The Binding of Isaac Review




The Binding if Isaac, developed by Edmund MacMillen and Florian Himsl is a slightly demented indie game about a boy named Isaac who stays in his room, drawing and playing video games while his mother watches Christian Television broadcasts. She then receives three messages from God: Remove all evil from your son’s life, and hence she removes his drawings and his clothes; to cut off your son from all evil, and so she locks him in his room; and to kill Isaac, and so when she walks toward his room with a kitchen knife, he sees her through a crack in his door on her way to kill him, and so he escapes through a trapdoor into his basement.

The gameplay actually starts once he enters his basement, with a randomly generated series of rooms, in a side-scroller but not platformer style of gameplay. You shoot tears at various monsters, such as flies, crying babies, and other child-like mutations. You can also pick up various items along the way, which give you certain adding attributes. There are also coins you can find, which you can use to buy items, of which there are 132 in total, or operate slot machines. These item shops and slot machines are found in the shop room that is generated once each level and sometimes requires a key to open. To advance to the next stage of randomly generated rooms one must fight bosses, such as Larry Jr., a twin pair of large worms, or Fistula, a sown-together ball of… Who knows what?

Now, the game has only a few stages and is rather short in its entirety. This, along with the randomly-generated nature of the game, gives no reason for there to be save feature, so there isn’t. Every time you die, you must start again, and so it is every time you quit too. This seems a bit of a nuisance when you load up the game for the first few times, however, you soon grow accustomed to it, and see that it really doesn’t matter, as it’s still fun to replay all the levels, and they rarely get repetitive.

The art of the game, however, was my biggest interest. I always have high hopes of indie games, looking for aspects which seek to make it original and stand out. The art, of course, is a big factor from a game made by the founder of Team Meat and, to say the least, I was not disappointed. The art has a twisted sort of sadistic sense to it, and is inspiring in many ways. It combines a cute, animated sort of art style with twisted settings, lots of blood and some dead people walking around, while not making it too alien, and helping it become relatable. The art was just amazing, and I take my hat off to Edmund MacMillen and Florian Himsl for doing such an amazing job, and really upholding the name of Indie games around the world.