Wot I Think: The Binding Of Isaac

By Adam Smith on September 29th, 2011 at 12:43 pm.

It's a bit like a horror version of Trapdoor

I’ve spent hours in a basement full of demented nightmare children, using my own tears, blood and urine to fend them off. That’s a lie. I’m not just fending them off, I’m going out of my way to seek them out and to kill them in case my murderous mother’s undergarments or shoes appear when I’ve reduced every living thing in a room to blood-pudding. Then I’ll be able to put on mother’s clothes and that will make my tears all the more bitter. The other children won’t stand a chance against me then. It’s The Binding Of Isaac. Here’s Wot I Think.

I’ve seen The Binding Of Isaac described as many things: dead baby Zelda, Smash TV meets Roguelike, utterly disgusting, and a thorough and meaningful exploration of the theological and moral implications of the Abrahamic religions’ understanding of loyalty. It is most of those things, to varying degrees, but the crucial thing is that despite any potential confusion, it all clicks together and makes sense within minutes of playing. At least the mechanics make sense, as for what’s actually happening and why those flies want to kill little Isaac and how those eyeless heads are levitating toward him, I don’t really know about that. It’s not in the source text.

There are items to collect, keys that open doors, bombs that blow things up and bosses guarding the exit to every floor. I wouldn’t strictly call it a roguelike, but we could argue about what that term means all day long. It’s definitely like a roguelike and it plays with the conventions in fun ways, particularly Isaac’s death diary which is exactly how the victim of a mad God/mother would scrawl out a post-mortem character dump. In terms of the roguelike mechanics, its interpretation of them is not dissimilar to that found in Spelunky.

As for Zelda, yes, that’s in there too. The bombs are straight out of Linksville and the shopkeepers are rotten little homages, with their goods laid out in the same way, but their entrails laid out in an entirely different way. Then there’s the action, which is twin stick shooter style. I played with keyboard, WASD for movement and cursor keys to shoot. The mouse can handle the shooting side of things but since Isaac can only fire in the cardinal directions, the keys do the trick just fine. It’s worth noting that the options menu isn’t available on the title screen, only from the pause menu in game, which is reached by pressing escape. Odd, but there you go. Everything else is bloody odd as well, so why not.

The first screen you see when you start a game has the controls written on the floor. That’s the only thing you can be certain of. There might be an exit on one side of the screen or there might be exits on all four sides. A map at the top-left shows the rooms that lead off as dull rectangles, once you enter them, they light up and any new routes are added. The map also places icons on top of the rooms so you’ll know if you’ve left items behind, either because you don’t need them yet or can’t reach them. Shopkeepers, bosses and treasure chambers are also marked; you won’t get lost because each floor is quite small, but it’s useful to know exactly where you’re going, saving on pointless backtracking.

When you enter a new room, the layout and enemies are randomly determined. There are preset designs but you won’t often come across the same rooms in the same sequence and the creatures in the room aren’t part of the design. So a room littered with rocks, hard to move around in, might contain enemies with projectile attacks on one visit but on the next you could be faced with leaping, headless that ignore the obstacles. Both present their own challenge and both would be a lot easier to kill in an empty room, where Isaac can circle around them using the space to his advantage.

Once I’d learned the attack patterns of the grotesqueries I’d find myself working out a strategy for surviving and clearing a room seconds after entering it. Even though each chamber only takes a minute or so to pass through, there is a definite tactical element and it’s enhanced by Isaac’s own changing state. I’ve entered rooms and felt myself tense as I immediately recognise that I’m not ready for what’s in there. Other times, I nod grimly and send streams of Cupid’s own piss into the faces of the slathering hunks of meat that are essentially no more than faces.

At first, Isaac is no more than a bawling, naked infant, ready for the chopping block, but as progress is made, items are discovered. Some change the nature of Isaac’s projectile, some boost his stats, others are rechargeable secondary weapons or one-time use items. Sometimes the game is kind and Isaac is quickly transformed into a winged demon, raining a deadly torrent of blood on his assailants. Other times, he never progresses much beyond the wailing nude phase. Maybe he’ll find himself with a tiny brother or sister hanging over his shoulder, in my mind alluding to Will Self’s lithopedion foetus in How The Dead Live. It’s all in the luck of the draw.

