‘The Binding of Issac: Rebirth’ gains steam

As the Steam platform continues to grow and gain momentum with bigger blockbuster titles and popular hits, it’s nice to know that Valve still has a sweet spot for the little guys. From the developer Nicalis and the creative mind behind “Super Meat Boy” and “Team Meat,” Edmund McMillen comes the second coming of “The Binding of Isaac,” known in this incarnation as “The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.”

Rebirth is a well-crafted, and extremely fun indie game that defies the conventions of the dungeon-crawling genre. “Rebirth” may be similar to its cousin, “The Binding of Isaac,” but the two games as a whole still remain a testament to the biblical story of old, as Isaac is almost killed by Abraham as told by God to prove his devotion to the Christian faith.

In “The Binding of Isaac” however, the story is told in a slightly different manner. Isaac’s mother is told by God to end her son’s life; however, before doing so, Isaac discovers a trap door in his room leading to the basement of their home. Preferring to take the risk, Isaac falls in and discovers a series of floors inhabited by horrifying monsters. The goal of “The Binding of Isaac” is to continue to delve deeper and deeper into your basement, and see what secrets you may find.

Just like the original  “Binding of Isaac,” “Rebirth” is a dungeon crawler to its core, citing influence from the original “Legend of Zelda” level design, McMillen created a top-down visual display, with randomly generated dungeons to spice things up with each subsequent play through. “Rebirth” is different from its predecessor in art style, with McMillen preferring a retro 16-bit style as opposed to the original, as the pixilated visuals of “Rebirth” are closer to his vision of how the first “Binding of Isaac” should have looked. This atmosphere also shows in the soundtrack, featuring both new songs, and remixes of old ones, courtesy of Matthias Bossi and Jon Evans.

Getting into gameplay now; in “The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth,” the dungeons you explore contain a plethora of enemies, secret rooms and hundreds of items that affect gameplay dramatically. As you traverse the dungeons, aside from fighting monsters, you also collect money to buy items or keys from shopkeepers or unlock secret doors with potential risk and reward. When all is said and done, you fight a boss at the very end of the level. Upon winning, you are given a reward as you continue into the lower floors. As you continue to delve deeper into your basement, you’ll begin to face more and more disturbing enemies and collect more items to beef up your arsenal of kick-ass weaponry. Depending on the items you receive, Isaac’s stats and appearance also change. From something very crude as a bra or a pair of underwear, to religiocentric items such as the Book of Revelation or a rosary. One may receive a lot of stuff on a playthrough, and the best part? It’s all randomized. With over 300 drastically different items to assist you on your dungeon-crawling adventures, you’ll never feel bored with “Rebirth.” Every time you play the game, you’re guaranteed a new experience, and it’s very appreciated.

An absolute must-buy for Steam users and PC-gamers alike, “The Binding of Issac: Rebirth” is now available for purchase on the Steam platform for $15.

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