Roguelikes are an up-and-coming genre featuring randomized level design, permadeath (no continues), and a high degree of challenge. The Xbox One has a fine Roguelike to its name: the magic-themed first-person shooter Ziggurat. On the 2D front, the popular action-platformer Rogue Legacy is due out sometime in the future as well. Binding of Isaac is another extremely popular console Roguelike that has been MIA on Xbox... Until now!
After months of rumors, Binding of Isaac Rebirth from indie publisher Nicalis (makers of Castle in the Darkness and 1001 Spikes) has been officially announced for Xbox One! Mix The Legend of Zelda, a twin-stick shooter, and some gruesome imagery and humor into one awesome game and you have The Binding of Isaac. In addition to Xbox One, Binding of Isaac will also be coming to Nintendo Wii U, and New 3DS as well (it's already available on Windows PC and PlayStation consoles).
Don't know your Binding of Isaac from your Tie that Binds? Read on for a quick preview!
Descent into tragedy
Binding of Isaac starts out innocently enough, but it gets dark very quickly. The game opens with a stick figure animation sequence depicting Isaac's childhood. He lives happily with his mother, who is very religious. One day she starts hearing voices, and they tell her to kill Isaac. Frantically, he searches for an escape and finds a trapdoor to a dungeon in his room. Thus, Isaac's mission is to survive the dungeon and escape from his crazy mother!
On the surface, Binding of Isaac looks like a dark version of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Isaac must navigate a series of rooms, searching for keys to unlock doors and using bombs to blow up cracked walls and rocks. His life meter is even represented by hearts.
Isaac fights a bit differently than Link, however. Instead of a sword, he fires his tears in any direction. Players can use the right stick for firing at 360 degrees or the face buttons (X, Y, A, B) to shoot at right angles. It's a good thing Isaac can keep his distance because the monsters he faces move very quickly and pack a mean punch.
Besides the shooting aspect, Binding of Isaac simply has a dark and unusual personality. Everything is very morbid, with monsters that look hideous and infected and yet cute at the same time. Kill them, and they explode into blood and guts, but not in as disturbing a manner as Hotline Miami. And for some reason, the monsters Isaac faces like to poop. You don't see many games mix the macabre with wackiness like this.
A Roguelike of a darker color
Part of the fun of Roguelikes is that the levels are randomly generated, and that applies to Binding of Isaac as well. Isaac essentially moves from room to room in large Zelda-style dungeons, fights gigantic bosses, and then moves on to the next floor of the dungeon. He'll have several floors to clear (and not a lot of life with which to do it) if he ever hopes to escape.
Not only are the layouts and items you find different every time you play, but Binding of Isaac offers a ton of creative challenge modes that mix up the gameplay. Some make the game harder, some make it funnier, and they all keep the experience fresher than the poop Isaac might have to dodge. You'll unlock more challenges as you go on, so the game just gets bigger and bigger as you play.
Binding of Isaac Rebirth has been announced for release this year on Xbox One, Wii U, and New 3DS. We expect more news or a release date to emerge next month. If you can't wait, grab the Steam or PlayStation versions.
Nintendo gamers might want to read this joke blog post about the censorship that Nintendo mandated for the Wii U and New 3DS versions of the game. That parts a joke, but it still makes ya glad to be an Xbox One owner!
- The Binding of Isaac Rebirth – Windows, Mac, and Linux – $14.99 – Steam Link
We originally wondered whether this announcement might be a cruel April Fool's joke. The developer has confirmed on Twitter that it's no joke. Binding of Isaac is definitely coming to Xbox One, Wii U, and New 3DS!