The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac is my easy pick for best indie game of the year, and it’s been included in the Humble Voxatron pack.

What kind of game is it, you ask? It’s a rogue-like shooter where you descend down a basement of randomly generated rooms and items.

The plot is very dark and hilarious - Isaac’s mom is basically the worst person ever, and she starts hearing voices that tell her to kill her son Isaac as a sacrifice, so he escapes in to the basement.

The art is very grim, but again in a humorous way - it’s done by the same guys who made Super Meat Boy, so take that and ramp it up to M for Mature.

I finally killed Mom for the first time yesterday, after having previously choked on the fight (there wasn’t even any red pixels left in her health bar when I died, and I forgot to use my spacebar item). Anyone else playing?

I got it back at release 'cause I loved the idea of a roguelike from the Super Meat Boy team (or half, anyway). I haven’t really been feeling much love for it though. It isn’t all that interesting. I don’t like the aesthetic and the terrible Flash engine (or whatever) just handles so poorly it annoys me. Super Meat Boy was a tight 60 fps game. Isaac is a floaty 30-fps game.

I’m enjoying it a lot more now that I can run t with a controller.

Still haven’t even got to mom yet.

Anyone still playing?

I’ve killed Mom’s Heart 4 times so far (basically within the span of 2 days). I did it twice with Brimstone - it basically gives you an over-powered laser and it’s the best item in the game. You have to get it from a deal with the devil.

Haven’t gone to Sheol yet (you get the choice of going to Sheol if there’s a devil room after you kill Mom’s heart, but you can’t open the chest to end the game). Once when there was a room I had Brimstone, and there’s a bug right now where Satan is immune to brimstone. The other time my setup just wasn’t good enough to survive down there.

Bump, more people should play this, it is awesome. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a game that’s trying to be ‘art’–namely, that it’s still a game.

Yeah, it’s a fun little game. I got into it after watching my favorite online video game show (Video Games Awesome) preview it. I personally am not good enough to warrant buying the game, but it’s still fun. It’s the first time a game with such a dark premise didn’t creep me out. And I love the FPS-like control system.

I love this game. Up to my fifth kill of Mom’s Heart. I got sold on it by Northernlion’s Let’s Play, but had to wait for a new system before I could play it.

Next year, we may see another DLC for the game. For pay this time, but doubling the length of an already cheap and replayable game is well worth it.

I find myself using tammy’s head alot since it refills after each room and can really help clear out the monsters in each room. Works best with max range and the ever annoying my reflection, since it’ll change direction two to three times before finally dying. What strategies do you prefer/find yourself commonly using?

How hard is it? I almost got it, but I’m too frustrated with hard shooters/action games. Does it have convenient save spots?

No saves, although a run is normally between 30 minutes to an hour. The difficulty depends on the upgrades you get and find, since the maps and items are randomized. Expect to die a lot, so it probably falls under frustrated shooters. Try the demo to get a better idea if it’s for for you or not.

Best item in the game? Maybe, maybe by itself, but even ignoring bugs some items have the most ridiculous synergy. For instance, just today as Maggie I got:

A Pony (passive flight effect, spacebar charge attack – it has an invincibility bug too if you’re into that sort of thing)

Fetus in a Jar (turns your normal attack into free bombs)
Mr Mega (makes bombs, including those by Fetus in a Jar, bigger and stronger)
Bobby-bomb (makes bombs homing)
Ouija board (makes shots phase through objects like rocks, works with Fetus in a Jar bombs).

I massacred everything. By that I mean I think I beat Loki in about 3 hits. Minibosses only took two. I think Mom’s heart may have taken 6 or 7, but it was over in 20 seconds.

If you have Wrath of the Lamb, you may also get a combo like Book of Revelations + Habit + 9 volt. 9 volt shortens the book’s charge to 2 rooms, the Habit restores one room’s worth of charge whenever you get hit, and the Book of Revelations gives one soul heart (and makes Horseman encounters more likely). This makes you more invincible to attacks that do a half-heart of damage, and effectively halves damage done by one-heart damage attacks.

If you want to talk bugs, Guppy is probably one of the best in the game. It lowers your health to one heart, but gives you 9 lives. If you bomb yourself in a boss room after you beat a boss and kill yourself, it will let you fight the boss again and get another item, over and over until you only have one life left. This is even more potent with the D6 because you can reroll the boss items if you get something stupid.

Though you can get some funny synergies with Brimstone, I’ve seen people over at another forum post a picture of Brimstone combined with some mushroom effects and other things that made the laser take up half the screen, that was pretty impressive. Even so, Technology (NOT Technology 2) is probably better than Brimstone if you get the Ouija Board, because there’s no charge (without the Ouija board it lacks the ability to phase through obstacles, but still pierces enemies).

The Lucky Foot (Cain’s Starting item) can be a gamebreaker too, though less reliably of one. For one, it makes all bad pills into good ones (meaning Range Down-> Range Up). Your chance at winning the shell game in the Arcade also goes from 1/3->2/3. If you start an arcade round with Cain and about 20-25 coins, it’s not uncommon for you to end the round with a blood bag from the blood donation machine, 30+bombs and keys, Skathole (the poop on head item that charms flies), and a Dollar from the slot machine (as well as miscellaneous pills and other goodies). If you have Cain, always gamble it’s his true strength.

