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Indie Corner: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

It took years for ‘The Binding of Isaac’ to finally release on European Nintendo systems. We tried out the game on our New Nintendo 3DS and finally understood the hype the game was getting from the start. The Binding of Isaac homages the dungeons of Zelda on hardcore settings. It’s a hard and frustrating game but it’s a game you’ll never forget, the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is by far the most original game we’ve played this year!

A cruel story

One of the reasons why it took so long for the game to finally release in Europe is the dark story. The story is about Isaac, a little child that’s being chased by his mother. This mother follows the voice of her God and tries to kill her son with a bloody knife. Isaac escaped to the basement just in time but this basement isn’t as safe as you might think. The basement is divided into several levels, all filled with hideous monsters made from human feces. It’s a disgusting game when it comes to design but it’s nothing you haven’t seen on a South Park episode for sure. If the story or design might offend you, you’d better stay away from the game. If you’re not offended that fast, get ready for a very unique experience!

The basement

As said before, the basement is divided in several levels. The goal of the game is to reach and defeat the final boss of the game, which of course are your own mother and her heart. Reaching her isn’t easy since each level is filled with enemies and ends in a boss battle. The difficulty in it all is that once you die, you need to restart from the very beginning of the game. The Binding of Isaac is a rogue like experience where dying is a huge part of the game. Finally reaching the higher levels is very satisfying and it’s that feeling that keeps you motivated to play this brutal game.

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Of course, you’ll need some weapons to ‘shoot’ your way through the basement. These weapons are the tears of Isaac. You control Isaac with the circle pad and shoot tears using the action buttons or C-stick on the New Nintendo 3DS. This means that the game plays like a twin-stick shooter with top-down view. A twin-stick shooter without weapon upgrades won’t work so the Binding is packed with unique upgrades.

A lot to upgrade

Your tears are your main weapon in the game but you’ll find plenty of upgrades in locked chests or hidden rooms. These upgrades can improve your weapon but can also decrease your powers; you’ll always want to know what you’re picking up! Stay away from the dead cat, that won’t help you! The upgrades are as weird as the entire design of the game so they all felt natural in some kind of way. Without the right upgrade, you won’t make it that far into the basement. The trick is to find the upgrade you need most to defeat the bosses.

Sounds easy right? If you play the game several times you’ll automatically know where to find the better upgrades? It doesn’t work like that. The Binding of Isaac always creates new maps for every new start in the dungeon. Not one run will be the same as one you did before. All items, rooms, enemies and location of bosses change if you die and need to restart. The Binding of Isaac is a very unpredictable game since it randomizes its dungeons constantly. This is without a doubt the best part of the game to be honest. Since you’ll die a lot, it’s good to know that you’ll find new things every time you restart. The further you go, the better the upgrades will be when you’re forced to restart. Using those upgrades, your goal is to travel past the point you died last time.

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There’s no shame in restarting bad runs when you picked up the wrong item. The game forces you to try out every upgrade there is but some of those aren’t for the greater good. By picking them up one time, you’ll know which ones you’ll need to avoid in your next run.

Incredible bosses

The last thing we would like to point out, are the great boss battles. The game has several bosses to defeat and not one is boring to fight. Each boss has its own design and strategy to take down. It’s very interesting to see how creative the developers were when they created the bosses. These fights are extremely hard but very satisfying when you succeed. Fighting the bosses is without a doubt the most frustrating and at the same time most fun thing about the game. Don’t be offended by their gross designs but just enjoy the brilliance in strategies; you won’t find bosses like this in any other game!

IsaacVerdict
The good: The bad:
+ Unique design and story – Too hard for some
+ Random dungeons
+ Bosses

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was definitely worth waiting for. Sure, it’s a very gory and hardcore game but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. The game is without a doubt one of the best games we’ve played on our New Nintendo 3DS so we’re really glad the game finally released in Europe as well! If you like the Zelda dungeons and seek some challenge, this is a no-brainer.

4 out of 5:

4sterren

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.