The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth review
What is it?
A twin-stick shooter with randomly generated levels and modelled on the dungeons from traditional top-down Zelda games. Unlike Nintendo’s flagship series, it deals with themes of child abuse, death and sickness. Not one for the kids. Not one for Link either.
On the surface, Binding of Isaac is a straightforward twin-stick shooter, but after a few playthroughs it soon becomes clear that this is a game that will require many hours to fully get to grips with. From the bizarre enemies, to the hundreds of upgrades (and downgrades), secret exits and unlockable characters, this is a highly polished game that welcomes you in and quickly encompasses you in its rich lore. Beat the ‘end’ boss, and suddenly the game opens up further, letting the player know that they’ve only just begun.
The four-way shooting mechanic is simplistic, but the fun really starts when you begin exploring the numerous power ups, and developing the best strategies to descend the dungeons and kill your own mother (no, really). Along the way you’ll be accompanied by various accomplices, including spiders, aborted fetuses, and cancerous tumours. And these are just guys on your side. You’ll take on the four horsemen, the seven sins, and even homicidal raging turds. The huge volume of content had me pressing continue long after my inevitable thousandth death.
At its core, Isaac is a game that has clearly had much love poured into it by its creators, and shows a degree of polish that most triple-A titles could only dream of achieving.
Some may be unable to look past the unrelenting darkness of it all, despite the undoubtedly solid gameplay underneath. The sheer wealth of pick-ups can also prove confusing, with the effects of some down to trial and error. This can prove frustrating if you’re not prepared to dig deep into the game and understand all of its nuances.
Quit or Continue?
Continue! It’s not one to play with the Missus but offers more variety than the majority full price games AND it’s free on PSN right now. Go on, treat yourself.