I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was made available on the Nintendo E-shop. “Really?” I though. “A (mostly) family-friendly company like Nintendo is actually going to publicly align itself with THIS game? I mean, they do know it’s about a little boy who fights unspeakable horrors using his own tears after escaping to a basement when his mother tried to kill him because a voice from they sky told her to, right?”(I swear, there’s no way in Sheol I could make something like this up!)
But I wasn’t about to let the chance to play it on my WiiU instead of the laptop I didn’t wanna play games on yet. One purchase and one download later and I was spending the rest of 2015 learning exactly why Rebirth had had such an impact on the Indie gaming scene and why all the big and respectfully-sized Youtubers were playing it on their channels. The Binding of Isaac − from the original all the way up to Afterbirth+ − is one of the most addictive games out there. Never the same thing twice, always keeping you on your toes in anticipation of what’s gonna present itself next, constantly toeing the line huge risks and huge rewards. It’s all so exhilarating and it’s what compels me to keep playing through nine whole fair-to-middling Isaac rounds with the hope that the tenth one will be awesome.
I spent hours and hours with my WiiU, unlocking pretty much all the content that Rebirth after, including all the
-characters (except THE LOST)
-items (OK. Maybe not all of them . . .)
I ultimately failed to unlock all the secrets and challenges though.
And then Afterbirth, an all-new DLC expansion was released at the end of that same year that I hoped would make its way to my beloved console. But it never did. Which meant that if I ever wanted to play it (on Steam, obviously) I’d have to star ALLLL the way over. I WAS NOT cool with that at the time, so I decided to give Afterbirth a pass. Besides that, I felt that there was so much more to do in Rebirth
Then 2017 rolled around and I began to notice something kinda lame: starting an Isaac round that could be considered decent was becoming an increasingly rare occurrence. There were so. Many. Terrible. Rounds. And that’s when I stared playing Rebirth a whole lot less. Before long, starting all over again with Afterbirth was beginning to look more and more appealing. I soon found myself sitting in front of my laptop thinking, “So I have to buy Rebirth again to be able to play the new-ish DLC? Fine. And the struggle begins again. Oh well. Here we go . . .”
Only, the struggle was nowhere near as real as it had been with Rebirth. Almost immediately I was unlocking content left and right. I had to work my thumbs off for everything I got in the previous version. Since I’ve been playing Afterbirth, I have already unlocked a decent amount of stuff and I haven’t even defeated Mom’s Heart enough times to unlock IT LIVES, Sheol, the Cathedral, the Hush, the Chest, etc.
However, none of that means I’m free from crappy runs. It’s just something that comes with playing any sort of procedurally generated game. The fact that Afterbirth has an extended pool of items that are often better than the ones in Rebirth can often lessen the blow. Most days. Sometimes, a round is just going to limp along from start to inevitable death.