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The Binding of Isaac (Video Game Review)

The Binding of Isaac is a bizarre new title from independent developer Edmund McMillen, who is well known as the creator of the highly popular title Super Meat Boy, and Florian Himsl. In The Binding of Isaac, you'll constantly find yourself grossed out and completely baffled by the use Isaac can find from the game's unique collection of items and grossed out by the crazy amount of blood, urine and fecal matter, but the game is still plenty of fun. The game is a mixture of various genres than can be classified as an action RPG dungeon crawler that is randomized in both map layout and the items you can obtain which each new game. The randomness of the game gives The Binding of Isaac nearly infinite replay value if you can appreciate the strange and somewhat controversial topics the game brings to the forefront.

In The Binding of Isaac, you play as the game's title character, Isaac. Isaac was a small child who lived in a house on top of a hill with his mother. Isaac used to spend his days playing with his toys, while his mother watched Christian broadcasts on television, but after a series of messages received from God, Isaac's mother attacks the child in an attempt to take his life as her Lord had commanded. Luckily, Isaac was able to escape the small confines of his room at the last second through a secret trap door hidden within the floor of the room. Now, Isaac spends his days constantly crying while fighting off hordes of terrifying monsters armed with nothing but his own tears and reliving traumatic events from his past as he attempts to escape his homicidal mother. The Binding of Isaac features 10 different endings and becomes a more difficult game with each completion of the game. While the game's storyline isn't truly compelling, it does a fine job of setting the plot for endless hours of marathon runs through the game's dangerous dungeons.

Part of the fun with The Binding of Isaac is the game's randomness, and the game's rougelike elements allow you to start fresh with each death. Each game will be different from another with randomly designed dungeons that pay homage to classic titles like The Legend of Zelda complete with secret rooms that can be found through the usage of bombs. There are over 100 items to find in the entire game, but many of them will need to be unlocked through multiple playthroughs, and you'll only find a select few in each playthrough. Some will power up the tears you fire at your opponents, while some will be used as a spacebar item that recharges every few rooms or so. You'll need to find all the items in each dungeon for the best chance at winning and defeating each boss at the end of the floor. Bosses are randomly chosen from a group of enemies on most floors, and they get progressively more difficult as you make your way through each floor and complete the entire game. Whether you love or hate the mechanics of the game, one thing is for certain--The Binding of Isaac is the only game where you'll fight off a monster who fires urine projectiles with the help of your mom's pad in one game and fire bloody tears from your empty eye sockets to take down one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse in another run.

The Binding of Isaac won't blow anyone away with its presentation, but while the game's graphics tend to look like a title from several generations ago, they do exude a certain charm that will resonate with anyone who could appreciate the aesthetics of Super Meat Boy and similar downloadable titles. Despite a simple design, you'll regrettably find the game slowing down during hectic rooms of a dungeon even on the most powerful computers. The game does a great job of producing an eerie environment in which to play thanks to a powerfully emotional soundtrack created by Danny Baranowky to give The Binding of Isaac a real life in presentational value. It also doesn't hurt that there is so much content packed into the game, you'll have to play multiple times just to try out all of the game's characters, fight all of the bosses and even traverse every floor of the game's dungeon.

There's a lot to love about The Binding of Isaac, and if you don't find it too creepy to play through a game as a naked child shooting his own tears at zombies, fetuses and your own mother's hairy cankles, you're going to spend a lot of time enjoying all this game has to offer. Few games can offer the amount of replayability contained within The Binding of Isaac, and even fewer accomplish the goal with such a unique approach to the dungeon crawling genre. Every choice you make in The Binding of Isaac can have tremendous impacts both good and bad from choosing when to open a locked door or treasure chest with keys, choosing one spacebar item over another, making a deal with the devil to attain a great ability or even choosing which character to use at the game's main menu. The Binding of Isaac is one weird game, and it's one that every PC gamer should give a try.

The Binding of Isaac is now available for download exclusively for PC via Steam and can be purchased for $4.99. For more information on the game, check out the official The Binding of Isaac Wiki.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • Multiple Endings and Characters
  • Randomized Levels and Rougelike Elements
  • Downloadable Content
  • Achievement Support

  • Game Information:
    Available exclusively for PC
    Release Date: September 28, 2011

    Score: 9 out of 10
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