Game Spotlight – The Binding of Isaac

Since I really got into gaming around the back end of 2012, I had no idea what to play, honestly. Then I was bought a Humble Indie Bundle by a friend, and in it was The Binding of Isaac.

Now, for context, I was just about to make the decision to quit university (and then I did) and everything just went to pot. So I needed something to break away for a while, just so I could find inner peace.

Like with most indie games, the graphics aren’t what makes the gameplay. I quickly learned that when I started playing this game, about a boy whose Christian mother hears a voice from ‘God’ telling her to kill her son, just like in the Biblical story with the same name.

The Binding of Isaac is a roguelike, meaning that every game is procedurely generated, meaning you will never have the same playthrough twice. As you progress through the story, you obtain more unlockables, and progress further into the game.

From what I heard, the main reason why the game ended up with the Wrath of the Lamb DLC was because Edmund’s wife Danielle finished the original and wanted more content.

Later, the game was able to be re-purposed and a new ‘Eternal’ mode was added later.

The amazing soundtrack was created by Danny Baranowsky.

For me, this game helped me find something to do while I was struggling. It’s nowhere near as bad as it could have been, or would be, but it was the worst I’d felt so far in my life. I was so elated when I completed the game 100% (before Eternal mode)!

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

This brings me onto its remake, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. This was released back in 2014, and featured a change in graphics, as well as a new engine. Now that the game was being produced by Nicalis, it was more refined than the previous version.

Rebirth adds local co-op play (where one player plays as a familiar), new floors, new bosses, new characters and different challenges and transformations.

The theme of Rebirth is pretty much the same, except it adds a lot of items, two DLCs (Afterbirth and Afterbirth +), soon adding a third in Repentance. Updates (called Booster Packs) were also released to give certain items from the Steam Workshop a chance to shine.

This also amazing soundtrack was created by Ridiculon. However, people had been split on whether Baranowsky’s soundtrack was better than Ridiculon’s, and vice versa. My opinion: Baranowsky’s soundtrack is better for the original game, while Ridiculon’s is better for Rebirth. I say that because I feel that both games are styled differently, so the soundtracks reflect that.

Since 2014, the game has seen a massive shift in growth that has been amazing to play with. I was so happy with the original game, and Rebirth became even better than the original. While I haven’t played it as much as I used to, I still come back to it and enjoy it for the stint that I do play it for.

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