Sunday, October 23, 2011

pretending to be a game bloger

It's been a while but today I have some things to talk about. A little indie game I've come to like called the Binding of Isaac.

Do you really want me to die?
Bad MSPaint fanart aside it's a game made by some of the people involved in super meat boy. What this can tell you it carries some pedigree for difficulty and odd humor. For one it's a very gross game by a lot of peoples standards. but we'll get into that in a second first an over view.

You play as Isaac, a little boy who's trapped under his house escaping his mother who hears voices from god telling him to kill her son. For those who don't care about the fluff it's a Zelda like game with a a smashing of roguelike qualities. Controls are simple and I'm told it's reminiscent of smash tv or from my understanding berserk. You move around with one set of controls in carnal direction sand fire independently with other set. You have your main weapon which starts out as tears and upgrades to other things. Your secondary item is something you can pick up through the dungeon and has differnt effects, when used it has to "recharge" which is done by clearing rooms. After that you have bombs and "pick up" items. Pick up items are tarot cards which have unique effects you can learn via name and pills which are unknown at the start but you can find out what they do through experimentation. One last thing I haven't gotten yet is unlockable characters, which as far as I know are just stat and sprite changes for Isaac. You get them through doing some requirements in the game such as getting X amount of hearts or pennies.

So that over with onto why this is roguelike. First all maps are randomly generated. You can't just run through rooms though, you enter a room and you fight to the death with the monsters inside. The pills are the equivalent of other games scrolls, they are random at teh start but you learn what they do through the game through experimentation. Beyond that is one of the neat features in the games, the "items". Items you pick up in a few ways, by defeating a boss,by finding an item room, or sometimes through luck a drop off a special enemy. Items come in two flavors passive upgrades and secondary items which you can only have one of. The passive upgrades modify the look of Isaac while giving bonuses. For instance if you find the mushroom Isaac gets bigger as well as gains more speed and damage. Find the pentagram Isaac gets horns and does more damage, find that with growth hormones and Isaac gets a bit bigger and a lot uglier with even more damage. It gets some very strange combinations. Some are not just statistical, the "bloody Maggie" (I believe name may be wrong) is an option that follows you around while attacking at the same time you do with all your modifiers. No item is preset in this game so the combinations you get may make the game easier, harder, or just plain against your playstyle as you go.

With these items you kill demons, and this is where the game gets a bit gross. The fact that you attack with tears is one thing. Enemies (and maybe even Isaac later items willing) attack with crap, pee, blood, and other such things. You find breakable piles of crap littering the game that may drop items such as keys, bombs, or money. While somewhat Juvenal it gives the game a bit of a weird quirk and that is almost biblical if you read some of the obscure references about demons which fits into the games ideas. Beyond standard enemies you have upgraded palette swaps which drop some items, special enemies, mini boss versions of boss enemies, and of course bosses. All of them are once again randomly generated at the start of the game from a list of them. You won't be fighting Gemmini every time on the first boss room nor will you be fighting loki on the 6th. This adds a lot to replability as sometimes you don't have optimum gear for the boss you're fighting. Though I do believe you can beat the game with tears only if you're insane.

Though while I like this game I have some complaints about it. It took a twist on the zelda idea of attackign in cardinal direction and added movement physics to it. You move up and shoot right, your shot hooks up. So to shoot straight you have to be standing still, moving towards or away from your target. There are a lot of room layouts that do not like you doing anything but shooting staight. On top of that I feel the hit box for Isaacs projectiles are a bit off. I've seen the tears clip through targets on some sides but not other, this gets more confusing when you get things such as "laser tears" which go in a line eminating form a differnt spot on Isaac. Not sure if this is feature or bug but I find it very annoying to not know exactly how my shot is going to leave my charcter and how it's going to hit the target. Overal for 5 bucks it's a fun game. I've dropped a good 5 to 8 hours into it over the past few weeks in half hour binges but still haven't beaten the first time thought. Which brings me to my last thign to say about it.

This is a "roguelike" with multiple endings. The first time through gives you a default ending and after that there is I believe 3 more. This is amusing to me as I've never quite seen this done. I know through some friend beating it once that the floors of the dungeon are increased on more throughways so it may have something to deal with that. Either way I look forward to figuring out how to get them all.

With that I point you up to my bad MSPaint drawings caption. It's the question that the game asks you every time you want to quit. Twisted little feature don't you think?


  1. Sounds pretty good. Any game where the main weapon is tears sounds like a fun game. Also nice to see you back.

  2. Its a very fun game. I'm so awful at it. Dawn of War did similar with a quit message. Something about being a coward.

  3. I've heard of it, but doubt I'd play.

  4. @Daily Car Reviews
    It defiantly is very weird.

  5. I really want to play this, but I'm so busy >_<