I think Xaiter’s ongoing Let’s Play at Something Awful is good. Even better is his livestream, Honk! I’m a Cat. For instance, witness extreme D6, Habit, and Guppy abuse and activating Cat Mode with Judas. It’s become something of a joke that the game was made for Xaiter, he has the most incredible luck with the drops in this game. He dies occasionally, but overall his luck is really hilariously good.

Yes, I know this thread is about 6 months old, but most of these people are still around so meh.

Yeah I made that post a very long time ago - pre expansion, and my opinions on some items have changed.

The D20 is the best item in the game. It’s ridiculous. Especially with an Arcade or Greed fight, it isn’t hard to get 10+ coins and other items in the room and then reroll them in to chests and pills and other goodies. I’ve beaten the Cathedral three times - once with Technology 2 + The Mulligna (spawns flies at a silly rate with Tech 2) and the other two times were due to gaining lots of stats with the D20.

Guppy is pretty bad because then you only have 1 heart or so for the final boss, which makes it very difficult. You can combo it with Guppy’s Paw for 3 soul hearts every life but Isaac would still be a challenging fight.

Guppy is good in several scenarios:

  1. You want to make a deal with the devil, but don’t have enough hearts. In this case you buy guppy, die and respawn, then buy your item. It will kill you but you’ll respawn with the item in hand.

  2. You want to cheese drops from bosses. Again, you can get up to 8 extra items from a boss with Guppy. The usual method is to do this on a floor with an Arcade. What you do is you make sure there’s a lot of Soul Hearts on the floor, but don’t pick them up. Then you continuously kill yourself and refight the boss, getting new items. On your last life, pick up all the soul hearts. It’s kind of like a poor-man’s Forget Me Now.

  3. You’re ???, since ??? has no red health, it just starts him off with 3 soul hearts, without resetting his health to 3 soul hearts when you first purchase it (though you obviously lose 3 soul hearts with purchase) which is pretty good.

The D20 can be pretty broken, but I personally don’t find it to be too amazing unless you have PhD or Lucky Foot, or you already know your pill rotation is very good. Though it does have the honor of making you want to get hit while fighting Greed, which is pretty funny.

ETA: The other time to get Guppy is if you have two other Guppy items. Cat Mode is pretty ridiculous.

I, uh, usually die on the second floor.

I am Not Very Good at this game.

Who are you playing as? One thing that seems like it shouldn’t make much of a difference but does is character choice. Unless you haven’t unlocked anyone other than Isaac, in which case keep practicing. That happens to most people at first, eventually you just commit to memory how all the enemies work and can fight them pretty easily. In addition, there’s only so many room layouts, you eventually start going “oh, this room” and remember how you beat it last time.

I’ve only played the demo, which I believe doesn’t let other characters unlock. How do you unlock them?

Because I had assumed you unlocked them by finishing the game as Isaac. And thus my entire decision on whether I would buy the game is based on whether I can consistently beat the demo, something I’ve yet to do.

So I put a little more time into it, and managed to get all the way down to Mom on one playthrough.

I think the most frustrating thing about this game is how arbitrary it is. Everything seems to hinge on how lucky your drops are on the first floor - sometimes you get something absurdly good and sometimes you get a pill that makes you fart once.

Some of the other characters require beating the game with Isaac, but Cain (the strongest character in the game, IMHO) only requires getting 50 coins in a playthrough. Another character, Eve, can be picked up by making a couple of deals with the devil in a playthrough. I don’t know if the Devil is included in the demo, but to make a deal with him, all you have to do is beat a boss without getting hit. To unlock Magdalene, you have to get up to 7 hearts.

Any of these goals may seem difficult on first blush, but the randomness of the rewards and the short length of time it takes to play a ‘Run’ makes unlocking at least these three characters fairly likely.

That’s not true, there’s a whole bunch of rules regarding whether a devil room shows up.

It goes as thus:

If you’re on the first floor, there is a 0% chance there will be a door to the devil room (the room itself still exists, if you somehow use a Joker card or memory editor on the first floor you can prove that).

On any other floor, there is a 1% base chance it will appear. Not getting taking red heart damage (meaning you can get hit if you have blue soul hearts) on the boss adds a 35% chance, so all other things being equal, you have a 36% chance of encountering a devil room if you don’t get hit on a boss. Not taking red heart damage for the whole FLOOR (I’m not sure whether “floor” includes the boss room or not, but I assume it does. I also don’t know whether the blood donation machine counts as taking red heart damage for devil room purposes) adds another 35% chance, giving you a very good 71% chance of finding it.

Other ways of influencing it:

Possessing the pentagram, Book of Belial, or Book of Revelations (+20%, +25%, +35% respectively)

Kill a beggar with a bomb (+35%), only applies once per floor
Meet the devil on the previous floor, or the current one (multiply current percentage by .25), meet the devil two floors ago (multiply by .5), three+ floors ago or never before (1.0).