That’s the brilliance of it. Where Super Meat Boy demanded perfection, The Binding Of Isaac is all about imperfection. This is a game, after all, where one of the powerups is a coathanger, which the unwanted child hero attaches to himself in the most gruesome and (in)appropriate fashion. At times the deliberate ugliness of the theme is reduced to bloody-minded potty humour – tears are used to dissolve giant mounds of poo on a regular basis – but there’s a cleverness behind the willy-waving shock value. Pick up a wooden spoon and Isaac is covered in red welts, his speed increasing. He’s learned to run. Wear mother’s shoes and his tears become more effective. He’s learned shame.

Imperfections aren’t only thematic though, they’re built into the core of each short playthrough. There’s rarely a choice of equipment, it’s a case of doing the best with what you’re given. This means that despite the apparent simplicity of the game, the replay value is enormous. I’ve had to drag myself away from it just to write this because I know that if I play for another hour, not only will I have had a very enjoyable hour, I’ll also have more to say. Maybe I’ll accidentally discover a new favourite combination of powerups or start to despise a certain enemy type more than any other. Tomorrow I might advocate using bombs to take out bosses, lessening the risk of losing heart to them, but today I keep my bombs to blow up rocks, to reach concealed chests, to find the crown of thorns that will make me unstoppable.

I’ve killed the final boss a few times now, the whole thing can be finished in half an hour, but I haven’t completed it. Nowhere near. I don’t even know what that would mean. Maybe I could collect every item and every achievement, which isn’t something I’m normally interested in doing. I am here though, partly because I want to see everything, but also because I want to keep playing. I don’t need achievements to bait me into the basement but the few that will alter my playstyle are tempting. Those mostly relate to the unlockable characters. To play as Cain, I need to collect 50 coins on a single playthrough. In my experience, that means I’ll need quite a bit of luck but I’ll also need to sacrifice keys and bombs to pick up money instead of items, and I won’t be able to spend the money. At least I don’t think so; I think I need to have all 50 coins at the same time.

There’s no real documentation to help out with the confusions that remain but discovery is all part of the fun. Pills, like potions in a roguelike, are intentionally opaque in their purpose. You just have to make baby Isaac swallow them down and hope for the best. Sometimes he recovers his health, other times he pees himself and looks horribly sad. He ALWAYS looks horribly sad, but somehow when you’re feeding him drugs he manages to look even sadder. Scrolls are replaced by tarot cards, which always do the same thing, though they don’t tell you what that is. You have to use them and then try to work out what the hell happened, which isn’t always as easy as you might think.

The only problem I have with The Binding Of Isaac right now is that I’m still discovering things and I don’t want that to end. It’s not the only part of the game that’s enjoyable, the actual run and gun (lurch and weep) mechanic is solid and challenging, but more than anything I love patching new Isaacs together. The fact that everything he collects is actually shown, in combination, is brilliant. Collecting a weird powerup and then seeing how it manifests on the character is satisfying, particularly given the wit and emotional disturbance that have gone into the design. I’ve been playing for hours now and I’m still finding rooms whose purpose I don’t fully understand and I haven’t killed all the sins on a single playthrough, or every boss in the depths. There is a lot to do but I still know, already, that I’m going to want more, although I mean that in a wholly positive way.

For the meagre sum of £3.59 there’s an embarrassing amount of entertainment here. In many ways, it’s a small game. There’s never more than one-screen in play for one thing but every screen has something to offer, whether an ecstatic discovery or a terrible way to die. That’s fundamentally all I ask from a game – fill my screen with something interactive and interesting. It’s a very rare moment when Isaac isn’t doing that. As I was playing, I kept thinking how unlikely it was that this thing exists, in all its deliberate depravity and simple pleasures. I’m extremely glad that it does.

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91 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Man Raised by Puffins says:

    I’ve spent hours in a basement full of demented nightmare children, using my own tears, blood and urine to fend them off. That’s a lie. I’m not just fending them off, I’m going out of my way to seek them out and to kill them in case my murderous mother’s undergarments or shoes appear when I’ve reduced every living thing in a room to blood-pudding. Then I’ll be able to put on mother’s clothes and that will make my tears all the more bitter. The other children won’t stand a chance against me then.

    And in the game?

    • nayon says:

      instant rimshot of the century.

    • Premium User Badge

      Kirasath says:

      I feel soo sorry for Isaac somehow..and alot of the creatures down in the basement too..especially the fly-head

    • noclip says:

      I made a bet with myself as to how many comments in there’d be something to this effect. Turns out I was off by 6.

  2. andyhavens says:

    [copy editor by day on] The line, “It’s definitely like a roguelike,” would have been better as, “It’s definitely roguelike-like.” [/editor]

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      That seems like a stretch of the definition of “better”.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thermal Ions says:

      I suggest finding a new day job.

    • SquareWheel says:

      I really like games that are like like-like. Nothing better than monsters wot swallowing shields.

    • Chris D says:

      Not a copy editor but in my opinion like-a-roguelike is a little clearer but roguelike-like is a lot more fun.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      No, it’s nothing like Rogue. It does borrow a few elements from the genre of games that are like Rogue, though. Roguelike-like is therefore appropriate.

    • Torn says:

      We need to go deeper. It’s definitely a roguelike-like.

    • Chris D says:

      @Frightlever

      Not an unreasonable assumption but “like” has a certain margin forever so by the time you’re two steps removed what you have might only be a bit like the original.

      I like to think of it as if you were breeding clones in a lab with a degree of mutation creeping in each generation. That doesn’t actually make it any clearer, I just like to think of it that way.

    • kikito says:

      Don’t make me go there.

      Ok. I will.

      What will you call a game that is like the Binding of Isaac, then?

      A roguelike-like-like ?

      Madness!

      (Kicks the table and runs away)

    • Dervish says:

      I hate all of you for helping change “roguelike” from a meaningful genre descriptor to a meaningless buzzword. The fact that Zelda is the one that gets the secondary “yes, that’s in there too” explanation in the article is particularly grating.

    • qrter says:

      Does editing copy really mean ‘take out all the jokes’? Not sure that actually makes a text.. better.

    • andyhavens says:

      OK… Fine. For better-like definitions of “better.”

    • Bremze says:

      Diablo is a roguelike. It was actually turn-based and tile-based at the beginning of development, but you probably know all that. That would make Diablo 2 a roguelike-like, while bearing little resemblance to Spelunky or The Binding of Isaac.

      We need a name for the the values that usually are expected from roguelikes like permadeath and randomness. And roguelike-like is definitely not it.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      I’ve always just used ‘roguelike’ to describe games with procedurally generated areas, permadeath, and item/equipment systems, but you know, if you want to come up with a needlessly complex game taxonomy, I’m not stopping you.

  3. GenBanks says:

    Made the mistake of buying it after midnight last night… stayed up much much later than intended.

  4. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Sounds like it’s not for me.
    EDIT – too negative.

    • Unaco says:

      “Sounds shit”

      You see… that’s how I’ve felt since I first saw the game. But, I’ve been able to hold back, and resist filling up the comment threads with my disdain for the game. It really doesn’t serve much of a purpose, and with such inflammatory, negative language, this comment is only likely to cause arguments. Remember…

      “POLITE NOTICE: if you’re not at all interested in the subject matter of a story here, please don’t waste everyone’s time by saying so, and instead just go read/comment on the next story of interest to you. That a story/game you are not personally interested in exists will not result in any harm coming to you, I promise.” Alec Meer.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Not interested.

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      AlwaysRight says:

      I totally agree with Unaco’s point!
      I’d also like to add that people who ever comment:

      ‘I’m going to wait till its on sale’

      Add nothing, to anything, ever.

    • Premium User Badge

      Daiv says:

      Also: Anyone who starts a comment with “yawn” shall be flogged until they yawn in real life. What’s the matter, yawning-boy? Can’t yawn while I’m removing your flesh with a white-hot electric flail?

    • Premium User Badge

      The Sombrero Kid says:

      smb was a bad game imo, although i held out hope for this game, it sounds just as lazy and uninspired as super meat boy, saying that, my original comment was probably the most lazy and uninspired thing ever made so i can’t really talk.

    • GHudston says:

      I’d love to hear what you think was lazy or uninspired about SMB.

    • StenL says:

      Actually, it sounds like one of the best games this year. Definitely getting this as soon as possible.

    • aerozol says:

      It looks so awesome! I realised it was going to be dark, but it sounds like it’s gone beyond my expectations. Just balancing the post comments out a bit (:

  5. Matt says:

    This game is truly horrific. But I can’t stop playing.

  6. Quizboy says:

    I picked this up last night, woke up having forgotten I had, then lost the next three or four hours somehow. SO SO GOOD. Although the tragedy of losing poor three-eyed virus-riddled doctor Isaac to a lucky shot from a fly will stay with me :(

  7. Pathetic Phallacy says:

    I was kind of wanting and expecting a Nethack with dead babies. But I guess this will do.

    Now give me a review of Game of Thrones and Nuclear Dawn. Mostly Game of Thrones, there seems to be no information on this game at all! The forums are filled with people asking “what the hell is this thing?”

  8. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Holy arse. I didn’t realise this was out and I totally have things I need to do tonight.

    I fear this is going to be one of those weekends.

  9. Dominic White says:

    It really is a lovely, horrible little game. A gleeful, manic nightmare, and each time you play, your little naked child becomes increasingly horrible and twisted depending on what stuff you find. Coathangers + TECHNOLOGY = Horrible cyborg laser-tears all over the place.

    • Synesthesia says:

      wait till you get chocolate milk with that too. Chargeable lasers? It instakills almost every enemy.

      And i lost it to a fly. A FLY.

      Shame on me.

  10. johnpeat says:

    It’s lovely but I’ve run into a couple of weird bugs I’m hoping their sort out soonish…

    Using the keyboard and mouse can result in Isaac moving when you’re shooting. I know it’s not just me because I left the keyboard alone and I still moved around, just using the mouse (the mouse is a crap control method anyway).

    I’ve now managed to keep items from an earlier game into the following games more than once so it wasn’t just my imagination – if this is something which can be exploited, it will trivialise the difficulty.

    Some bosses are FAR harder than others – so which one you get will determine how far you progress to a great extent – e.g. ‘completing’ the game is as much about luck as skill.

    Doesn’t make it any less fun to play tho :)

    • johnpeat says:

      Thinking on – a roguealike where found items will last X more games is a bloody brilliant idea…

    • Dominic White says:

      Half the commercial roguelikes out there (most on the Wii and DS, oddly enough) have that as an element, usually in the form of items that you can mail to your next incarnation in order to give you next self a boost, at the cost of weakening your current self.

    • menderslan says:

      I thought that at first as well, but after going up against these “hard” bosses a couple of times (see: Gurdy) I discovered patterns and strategies for taking them out, and now they’re no more challenging (or possibly, even easier) than the other bosses for that level.

    • johnpeat says:

      There are roguealikes on the DS? or WII??

      I don’t dust those off much but I’ll take tips where Roguey fun can be found!!

    • Baines says:

      The Chunsoft console roguelikes tend to give you one or more ways to carry items into later playthroughs, often allowing you to continually power up weapons and shields if you are careful and intelligent. The best know is Shiren the Wanderer, which they keep porting and upgrading for different systems. There are versions on the DS and the Wii, though I think the original was on the SNES. (The main series is actually Mysterious Dungeon, and the first Shiren was actually Mysterious Dungeon 2.)

      While carrying over improved weapons is a definite boost, the really big deal is that some things are only “unlocked” after multiple plays. Basically, they won’t appear until you meet some condition, but once you’ve achieved that condition, they can randomly show up in future plays.

