First Impressions: The Binding of Isaac Rebirth

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is the reincarnation of classic indie game The Binding of Isaac. Fans of the original might consider it a surprisingly fast reboot, as of today is only just over three years old. As a big fan of the original, I was curious to see what changes have been made to justify buying it again.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth title screen

If you haven't played the original, The Binding of Isaac is a game about trying to escape from your crazy mother via the inexplicable labyrinthian dungeons under your house. These dungeons contain a vast array of creatures, almost all of which want to kill you. You're only defence against them, the ability to shoot tears out of your eyes so hard they inflict damage.

Crazy mother

Rebirth's gameplay is very similar to the original. Each level of the dungeon has a randomly generated map consisting of different rooms. Each room varies in layout, enemies, items and unlike the original, size. The deeper into the dungeon you are, the harder the enemies get. In order to help you progress, there are a plethora of weird and wonderful items that change or improve Isaacs abilities. No journey to the depths is complete without the severed head of your pet cat Guppy.

Just checkin' out my maps

Veterans of the original will be glad to see that there has been a huge increase in the variety of items and enemies. In terms of items, there are some interesting new additions such as the petrified poop or money = power. The enemy selection introduces multiple new enemies, often interesting variations of existing ones. For instance, there's a lot more spider based enemies including ones that crawl around the walls. The promotional material for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth makes many references to the quantity of poop in the game, and they aren't kidding. Of particular note, there are now poop based enemies.

Poop based enemies

The keyboard control scheme hasn't changed at all from its predecessor, wasd for movement and arrow keys to shoot tears (with the direction indicating the direction of the shot). They've also added full controller support, which has the option for using the right analogue stick to direct shots. While its still limited to four directions, this controls very smoothly and is very easy to learn. Isaac also has access to 3 kinds of usable items, bombs, activated and single use. Good use of these items can save you in a sticky situation, turn the tide of battle, or help you prepare for the difficult opposition ahead. Not all items are beneficial however, so be careful about guzzling every pill you pick up off the floor.

Classic Boss

Art has been completely renovated, everything has been redrawn in pixel art. In the process, everything has also gained a lot more detail. They've also added a lot of small details that improve the experience. For instance, trickling water coming out of the walls or the innards of your dead enemies littering the floor. Whether or not you prefer the new art over the original is however a matter of taste, I'm personally still undecided on whether it's an improvement. The music has also been redone, and while I liked the original I do think it's an improvement. Again, however, this will come down to personal taste.

New bosses

So, Edmund McMillen and Nicalis have definitely added a lot to this suprisingly soon reboot. Not all of the changes will suit everyone, but the large increase in content is very welcome. While the game is very good, I'm still undecided as to whether it was worth the asking price. If you're still undecided though, it is the only game you can fight giant poop by shooting tears.

EDIT: So apparently, money = power isn't new and I'd somehow just never got it before. There is still a ton of new stuff though, just that particular thing wasn't.


Jordan Milton

When I'm not playing games, I'm either playing other games or attempting to make my own. If you're interested in what I'm making, looky here:

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