Monday, December 01, 2014

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

I've been watching a lot of streams over the past month what with my hands hurting sporadically. One of the games that cropped up recently among people I follow on Twitch and on people who stream through SpeedRunsLive is The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. It's an action RPG roguelike game with a bunch of challenge modes built into it. It looked pretty fun, and it looked like the sort of thing I could be reasonably good at, and since it's so new it's also something that people are racing a lot. Getting a stream listed on the SRL stream list requires having done some races on their site, so picking up a shorter game with an active userbase seemed like a decent thing to do. So when it went on sale this past weekend I picked it up to give it a spin.

The game has a 'bit' of a sacrilegious theme going on. You play the role of Isaac, a small child whose mother hears the voice of God command her to sacrifice Isaac. Rather than allow yourself to be murdered you escape through a trap door into the basement which is a randomly generated dungeon crawl. Your method of attacking is to cry at the enemies, which shoots little projectile tears at them. The game controls like Robotron with a double joystick setup. One joystick for moving, one for aiming your attack.

The key to the game is the wide array of items you can pick up which modify the way the game plays out. The items can combine in weird and crazy ways and a good part of the fun, so far at least, has been in seeing the changes to the character as you stack on more and more weird modifications. One of the ways to get new items, including most of the powerful ones, is to meet with Satan and exchange maximum health for power. He can teach you how to fly, or turn your tears into molten lava, or maybe just sell you a headless baby corpse which will follow you round leaking blood in a trail behind you. He's a good guy who just wants to give you the tools you need to survive!

The enemies are pretty silly, too. Flies, and spiders, and sentient piles of poop. Lots of the items center around poop, actually. There's definitely some juvenile humour going on, but if you take the theme away you're still left with a fairly short dungeon crawler that controls fantastically and has a lot of interesting decisions when it comes to what items you want to buy.

I'm having a lot of fun with it, and I'm throwing it up on stream when I can. It's worth checking out if the theme doesn't bother you too much. I have to unlock a lot of stuff before I can think about racing the game (typical races go to a level of the dungeon I can't play) but that's definitely still a relatively short term goal.

No comments: