remake was announced forever ago? Well it still exists, and now we're able to see a bit more of what to expect. First off the "Bony" enemy has been teased, which is a pretty simple foe...
Binding of Isaac photo
Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth might get a level editor as DLC


If there's demand, which there surely will be
Apr 21
// Jordan Devore
Asked if The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth would have a publicly available level editor, designer Edmund McMillen responded, yeah, that might eventually happen. "The editor won't be in a state to go public so we won't be releasin...
Edmund McMillen photo
Edmund McMillen

Edmund McMillen teases upcoming reveals with a pixel smudge


I bet it has something to do with videogames
Mar 16
// Jonathan Holmes
Edmund McMillen, creator of Binding of Isaac and one half of Team Meat (Mewgenics, Super Meat Boy) is excited and I don't know why. Maybe you can figure it out.  Edmund recently tweeted "the weekend is totally ...
Binding of Isaac photo
Binding of Isaac

Laser-filled The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth .gifs bring me joy


Cryogenic freezing isn't a thing yet, right?
Mar 12
// Jordan Devore
The official Tumblr for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has been rolling out regular, punchy updates for a while now -- lots of blurbs that, while exciting, haven't necessarily been worth a full post here. Being the fan of .gif...
Binding of Issac photo
Binding of Issac

Here's some juicy info on The Binding of Issac Rebirth


Creator Edmund McMillen fills us in on the art style, controller support and more.
Jan 13
// Alasdair Duncan
With all the hullabaloo about Mew-genics, I forgot that Team Meat's Edmund McMillen was still working on the the new The Binding of Issac: Rebirth. Edmund has posted a big Q&A about the game's development that makes me r...
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Binding of Isaac remade with graphics made of paper


Doodles come to life in this free fan tribute
Mar 17
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: The developers of the game just updated the latest build in honor of this post, so check it out] The Binding of Isaac starts out with the drawings of a sad, talented young person. Later, those drawings appear t...
Binding of Isaac photo
Binding of Isaac

More new sprites unveiled for Binding of Isaac: Rebirth


McMillen reports recreation of original assets largely complete
Feb 09
// Conrad Zimmerman
Edmund McMillen has revealed a new sheet of sprites for the upcoming remake of his surprise hit game, The Binding of Isaac. In a post to his personal blog, McMillen accompanied the images with news that a large percentag...
The Binding of Isaac photo
The Binding of Isaac

Binding of Isaac piano arrangement is sweet sorrow


Might give you a case of the feels
Feb 03
// Jonathan Holmes
When The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was announced, I was puzzled by some of the folks were annoyed with the new graphics, deeming them "pointless." They seemed to think that because they liked the original game's visuals ...
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Binding of Isaac: Rebirth's cast gets fleshed out


Looking pretty fleshy there, Peep
Dec 22
// Jonathan Holmes
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is one of my most anticipated games of 2013. The new sprite-based graphics and the promise of additional content is giving me the vapors. The original Isaac looks great too, but this new "16-bit"...
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Binding of Isaac: Rebirth team looking for fan feedback


How do you want your naked crying child to look?
Dec 02
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: New screen featuring the GBA-stlye art direction straight from Edmund McMillen's twitter. This is definitely my new favorite.] I'm still freaking out about The Binding of Isaac coming to consoles. I loved the origina...
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Nicalis bringing The Binding of Isaac remake to consoles


Remade in 16-bit with local co-op
Nov 28
// Jordan Devore
In a postmortem written by Edmund McMillen over on Gamasutra, the designer has revealed that he was approached by Nicalis president Tyrone Rodriguez to remake The Binding of Isaac for consoles. His answer -- "yes," as you've ...
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The Binding of Isaac turns one, goes 75% off on Steam


Sep 28
// Jordan Devore
Has it really been a year since The Binding of Isaac released? Time sure does fly when you're playing and replaying such a deceptively large game. To celebrate the one-year anniversary, Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl are d...
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Binding of Isaac remake heading for PC, consoles, mobiles


Aug 28
// Alasdair Duncan
Edmund McMillen has confirmed that he's planning a full remake of his hit game The Binding of Isaac to be released on consoles, PC, and Android/iOS. Answering questions on his formspring, Edmund says that the new version of t...
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Binding of Isaac passes 700k sales, gets another update


Jun 20
// Jordan Devore
According to game designer Edmund McMillen, The Binding of Isaac has sold more than 700,000 copies to date. This was made possible with help from the "Wrath of the Lamb" expansion, which sold 1/5th of the overall sales in "le...
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Binding of Isaac expansion set to release on May 28


May 07
// Jordan Devore
When someone tries to make videogame characters look hyper realistic, the end result usually leads to feelings of regret. "Why couldn't I just let that link be and move on?" The same effect can be found even for a game like ...
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This Binding of Isaac expansion poster is such a tease


Apr 20
// Jordan Devore
You know, it feels great to not spend every last moment of my free time playing The Binding of Isaac. This has been a nice break, but it won't last for much longer -- not with the upcoming expansion on the horizon. Edmund McM...
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The DTOID SHOW: Mechwarrior, Sim City, & Baldur's Gate!


Feb 29
// Max Scoville
Yes, you read that correctly. Today's episode of The Destructoid Show is the closest we've actually come to the late-90's flashback episode I've been dying to do that gives me an excuse to buy a Rammstein shirt and some UFO p...

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