      I’d guess that a lot of Japanese console roguelikes draw at least some inspiration from the Chunsoft games.

      I can’t immediately think of a Roguelike that has limited future uses built into an item, though.If you can carry something over, then it either seems to be designed so that you can either only carry it into the next game, or you can theoretically carry it indefinitely. Not like “Sword +10 can be carried over into 2 more games,” which could be an interesting mechanic if you then run into “Sword +7 that can be carried over into 5 more games” and have to decide whether you want more power now, or less power for a longer period of time.

    • PanzerVaughn says:

      “Baroque” (Wii and i think it was on Dreamcast before) is a game incredibly similar to this. Youre the only normal person in a world of deformed monsters, battling through a randomly generated tower trying to make small changes for the next iteration of you to get deeper. You gotta keep HP and Hunger filled up, otherwise you start bleeding hp, and you can only send a few items per run to the ‘bank’ by throwing them into fancy orbs (very crudely explained in the game =D) Theres hundreds of items you have no real idea what you do until you use them, and all kinds of augments and one-use things.

      I didn’t know what a roguelike was, but aparently one of my favorite games is one =D

  11. Chris D says:

    Curse you, reply system!

  12. clippa says:

    This game is ruddy amazing. Another instant classic. Played it for 7 hours last night before forcing myself to go to bed.

    Plays best with a pad but you’ll have to use joy2key, at least for now, don’t know if pad support is getting patched in in the future. Tried the different control methods, keyboard alone and keyboard and mouse both work well but pad has the edge for me, movement is a lot more fluid. I live longer using a pad, put it that way :D

    I keep trying to post my joytokey setting but it’s not letting me post them, I’ll post a picture :D Hang on

    Joytokey – http://www.electracode.com/4/joy2key/JoyToKey%20English%20Version.htm

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/14326828/jtk.jpg

    I can’t recommend this game enough. and it’s 3 quid 60!

    • clippa says:

      there, that’ll do

    • Premium User Badge

      Dare_Wreck says:

      I have to admit, the controls really turn me off in this game. The standard keyboard controls are a pain (Shift+E for bombs?? You have to take your hand off the movement keys to do that! A big no-no). After struggling for a couple minutes, I tried firing up Joy2Key instead, which helped, but then the movement feels too slippery. I can’t believe they didn’t add proper controller support to this, though hopefully it will get added later.

      After spending 20 minutes with the game, I’m regretting my purchase, but because everyone else is so strongly in favor of it, I’ll give it another shot tonight.

    • Dominic White says:

      Huh? It’s just plain E for bombs. Q for pills/tarot cards, and space to use a special tiems. And as you’re moving with WSAD, you should barely have to twitch a finger.

    • Premium User Badge

      Dare_Wreck says:

      Really?? I swear the opening room shows Shift and E for the controls for the bomb. …Is it actually, Shift _or_ E, not both? I’ll have to check that when I get back home later. Serves me right for trying to play it after midnight, I suppose.

    • menderslan says:

      Yeah, it’s shift or e. I use shift. But after a few games using the keyboard (having no qualms with that control scheme), I decided to try using xpadder and my gamepad. It is much more enjoyable with a gamepad.

  13. malkav11 says:

    On the one hand, I love roguelikes. On the other hand, I’m fairly sure I don’t want to play one where I am a crying, abused baby fighting grotesque piles of internal organs and similar.

    • Premium User Badge

      symuun says:

      I loved Super Meat Boy, so I’m actually surprised by how deeply I’m put off by this game before even playing it. I’ve seen video games that have made me scared, happy, even saddened, but I’ve never actually been revolted before. I think it’s actually quite an impressive achievement, especially considering the cartoony visual style – it’s not exactly rooted in realism, which I’d have expected to disturb me much more. I don’t think I can bring myself to play this game, but I do have a grudging respect for what it’s already managed to do to me.

    • mwoody says:

      Yeah, same boat here. Love everything about the mechanics, but not sure how long I can stomach the theme.

