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Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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8.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 866 Ratings

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  • Summary: Isaac is a roguelike shooter based on the dungeon structure of Zelda (nes). At its core it controls like Smash TV / Robotron in a randomly generated semi RPG world filled with powerups items and special abilities.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Oct 16, 2011
    100
    The Binding Of Isaac is pitch-black and hard as hell.
  2. Oct 7, 2011
    90
    With Binding, McMillen and Himsl created the rules of the world and then set it in motion. Yet this game is nearly as much fun as Super Meat Boy, and more profound. It proves that there's more than one way to make a masterpiece.
  3. Mar 10, 2012
    90
    One may play for an hour or two, but they're constantly tempted to go back in and uncover the scads of remaining secrets. It's a style of game that really intrigues me, and one I want to see more of
  4. Oct 3, 2011
    85
    I'll put it simply: If you can roll with the macabre toilet humor and if religion jokes don't put you off, AND if you enjoy games with non-optional permadeath, randomized content, tons of secrets and considerable replay value… it's hard to go wrong with The Binding of Isaac. Especially at five dollars.
  5. Mar 19, 2012
    83
    The Binding of Isaac looks like an old school game like the original Zeldas, but with a dark scenario and dark humor. It has the typical difficulty of a McMillen game, which is not found anywhere else these days. This game will motivate you to try and try again in such a simple way – just brilliant. If you like the style and the old school gameplay of The Binding of Isaac, you'll have a lot of fun with it.
  6. Oct 7, 2011
    80
    Funny and miserable, disgusting and endearing, the end result is a game that's smart enough to have things both ways, offering an often brutal critique of certain religious sacraments, while wallowing comfortably inside the rituals of one of gaming's oldest genres.
  7. Oct 2, 2011
    70
    It's a good game, with a surprising amount of content for the price, but it will definitely turn away those who don't like even cartoon gore, and leave a slightly bitter taste in even the most hardened gamer's mouth... and mind.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 31 out of 247
  1. Aug 25, 2013
    10
    Amazing art, music, sound, humor, and gameplay. McMillen has shown me over and over again how great he is as a game designer and the amount of effort he puts into making his fans happy goes above and beyond anyone I have seen. Thank you for sapping so many hours of my life. Expand
  2. Feb 9, 2012
    10
    This game is amazing. Most of the people complaining probably just sucked at it. At first, I did too, but I was hooked. The story is much deeper than it seems (you need to think about it, especially the 11th ending) and the gameplay itself is wonderful. I do admit that it's frustrating when you find items you'd rather not put up with, but nothing feels better than showing up to the final boss room way overpowered and unlocking new items before starting again.

    I have 80 hours put in so far... and for $5 that's not a bad deal at all.
    Expand
  3. Sep 30, 2011
    10
    This game is awesome, awesome, and more awesome. Obviously the previous guy who rated this a 2 just doesn't "get" the appeal of this kind of game. It's based on an old model of PC gaming (called roguelike) where you die once and the game is over--completely. There are no saves, no continue spots--you're dead and you have to start all over. But that's exactly what makes this game so damn addictive! I have the Battlefield 3 beta on my computer and I've barely played it because The Binding of Isaac is sucking up all of my time. Because every playthrough is completely randomly generated and you'll never play the same levels twice, dying is not a big deal. Death feels the same way it feels in Super Meat Boy; you die, and die, and die again--but you get better each time, and it makes you want to start the game right back up again. Like SMB it's a throwback to a time long ago when you needed actual skill and quick reflexes to complete a game, and it's precisely that which makes it so appealing to me. Oh...that and the absolutely awesome and hilarious abilities and powerups, which I definitely wouldn't want to spoil here. The game is full of surprises and has a very dark tone about it, feeling like a mix between The Legend of Zelda and Splatterhouse. The fact that it's only 5 bucks doesn't hurt either, but it shouldn't give you any indication of the quality of the game. I've paid 50-60 bucks for games that weren't nearly as fun as this. Just buy it, play it, and enjoy some excellent old-meets-new gaming for less than the cost of a sandwich. Expand
  4. Apr 12, 2013
    9
    Personally, I am a huge fan of Edmund McMillen’s work. I’ve enjoyed all of the games I’ve played that he has produced/developed, but The Binding of Isaac is by far my favorite one. His interesting art style, paired with Danny Baranowsky’s amazing musical talent make this a this game a wonderful piece of art.

