Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: The Binding of Isaac

[caption id="attachment_1355" align="aligncenter" width="300"]the_binding_of_isaac_by_pixel_league-d54e2gp By Pixel-League on dA[/caption]

Isaac and his mother were happy until the day that Isaac's mother started hearing the voice of God. God told Isaac's mother he was corrupted, so she took away everything from him including his clothing. God told her that wasn't enough to save his soul, so she locked Isaac away in his room. Finally, God called on her to sacrifice Isaac, to show that she loved Him above all else. His mother's reply? "Yes, Lord."

The Binding of Isaac is based on the eponymous biblical story  of Abraham and his son Isaac where God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, but spared Isaac in the end because Abraham had been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Him. Unlike biblical Isaac, the Isaac in this game isn't about to stand for that. He escapes to the basement where he fights his way through various level of horrors. The player takes control of a naked, crying Isaac as he fights through the basement using his tears. Along the way, the player picks up various objects that usually help, though some hinder, Isaac's quest.


The 2D game begins with 3 chapters divided into 2 parts such as The Basement I and The Basement II. After you battle through those 3 chapters, you face Mom for the first time. Upon beating Mom, a new chapter opens up. However, you don't get to just start from there. No, you have to play through the beginning chapters again before being able to play the new one, and this game isn't exactly easy. This game has the look of a casual game, but this is not a casual game.

Anytime you die in this game, you start over from the beginning. There are no save points. I didn't realize this as I happily careened along dying at every moment possible while thinking that I was making actual progress. Then, I finally made it past the basement and into the cellar where I died, of course, and then, a revelation happened as I found myself fighting from the basement after dying. My progress was not being saved.

The typical WSAD format was used for moving, but attacking was controlled using the arrow keys. You have to use the arrow key that corresponds with the direction you want to shoot. In other words, up shoots up and so forth. It sounds simple, but for some reason, my fingers didn't want to comply. I'm sure with some practice I would've gotten better with the controls.


However, in the options menu, the game mentions that you can use Joytokey to hook up a gamepad. A quick internet search produced a download for the program and many people had already posted configuration options for using an Xbox controller. This made controlling Isaac much easier, but the game is still tricky.

The levels randomly generated dungeons that change each time you die and restart. You're not given a chance to memorize the layout and plan your attack because everything will completely change when you restart. Advancing seems to be based on 50% skill, 30% luck, and 20% tears and/or cursing. I finally managed to beat an initial run of the game and second run, but trust me when I say there was much angst and tears and rage and tears and self-loathing and tears. Did I mention tears? Seriously, though, I actually enjoyed how challenged it kept me.

Note: I'm working on getting more of the achievements and in-game collectibles. I know there is an additional level once I beat this ten times, which means I have eight more runs to go. Also, I don't have the Wrath of the Lamb DLC, but I do plan to get it soon.


Isaac may be a little too crude and possibly offensive for some. There's a lot of potty humor in it, and some of the monsters are ghastly distortions of children and fetuses with names like Larry Jr.  Also, some may take offense to how religion is used in this game. Most of it made me chuckle and roll my eyes at the same time, but I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. Overall, I thought this was a fun 2D shooter masquerading as a less challenging game.


This blog is a mishmash of thoughts, pictures, and rantings among other things about games I've played, games I will play, and games I am currently playing. From time to time, I may post book reviews that I've written that are about different games and/or game worlds. Feel free to recommend games or add me on the platforms I've listed. I don't do competitive multiplayer much anymore, but I'm always down for some co-op these days. I'm usually DigitalTempest everywhere unless otherwise specified.



PSN: DigitalTempest | XBL: DigitalTempest | Steam: DigitalTempest | Raptr: DigitalTempest

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.

Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
tagged: upcoming-reads, currently-reading, 2016-audiobook-challenge, classi...
Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

Tiara's bookshelf: read

really liked it
Review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge and 2016-audiobook-challenge
The Girl from the Well
liked it
More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum TL;DR Review 2.5 to 3 stars. Not badly written… I’m just disappointed by the squandered potential. I’m going to reread Anna Dressed in Blood to make myself feel better about this Longer Review: T...
tagged: 2016-women-of-genre-fiction-reading, horror, and young-adult
Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't think this quite captures the complexity of bullying and suicide, and some of the issues that Hannah started facing toward the end of the novel really seemed to detract even more from the feelings she was going through by having ...
tagged: young-adult, popsugar-2016-reading-challenge, 2016-audiobook-challe...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
liked it
Spoiler free review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge
The Phantom of the Opera
really liked it
tagged: classic-horror, classics, audiobook, 2016-audiobook-challenge, horr...

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