    • johnpeat says:

      I hated SMB as a game but I love this – there’s a message here, if you look hard enough :)

      Mind you – having acquired all the powers of a GOD earlier, I died completely out of the blue just walking into a room – I’m a bit miffed about that.

      It’s bloody weird playing a game with no concept of high score or save tho :)

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      “I’ve seen video games that have made me scared, happy, even saddened, but I’ve never actually been revolted before.”

      Never played Edmund McMillen’s previous game, ‘Cunt’, then? Revolting is a good way to describe that one. This looks a little more… disturbing, but no less disgusting.

    • Premium User Badge

      symuun says:

      Hah. No, I haven’t, but with a name like that it’s got to have a special kind of quality to it. Maybe some day, if I can nerve myself up enough.

  14. Merus says:

    I find Edmund McMillen a bit tedious, to be perfectly honest; he hasn’t really grown out of that Newgrounds-style humour. Super Meat Boy wasn’t steeped in it, but I did grow a bit tired of the game equating violence against women with impish assholery, especially since I’m not really inclined to be charitable with how Edmund McMillen sees women after some of his previous games.

    Basically I’d just wish he’d grow up a bit.

    • dium says:

      “to be perfectly honest; he hasn’t really grown out of that Newgrounds-style humour.”
      Thanks for helping me figure out what it is about this guy that turns me off. Everything he makes feels like a flash movie my classmates would watch and chuckle at when I was 14, more because it would shock our elders than because it was actually funny.

      And I’m willing to overlook the varying levels of tongue-in-cheek misogyny in individual cases by being ironic, knowingly self-condemning, purely for shock value, etc… but the fact that it’s a reoccurring element in his work is unsettling.

    • Agrona says:

      Agreed. I’d like to appreciate his work and game design–it definitely sounds interesting. The whole gross-out aesthetic doesn’t exactly appeal to me or anything. I found myself considering playing a reskinned version of this game or Super Meat Boy (not completely different, just… toned down. I’ll probably pick it up anyway, since it’s so inexpensive and I love rogues and the classic games that seem to have inspired it. I also don’t mind a little commentary with my games).

  15. Ravious says:

    It’s basically free. If you enjoy fun, you should own it. The end.

    (Also buy it to show PC solidarity and reinforce that PC is the dominant place for these games and not some other marketplace.)

  16. Ridnarhtim says:

    Leaping, headless WHAT that ignore the obstacles? Leaping, headless WHAT, Adam? I have to know!!!

  17. Premium User Badge

    bsplines says:

    Hmm, I didn’t know what to make of it in the beginning, but that does sound impressive. Only a question, does it have backtracking, or do you continually push forward?

    • Dominic White says:

      You can backtrack through/explore each floor as you please, but an entire playthrough start to finish is around half an hour. It’s a coffee-break arcade roguelike.

  18. Tyshalle says:

    Is this made by the same guy who did Gish? The art looks, uh, well, identical.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yes. And Gish is one of the enemy types. And your ‘brother’ from Time Fcuk is one of the powerups. And there’s more than a few Super Meat Boy references in there, too.

    • caddyB says:

      Oh yes. When I heard the soundtrack I said to myself “Gish”

    • Dominic White says:

      Oddly enough, the music is something it DOESN’T have in common with Gish. The music is by Danny B, the guy who did the soundtrack for Super Meat Boy. The Gish soundtrack is mostly by the deeply weird experimental band Estradasphere – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estradasphere

  19. Cerzi says:

    I’ve been enjoying it, except in the space of less than an hour I’ve had 2 errorless CTDs, which is a bit annoying in a game that doesnt save.

    • Daryl says:

      I just had my first crash, and I was doing very well in the game too. No error for me either. Extremely annoying. I needed to put it down anyway, but not like that.

  20. Dominic White says:

    Apparently there’s a large update coming to the game around the end of October. Word is that it’s even darker than the stuff already in there, and should add a good chunk of new content to the random nightmare generator.

  21. jrr says:

    I’m really interested in the design, but turned off by the setting – anyone care to reskin it into a colorful happy jungle? I’m not going to expose myself to that much blood, poo, and pee intentionally.

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    Oozo says:

    Ah, How The Dead Live. I remember being offered that book as a Christmas present from my mother who probably would not have been to happy had she realized what she was giving me there on the Holiest of Nights.

    But nice write-up. Convinced me to go pick it up.
    (Fun fact: Strangely enough, I was reminded as much of “Start Topics” as I was of Zelda.)

  23. Friend says:

    It’s quite fun, but I find the controls a little annoying. Aiming in only the cardinal directions is a bit of a chore, particularly when the rest of the game isn’t restricted in the same way. It’d also be nice if the Items tab accessed from the main menu allowed you to click on the various items you’d already discovered, and give a brief description of what they did (I’d be fine even with something enigmatic, just the name and a line or two would be better than what’s presently there).

    Aside from that, it’s a pretty great little game so far. Definitely worth the negligible asking price.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      It’s definitely worth the asking price just for the ambient weirdness, but with the cramped scale, floaty movement, vague player character hit zone, and four-directional firing that generally prefers to drift off to the side instead of going in the four directions due to your character taking so long to stop.. I don’t think calling the very basic game mechanics “terrible” is much of a stretch. It’s a quirky 2/5 for me, whereas a better implementation of moving and shooting would bump it up to a 4/5. Here’s hoping for a mod.

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      blind_boy_grunt says:

      the hit zones are very hard to properly work out and for me often just luck, but i thought the drift of the firing is a feature. It would be very incompetent programming if not. So incompetent that he wouldn’t have been able to actually program the game. I even think it’s a good feature, you have to stand still to aim better but you can also use it to get hits without being in the direct line of fire of some guys.
      The story or atmosphere seems like the typical mcmillen working through childhood stuff (the hero is lying in the cellar going through his most embarrasing memories which might also be the bosses, but i haven’t played it through) but all while you are playing a kid version of the guy from psycho.

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      blind_boy_grunt says:

      go along nothing to see here

  24. adonf says:

    “Abrahamic religions”

    Oh, that Isaac…

    And now I’m wondering: was Meatboy in the bible as well?

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      No, but Doctor Fetus was, IIRC.

    • Baf says:

      In Leviticus. “And of the Meat Boy, ye shall not eat, and he shall be an abomination unto you.”

  25. takfar says:

    sold me in on it.

  26. Ba5 says:

    Is it supposed to load for 10 minutes?

  27. Kefren says:

    Sounds fantastic! I hope it comes to GamersGate.

  28. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    This game is slightly disturbing.

  29. BatmanBaggins says:

    I ended up somehow playing this for about 6 hours yesterday evening.

    It’s addictive as hell.

  30. Roshin says:

    I don’t share your enthusiasm. No gamepad support was bad, but I got Xpadder to work with it, which helps. It still feels rather floaty and vague, though. Nothing like the tight controls of Super Meat Boy. And an unskippable intro! The only thing that saves it from being binned is the crazy story and theme of it.

    I expected better.

    • Adam Smith says:

      The intro can be skipped with the space bar, for me at least! Even the tiny little cutscenes can and the boss intros can be zapped like that.

      The lack of controller support is a shame – I didn’t miss it but choice is the most important thing. Mr McMillen has recommended joytokey, which may suggest he doesn’t intend to patch in support. I hope that’s not the case.

  31. magnus says:

    Joy to key doesn’t even work for, me I’ve downloaded the .cfg files and unchecked the new options- now the patch has installed and soon as I go into another room the controls with the stick refuse to work properly and I get stuck in a corner unable to fire anywhere but left. Hmm, guess I’ll leave it for now.

  32. kraii says:

    Anyone else have it just close without asking it to?

  33. Premium User Badge

    Tam Toucan says:

    Must say I’m loving this. Interestingly without the permadeath I’d hate it. Twice now I’ve sold my soul to the Devil to get the Dead Cat and with nine lives the game makes me want to punch the screen every time I die (frustration at my own incompetence probably).

    With one life I’m quite happy to say goodbye to my character and start a new one.