March 12th, 2012

Cheap as Hell Gaming AKA Awesome Games Under 10 Bucks: The Binding of Isaac


Ryan “Seacrest” Reid of PDXYar is back with another great article on gaming that is sure to leave you wondering why you’re playign whatever the hell it is you’re playing.

If you’re like me, many games now a days are barely worth the regular sixty dollar price tag. They aren’t long enough, don’t do enough different or are just generally blah. That’s why when there’s a game that is fun, challenging, innovative and cheap as hell I have to scream about it from my rooftop. My current obsession is The Binding of Isaac, available on steam right now for only $4.99, and that’s not even a sale price!

The Binding of Isaac can best be described as a dual joystick shooter mixed with a rogue playstyle that takes place in an old school Legend of Zelda dungeon crawl environment. Each level is made up of a random map, and each room on that map is also randomly set up and populated by different monsters. If you don’t get it yet, this game is different every time you play it. There are also over 100 different items that give you activated abilities, power ups and special powers. Anything from hitting stronger, moving faster, giving your shots different patterns or crazy out of this world crap like firing laser beams from your eyes and shitting bombs. There’s also collectible Tarot cards that give you one time use powers and pills from your mom’s medicine cabinet that have somehow fallen into the bowels of your house. They can up your stats, heal you, or send you on a bad trip.

The story follows the bible story of the Binding of Isaac, where Abraham was told by God to kill his son as a sacrifice and stopped at the last second. Now, I should warn you, this game has a heavy Heaven and Hell theme. It’s respectful, but strong. The story goes that young little Isaac gets locked in his room after his mom hears a voice in her head that she thinks is God. It tells her to kill her son. Instead Isaac escapes into their basement and journeys downwards. The basement is crawling with monsters that want nothing but Isaac dead.

There are six levels at first, then eight, then nine. Oh yeah that’s the best part about this thing. There are tons of things to unlock. New levels, new items, new bosses, even new characters that are personas for Isaac to take on, giving him different stats and starting items for his quest to hell. To truly unlock everything takes a minimum of 15 flythrough.

Now one thing to be worried about is that this game is ROUGH. It was created by Edmund McMillen, one half of Team Meat (the men behind Super Meat Boy) and Florian Himsl. This game is unforgiving. It can be maddening some times but, much like Super Meat Boy, that’s where the fun comes in. After conquering a particularly tricky room or level, or finishing a play through that seemed lost I would jump out of my chair and scream in joy. I had won and man was it fun. I’m still playing it nonstop after getting it three months ago during Steam’s winter sale and there’s still a ton of stuff to unlock.

The best part is that this game is not even done yet. There’s a massive DLC pack called “The Wrath of the Lamb” slated to come out this year, hopefully in spring or summer that’s adding all new enemies, boss alternative levels, new characters to play as and a ton of new items to really make the game of even crazier.

If you love shooters, dungeon crawls, a good challenge and a great deal, go pick up a game that will last you 100+ hours at the same price as about a gallon of gas.

Seacrest out

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