The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Good
  • Huge amount of content within a unique setting with randomisation and different characters providing different adventures
  • Wonderful soundtrack that helps build that dark atmosphere of the story elements
Bad
  • Randomisation can make the game extremely difficult with some seeds
  • Insane level of items, bosses and things to learn can make it hard for new players to break in
8

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is the 2014 remake of the original title which features primarily the same core gameplay albeit with additional content and features. Building on the success of the original this remake is available on a broader range of platforms and follows the same plot of Isaac as he fights all manner of horrors in a roguelike framework.

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This story sees players control Isaac and in time several other unlockable characters after you flee into the basement from your mother who is convinced that Isaac should be sacrificed. What you find down in the basement during this escape though is definitely not what you were expecting with players uncovering a number of enemies, unique bosses and in time even your own mother. As you advance down further into the basement enemies change and you slowly reveal more about Isaac’s relationship with his mother with your success ultimately leading to one of several game endings.

With these endings each having a different twist on the battles you’ve faced so far this does encourage players to attempt a different run with Isaac or challenge themselves with one of the other character options that primarily impact on core attributes. For example while Isaac starts with 3 hearts his female counterpart Madalene starts with 4 hearts although has a slower speed attribute and different starting items for a different game experience.

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The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth utilises simple 2D graphics with players controlling Isaac from a top perspective while also incorporating other mechanics from popular dungeon adventures. On top of the unique setting a particularly attractive feature is the randomly generated dungeon layout elements that players will explore meaning no two experiences will be the same.

What doesn’t change between your attempts at beating The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth though is the combat mechanics where players engage against a vast number of enemy types with their own attack patterns. Like most roguelike titles this means that your skill and knowledge will last between playthroughs and allow you to push your runs further each time. Central to this push is different randomly generated rooms that can contain enemies, boss fights or items that help you improve the power of Isaac.

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With your primary weapon being your tears that shoot out as directional bullets that are also influenced by the upgrades you obtain or purchase with the dropped game currency from fallen foes. These upgrades include the personal attributes of Isaac such as health, speed, fire rate, damage, range, tear travel speed and luck alongside useful items that provide active and passive effects or trinket collectibles with passive bonuses.

Given the dozens of potential boss encounters the challenge of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth generally comes down to your ability to move Isaac effectively while maximising the accumulation of strength you’ve obtained so far. While some runs might be doomed due to the mixture of randomised elements you encounter most practiced players can turn any game seed into a victory.

Summary:

  • Unique setting with quality and classic roguelike gameplay.
  • Randomly generated game worlds provide new challenges with each attempt to defeat your mother.
  • Hundreds of items to loot and use that provide active or passive elements to improve your chances of success.
  • Control Isaac or one of many other characters with their own attributes and starting options.
  • Simple core gameplay loop with bullet hell elements that requires practice to master.

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Review Platform: PC

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Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2008 amassing over 3 million views on YouTube and 10 million article views on HubPages.

Games Finder is a Steam Curator and featured in the aggregate review scores data of MobyGames and Neoseeker.
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