Fiona’s Halloween Recommendation: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

I will hold up my hands right now and admit, I can’t do horror. No Amnesia, or Outlast or Evil within for me. Therefore, I am not able to give you a truly scary recommendation for Halloween this year (or any year). Instead my recommendation will suit those of you with a weaker constitution, but won’t have you feeling left out of the spooky celebration.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. is one of my all time favourite games for any time of year. The game is a 2D, dungeon crawler roguelike and was developed by Nicalis and designed by Edmund McMillen who also gave us Super Meat Boy. It started off as a flash game, but was relaunched with glorious pixely goodness and included the DLC the Wrath of the Lamb, with more levels and items than you can shake a crosier at. If you’re in doubt as to why this deserves a place in Halloween recommedations, just take a look at the trailer below.

Inspired by the biblical story of the same name we see poor Isaac and his mother living alone in a small house. They lived quite happily together with Isaac drawing while his mother watched Christian broadcasts on television. Isaac’s mother begins to hear a “voice from above” telling her to save her son from the corruption of sin by taking away his drawings, toys and even clothes to remove all that was evil from his life.  It doesn’t stop there however, and Isaac gets locked in his room. Then the voice tells Isaac’s mother to sacrifice her son and she agrees to do so. Isaac sees what’s happening and tried to hide. He then finds a trap door and escapes and puts the paper he was drawing onto his wall, which becomes the title screen.

The place Isaac has escaped to is, at first the basement. Full of blood, weird looking monsters and poo. You usually isaacstart of with no items and need to fight these monsters using only your tears. As you go on you can upgrade with items that you acquire from stores or special rooms. Between levels Isaac is shown curled up in a ball, crying, seemingly dreaming about the hurts in his life such as rejection from his mother and being bullied by other children. There are also unlockable endings that I won’t get in to as there’s a lot of speculation as to what the whole story means from viewing these.

Aside from Isaac you can play as a range of other biblical characters, including Eve, Samson, Azaezel, Lazarus and Judas. These each play a little differently or add more of a challenge to the game. There are also challenge levels that have a strange combination of items that make things even more difficult. All give great replay value to the game. As you progress you will pick up different items and they change the look of your character as well as giving you some kind of buff or ability. You will meet bosses along the way, such as Monstro, the four horsemen of the apocalypse and even Mom herself.

There is also more DLC available today called Afterbirth (gross), for you to tear you hair out over. It’s a challenging, yet rewarding game with hundreds of hours gameplay and this DLC adds even more hours of crying your way through dungeons.

The game is available on Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita, with the Xbox One, New Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U versions released on July 23, 2015 in North America. Released for New Nintendo 3DS in Japan on October 28, 2015. It will be released for Wii U and New Nintendo 3DS in Europe on October 29, 2015.

Happy Halloween!


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