    The game starts up with a background story cutscene before the title screen, with the ability to skip past it. However, if you have not seen the cutscene, I highly advise that you do so. It gives a humorous take on the story of Abraham being ordered to kill his son Isaac in the bible. Isaac’s mother, a christian fundamentalist gets orders from God to purify her son and she does so by taking all of his belongings away to remove any chance of him sinning, but God is not pleased with that so she must kill him. However, Isaac escapes into a trap door in his bedroom that leads into the basement. This is where the game begins. The keys W,S,A and D are used to move the character and the arrow keys (or clicking the mouse) are used to shoot tears from your eyes at your enemies. You go around defeating these mutant creatures, like headless bodies that leap, floating heads that spit blood at you, maggots that charge at you, flies, spiders, and much more. The game is designed to get progressively harder as you get farther along, but this isn’t always the case. Occasionally you will run across a tough boss (such as Widow) on the first or second depth and you have a hard time winning (although this may be different for each player as the game is generally skill based). The enemies are mostly just annoying instead of difficult, and the bosses aren’t balanced very well. These aspects don’t detract from how addicting and fun this game is. It will piss you off from a cheap death, but you’ll just play again because it is just that good. When it comes to death, you will restart from the beginning no matter how far into the game you are which makes this game so difficult to beat, but that’s the point. You can die one thousand times and, unlike most games, you will have a different experience each time you play. The game is procedurally generated which means each level is generated at random every time. This gives the game its replayability. Every time you play, you get a different map layout and different items. Some times, you may get an item you’ve never seen, other times you’ll get one you’ve found plenty of times. With so many items in the game, you’ll play it with a different style each time. The way the items work is pretty cool too, the collectible items stack so you keep the abilities of the items you get until you die, then there are the activated items.You may only carry one activated item at a time, and after each use, you have to charge the item again by beating rooms. Then there are the pills and tarot cards which may only be used once after picked up. These items aren’t always helpful, and the pill effects change every time you play, so if you get a blue pill one time and it’s a health up, the next time you play, that blue pill might be something harmful like health down. There are also trinket items which work like the collectible items, but you may only have one at a time like the activated items. With all of the items, most of which give a cosmetic change to the character, by the end of the game you will have a up looking mutant baby, but you will be powerful. Even with your stats maxed out, though, the later levels are still very tough. After you beat Mom, you go into her womb and eventually fight her heart. Now that’s pretty up, but hey, it’s a game so who really cares? After beating Mom’s heart, you go to either the Sheol, or the Cathedral where you fight either Satan, or Isaac (respectively). That’s right, you can end up fighting yourself. The game is pretty up and weird, but that just makes it more interesting. Now personally, that’s about as far as I ever got, but I know there is still another level (the Chest). From what I read, the Chest is only accessible by taking the Polaroid trinket to the final boss room in the Cathedral and beating Issac. The Chest is filled with bosses and the final boss is and fights similar to Isaac.

    So all in all, the game is brutal, but very very fun, and very addicting. I recommend it to anyone who wants a good challenge that they can play over and over.
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  5. Nov 30, 2011
    8
    Horrifically morbid, depressing, sad, shocking, funny and hellishly enjoyable. This game is damn hard to get anywhere successfully showing it's rogue-like and Zelda elements. Incredibly budget, but it is a cheap indie game after all. Certainly worth picking up and giving ago, even if it is just to see how dark the game is. Expand
  6. Nov 9, 2011
    8
    The Binding of Isaac is a great game with a lot of replay value for its price.
    Before picking this up you need to know that it's a hard game
    with permanent death, which means if you die you die, no respawning. This is not a problem most of the time since the levels are randomly generated, however sometimes you feel like it's a bit too random and it can get frustrating if you only get weak items or can't reach items.

    This makes The Binding of Isaac a very unbalanced game, one playthrough you might have got all the powerful items and are plowing through the levels without taking any damage and the next time you'll barely hurt the bosses with your tears (projectiles).

    If you're brave enough to jump into a hard game with permanent death and can see beyond the balancing issues The Binding of Isaac is a great game, you won't find a game with more play value for the $/â
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  7. Aug 4, 2014
    0
    This game is so ridiculously difficult that it makes Dark Souls set on hard look like a kid's game. You can expect to live about 3 or 4 minutes on average. I don't know how people can think this is a good game when you can only play 3 minutes before dying. It is not even fair how poor the controls are. You have basically no chance to win. Look at the stats. On Steam, 37% of the players couldn't even get the EASIEST of the 84 achievements. How sad is that? Unless you are a masochist, please don't waste your money. Expand

See all 247 User Reviews