Although it gets off to a bad start, the charm and random nature certainly rewards perseverance

User Rating: 7.5 | The Binding of Isaac PC
In The Binding of Isaac, you play as child named Isaac who has escaped to the basement to avoid his mother's sacrificial attempts to appease the voice of God. The basement happens to full of dangerous rooms laid out in a Zelda like way; although randomised each time you play. Each floor you descend has a larger map size and different possible enemies, but the layouts, amount of enemies, and items are all random. This adds a lot of charm and replayability because each adventure is different, although the mechanics remain the same. There are tons of items to find, and each one is added to your collection which gives you an incentive to play until you have seen everything. It isn't so obvious what the items do by their look or name so some experimentation is needed. There are items that give you extra abilities like stronger attack, more health, faster attack rate, and these also change your appearance. It is really cool watching Isaac transform as you progress, for example; from looking his normal child self to growing twice the size, having devil horns and wearing a cape. Although the game seems like it should require dual sticks to control, sadly there is no native controller support, so you are required to acquire 3rd party software. If you don't choose this option, you will be left with the awkward keyboard controls. Isaac can shoot in 4 directions, and if you want to shoot diagonal, you will have to use your momentum to do so. There are all sorts of enemies from slug like bugs, flies, or mutant creatures which have different movement patterns and attacking behaviour. Isaac strangely fires tears to damage enemies and also has limited bombs as a secondary attack. There are coins to pick up, although these seem quite rare, and can be used to buy things in the shop which you may find in the level. The game is tough and hearts seem to be dropped sparingly. Given you only start with 3 hearts, it seems a near impossible task especially when there are many enemies darting around firing at you. Some foes spawn more enemies, and killing some enemies can cause them to split or even explode which adds more complications. You may not have free movement in the room given that the rock placement can cause maze like arenas which means you can easily become cornered. There's definitely enough challenge in the game and plenty to discover if you are willing to persevere and invest the time. There's a few characters you can unlock which have different health, movement and attack speeds which can pose even more of a challenge or require a slight change in your approach to dealing with the enemies. There's even a challenge mode which gives you certain starting items or conditions. Strangely, The Binding of Isaac does seem very disappointing when you first pick it up, but if you give it enough time, it certainly does grow on you. It does seem very challenging, almost a bit impossible at times and you do seem to have to rely on finding good items to give you that vital health and attack boost. It certainly has a strange charm to it and you can easily pick it up and have a quick go now and then.