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Isaac was a little boy who lived a happy life with his mother until the day Mom heard a voice and started acting funny. She took her son’s clothes and toys and locked him up in a room, but a greater sacrifice was necessary… Isaac saw his mother grabbing a knife and heading towards the door, luckily he found a trapdoor leading to the basement just in time.

Obviously, this is a seriously sick game with twisted humour and some Biblical references. You have to navigate Isaac through underground rooms filled with disgusting monsters and lethal traps. You fight enemies by shooting teardrops at them. Later on, you’ll find many items (e.g. Mom’s Underwear, Rosary, Dead Bird) to make yourself stronger.

The game has many retro aspects but one of the most important is that you have to finish it in one sitting. That’s it: if you lose all your hearts, you’ll have to start over again. The trick here is that rooms, monsters and items are randomly generated so each time you face new enemies with a new arsenal at your disposal.

Randomization is a great idea but it leads to unbalanced gameplay occasionally. You play for a while and get great stuff, tons of bombs and keys even on the first few levels. Next time the game leaves you with only one bomb and all the goodies are behind rocks only destroyable by explosives. This way you leave behind lots of items and carry on with an aching heart and much worse odds.

The whole story is kinda short by the way, so it could be completed in an hour or less if it wasn’t that damn difficult! Even weaker monsters have some nasty tricks and some minor and major bosses require lots of concentration to kill.

Graphics are what you would expect from a Flash based game, it’s quite similar to Super Meat Boy (which shouldn’t surprise you as Edmund McMillen is behind both of them). Enemies are references to Isaac’s fears and traumas or based on the Bible and succeed in being cute and disgusting simultaneously.

The Binding of Isaac is a strange little gem, though its difficulty and lack of balance sometimes lead to frustration. However, unlockable characters, levels and countless variations of levels make sure you play it from time to time.

The Binding of Isaac review info: