Rebound: The Binding Of Isaac Expansion

By Adam Smith on January 6th, 2012 at 1:17 pm.

Cry baby

I still haven’t done everything there is to do in The Binding of Isaac and it’s one of the few games that I’ll happily revisit for achievements and items. I want every item and I want to kill every boss with every character. That’s why the news of an expansion fills me with pleasure and anxiety, although not in equal measure. The anxiety is tiny and might just be the standard white noise of dread that hums in my ears whenever I’m awake. The pleasure is immense. I always hoped Isaac would continue to sprout growths and the free Halloween update was ace. The next will require a small payment – it’s going by the name The Wrath of the Lamb and according to Edmund, it adds about 50% new content. More details below.

It’s early stages yet, with only a few days work done and I don’t think there’s a detailed master plan. I imagine ideas for new items and enemies strike in the dark of night and Edmund wakes screaming from trouble sleep and darts to the computer, compelled to make his nightmares real. It’s exactly how the vast majority of children’s television is created.

So here’s what we know. For $3 you’ll get over 70 new items, including an entirely new category, trinkets, which provide passive bonuses. There will also be a new player character and a new, TRUE, final boss. “More of everything” is the key claim, and I’d guess that means enemies, levels, items, layouts, minibosses, tarot cards and bodily fluids.

My guesswork didn’t cover music though and my guesswork was wrong. At least five new tracks are promised. Expect the expansion in the first half of this year and keep in mind that there’s also a new game in development at Team Meat and it’s definitely not Super Meat Boy 2.

While digging for details, I also learned this: “The devil isnt random, hes a reward for playing well. the better you play the higher chances he has of appearing.” Well, I never. I would like everybody to know that it is a rare occasion indeed when I don’t meet the devil while crawling through the cellar. I AM SO GOOD AT THIS GAME.

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58 Comments »

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  1. Juan Carlo says:

    I’d like more Binding of Isaac too. My only request would be that he somehow employs branching dungeons or alternate routes or something. With the halloween expansion the game is already a bit long as it is, so I hope he doesn’t just stick all the new content at the end and make it even longer. It is a game meant to be tackled in one sitting, after all.

    • Beanchilla says:

      I’d have to dig it out but a long time ago he mentioned he wanted a save option so you could pick up the game later.

      Perhaps that will finally be added.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      I want an overworld that’s the combined back yards of the neighborhood / local forest / abandoned railyard and is, naturally, filled with deformed bullies.

  2. Lewie Procter says:

    My best guess for the new final final boss:
    God.

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      WombatDeath says:

      I was thinking that Ricky Tomlinson would be good. I like Ricky Tomlinson.

      I suppose God would be OK too, though strictly as a second preference.

    • Tacroy says:

      This is The Binding of Isaac though, so it’ll be a hyper masculine father-God who shoots ultra-powerful semen-bullets at you or something.

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      kregg says:

      So is John Walker the final boss? ʘ‿ʘ

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    Lambchops says:

    I have killed the final boss with every character. I have found all the items. I’ve almost got all of the achievements (can’t get through the depths and somewhat oddly the caves without getting hurt).

    Do I get a maggot infested cookie/

    Oh and I agree with Juan Carlo about not just dumping the new content at the end. Listen to Juan, for he speaks wisdom.

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      WombatDeath says:

      I’ve got all of the items except the Monster Manual, which for some reason never shows up. I’ve got through the basement and caves unscathed but fully expect never to get the corresponding achievement for the depths or womb. How did you manage to get through the womb without taking damage? Any trick to it or just good dodging?

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      Lambchops says:

      To be honest I can’t actually remember when I got through the womb unscathed, think it would have been sheer luck, either by having a shed load of good powerups (bible maybe? and the compass (to head straight to the bosses). Either that or i exploited the glitch with ??? where he can become invulnerable without realise I’d done so.

    • Bantam says:

      I’ve mostly seen the Monster Manual show up in the Deal with the Devil room, but it definitely shows up elsewhere.

    • Wunce says:

      I too managed to get this without realising. I think the trick is to get out fast – The Shovel, Brimstone, Compass, Map and not fighting Death were the key things that I used.

    • Xercies says:

      I found the depths kind of easy to not get unscathed but the caves for me are damn near impossible not to lose health or die in. If I get past the caves I know i can get to Mom as a boss. But gettiing past the caves is not so sure.

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      WombatDeath says:

      Funny how these things work – I find the caves OK but tend to lose a lot of health on the depths, generally due to the fucking leapers. I think they’ve been responsible for more of my rage-quitting than any game in history.

    • syndrome says:

      @WombatDeath
      The leapers? You mean pyjamas? Because the burning pyjamas are what I hate the most.
      If the inventory scales well with the game difficulty, it’s not that hard to reach the Mother.
      BUT PYJAMAS…

  4. MikoSquiz says:

    I still regularly google for “binding isaac straight aiming mod” in the hope that one day I will be able to play this without wanting to punch a wall afterwards.

    • Edawan says:

      Why would you want that ? Firing tears at angles is essential to the gameplay!

    • Pajama says:

      Edawan, the tears going in at angles have resulted in me dying more times then I can remember, its more or less rage quite fuel for some. It just takes too much getting used to is all.

  5. Olphas says:

    I bought Binding of Isaac a few days ago and already sunk lots and lots of hours into it. I love it. More Isaac? I must have it!

  6. Bantam says:

    Well, there goes another 80 hours of my life.

  7. Pemptus says:

    Binding of Isaac is pretty much my GOTY 2011. More? Yes, please.

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    WombatDeath says:

    I never knew that Satan’s appearance wasn’t random – I’d heard the rumour but dismissed it as people spotting non-existent patterns. It would be interesting to know exactly what ‘playing well’ means (getting hit less, good accuracy, time taken?) and how much of an effect it has.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      The chance of a spawning a devil door goes up if you finish the level and/or the boss without getting hit (more than once?).

      Alternatively you can brute-force your way through by beating the game 10 times so the trap door appears in the boss room itself (at least it always did for me after that).

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    frymaster says:

    WIll the expansion come with free database access? :P

  10. Randomer says:

    Seriously only $3? I’d happily pay ten! Hell, I’d be tempted by a “Put Edmund’s children through college” option.

    • Randomer says:

      Though I would also appreciate some sort of branching ending option. I found that the base game (getting through the womb) is the perfect length for layovers, and a slower-paced “do-everything” run through (again, just up through the womb) fits nicely into about 2 hours. I’ve yet to get to Hell, but I already feel like Hell is probably pushing the time commitment.

      If the expansion is planned to add levels on at the back end, perhaps they could be accessible after you beat mom the first time. Then you’d be able to choose to jump into the womb or go the new route.

  11. Edawan says:

    My hope is that they’d rewrite it with something more efficient than Flash. Having slowdowns any time there’s more than two enemies firing at the same time is ruining the fun.

    • Randomer says:

      For me, the slowdown happens when I’ve got five or six enemies all shooting projectiles at me. So I appreciate the slowdown as a form of bullet-time.

      I recently realized that I was running my laptop on energy-efficient mode, so I switched it over to “Brutalize the Environment” and hopped back in the game. There was no more slowdown, and the game was so hard that I had to drop back down to an intermediate power setting.

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      Sagan says:

      Framerate would also be my biggest complaint and the one thing I’d like to see addressed most. I’ve got a killer PC that can play most current games but the game seems to slow down randomly. Sure, most of the time I get a bad framerate when there are a lot of enemies on screen. But sometimes the game slows down with just two of em.
      And I’ve seen flash games with way more particles than this game has. So yeah, please look into that as it sometimes makes the game only a quarter as much fun.

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      Hodge says:

      When Isaac was announced for Humble Bundle #4 I was hoping it would get the full re-write treatment that VVVVVV did, but no such luck. Which is a damn shame, as the game sorely needs it.

    • Kaira- says:

      I’d really appreciate rewrite. The Linux-version runs like shit, as does the Windows-version (3 enemies firing + self = noticeable slowdown). Not to speak about other great faults and problems of Flash.

    • black_cat says:

      The Mac version of Isaac didn’t have achievements the last time
      I checked. Edmund also said that achievements for Mac may never
      happen.

      SMBoy Mac has no proper controller support and they stated that
      “it’s too much trouble, sorry”. Isaac’s problem may be aesthetic
      and I’m grateful for the version (I have no proper working PC and I
      don’t plan to have one in the predicable future), but no controller
      support makes SMBoy unplayable (at least it is for me).

      So yeah,,, as much as I like their games I won’t be opening my
      wallet for then anymore. New year’s resolution and all that.

    • alms says:

      Not sure where you got the idea that the Windows version would be different. All there is, is a text saying “use joytokey”. IMO with a planned expansion, any justification for not rewriting the game properly falls apart, but then again it was a pretty flimsy one in the first place.

    • ecat says:

      Rewriting is a big gamble.

      With the help of several hundred thousand play testers you’ve killed all the game stopping bugs, found and addressed 80% of the annoying bugs and have hopefully caught 70% of the trivial but hard to spot bugs.

      “I know.” says the developer, “I’ll rewrite the game from scratch in a totally different language. And, as this is a multi-platform game, I’ll rewrite parts of the game at least three times.”

      “Hooray!” shot the excited, expectant fans.

      The game releases and, oh dear. Most of the old bugs, back. Brand new game stoppers. Driver incompatibilities.

      “But you said it would be better!” Scream the fans. “No I didn’t. I said I’d rewrite it”, replies the dev.

      “You didn’t even test it!” Scream the fans. “I spent over 300 hours testing this on Windows, Linux and my sister’s boyfriend’s Mac”…

      Big gamble.

    • terry says:

      It’s perhaps worth noting that while the game is designed by Edmund, it was coded by Florian Himsl, who I believe codes in Flash exclusively.

    • jiminitaur says:

      Yeah, flash was a horrible choice. I hate to seem shallow, but I expect games with crappy graphics to run on crappy computers. I’d buy it again at full price just to get a version I could actually play on my laptop.

      Also, I agree with the don’t tack it onto the end bit.

      Maybe add a lightworld/darkworld feature, that would be cool.

      • P4INKiller says:

        There’s nothing wrong with the flash platform, it’s perfectly capable of running this kind of game.
        The problem is that Florian Himsl didn’t code it to make use of GPU acceleration.
        it runs purely on the CPU, meaning that it’ll have performance issues regardless of what graphics card you have.
        Not to mention the fact that it has to redraw vector graphics every frame, so performance could be improved by using bitmaps instead.

        I don’t really have any slowdowns on my laptop, but I still wish they would rewrite it.

    • P4INKiller says:

      There’s nothing wrong with the flash platform, it’s perfectly capable of running this kind of game.
      The problem is that Florian Himsl didn’t code it to make use of GPU acceleration.
      it runs purely on the CPU, meaning that it’ll have performance issues regardless of what graphics card you have.
      Not to mention the fact that it has to redraw vector graphics every frame, so performance could be improved by using bitmaps instead.

      I don’t really have any slowdowns on my laptop, but I still wish they would rewrite it.

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    Hodge says:

    I was playing this just a couple of hours ago and I finally beat Mom for the first time (yeah, I’m rubbish). I’m therefore choosing to believe that this expansion is something I’ve unlocked.

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    Jackablade says:

    I’m terribly bad at this game. After 36 hours I’ve met and defeated Mum once and that was only through several incredibly lucky finds moments before the final boss battle. I’d ask you guys who’re close to 100%ing the game what your secret is, but I suspect it probably comes down to “try not to suck so much”

    • terry says:

      I’d say familiarity with the enemies’ patterns is the most important thing. The game does get easier the more you play (with a minor spike in difficulty when you unlock “it lives”) because some items are ridiculously overpowered (Brimstone, Dr Fetus and the D6 spring to mind). If the game gives you a lucky drop and you already have the knowledge how best to fight each fiend it helps – a lot.

      If you’re looking to simply get to the end, you can’t go wrong with Book of Revelations and preferably a battery to charge it with.

      Anyway, I’m super excited for this expansion, if only to get my death count high enough to unlock those delicious shears..

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      blind_boy_grunt says:

      i’m guessing with 36 hours you know about the secret rooms and the blueish rocks. Those are really helpful. I found going for high offense is the best defense. So i almost always take damage ups from satan. Learn how to aim at angles, e.g. use the fact that your velocity gets added to your bullets.
      But as terry said the most useful thing is getting to know the patterns, seeing what enemies you can ignore for the time, where to stand, etc.

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      Jackablade says:

      The “blue-ish rocks” are a new one for me. Surprised I haven’t noticed them before.

    • WHS says:

      I would not say that I’m particularly good at this game, but if you’re clever about it (and play as Cain) you can get virtually every worthwhile item from Basement 2 on down. Some tips:

      -remember that the secret room almost always borders three other rooms — most of the time you can narrow its location down to one or two spots.

      -clear out a whole map before you use a single bomb or key. Then try to puzzle out how to get into everything that’s locked or hidden. Remember that you can bomb your way into locked rooms from the secret room, that chests often drop bombs and keys, and that sometimes you can use a bomb to clear a blue stone/fill a pit AND simultaneously check for the secret room.

      -the order in which you do things matters — buying a ladder to get to a chest will save you a bomb which you can then use to open the secret room, etc. Seriously, plan it out. It’s a whole different kind of puzzly fun.

      -if you’re Cain, any and all games of chance are pretty broken, but the arcade is completely broken. You can use the shell game to get hearts and bombs and keys and cash, feed extra hearts into the machine for more cash, and actually make money while building your reserves. Edmund tried to fix this by adding a grand prize to the heart machine, but if you find the arcade and have 10+ coins, you can still pretty much grind your way up to 20+ bombs and keys without too much difficulty — and often, you’ll get a blood bag and dollar bill for your troubles.

      With that in mind, it all comes down to how lucky you get with the drops. I virtually always beat Mom when I play, and make it through the womb about half the timet. (Sheol is a different story — only beat it once. Satan’s pretty rough.)

  14. Jefferson says:

    @black_cat says, I definitely agree with you. Both projects have some of the worst Mac support I’ve ever seen. Steam really needs a refund policy.

    I really, really regret supporting both of these games. Not to mention both ended up being in humble bundles I bought as well, so I supported them twice! … sigh (one month after release of Isaac in a humble bundle was way too soon, btw).

    Binding of Isaac was released for OS X without them even owning or testing on a Mac (they mentioned they were getting a Mac to fix the achievement problem). Go figure.

    SMB without proper gamepad support is worthless and unplayable (they even flash an Xbox 360 controller when the game starts).

    The Binding of Isaac should not have even been allowed in the Steam holiday achievement promotion without fixing achievements for OS X.

    End of rant. End of supporting the people behind either game. No way I’m buying an Isaac expansion.

    • Tiax says:

      Then I guess you’re starting to realize why most people play on a PC.

      OSX will always have a sub-par treatment when it comes to games.

    • Jefferson says:

      @Tiax I’m used to that from big studios (other than Blizzard, Valve and usually id), but indie developers are generally pretty good about it. Just not these guys.

    • terry says:

      To be fair to the devs, most of the Isaac problems stem from Flash being lousy for anything. I can understand the Mac thing because hey, not every indie developer owns/uses every platform. The achievement thing is a bit rough though :-(

      • P4INKiller says:

        No, whatever problems The Binding of Isaac may have it certainly doesn’t stem from flash.
        I’m not sure how you could say that flash is lousy for anything unless you have no knowledge of development.

        I’m assuming you’re just jumping on the ‘flash sucks’ bandwagon.

    • jiminitaur says:

      That’s called the Apple tax; you pay a couple hundred bucks more for everything Apple didn’t make to not work right.

      As for SMB; its better with a keyboard anyway. It’s your own fault for sticking with the Apple model.

  15. Xaromir says:

    I can’t even get through the original…

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    theunshaven says:

    I am rubbish at this game, though it is great fun.

    I would love an option to play with a controller though. It might mitigate some of my crapness.

  17. lordfrikk says:

    Wouldn’t somehow converting the game to use Flash 11 allow it to use hardware acceleration and thus render the slowdown problems for most PC users void? Or am I seeing this too simple?

    • P4INKiller says:

      Yes, that’s exactly what they have to do. It really is that simple.

      Most people who have an irrational hate for flash would have you believe otherwise.
      Flash improved immensely over the years, and yet people have suddenly started speaking against this great platform.

      I can only assume this bandwagon was kicked off by Apple when they refused to implement the platform into their mobile browser, making the claim that it would eat up battery life (Even though selling flash apps on the app store is perfectly fine by them, apparenty).

      HTML5 is a great leap, but the technology is nothing new.
      Most interactive stuff you see being made with HTML5 is written in Javascript and could be done before, there just was no incentive for it.

      Apple pretty much forced everyone to rewrite their websites so it would function on iOS.

      Flash won’t die anytime soon, it’ll just transform into something else like it always has.
      The technology behind it is too big for it to just fizzle out.

      Sorry for the rant, I just had to vent.
      Being a flash developer, it’s a giant pain to have clients who want to move to a different platform because they hear unqualified people speak ill of flash.

      If the flash platform dies, it will be the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  18. keelo says:

    god this game is so good. it doles out enough new content in just the right intervals to keep me playing. some details I really love:

    – the way blood splatters on the ground with a particularly atmospheric “fllllllllleeeeeck”
    – how i’m constantly discovering new things on every playthrough. i.e., when fighting Chub, I accidentally found out that dropping a bomb in his path when he’s charging at you makes him swallow it and take a bunch of health.
    – blood packs from heart-to-coin machines. because it’s usually such a risk. and when you get them it feels soooo good. and the fact that they usually appear next to slot machines so as to form a vicious gambling cycle where you can end up both broke and with no hearts :p
    – the music during the caves. that little piano interlude might be caught in my head for a long time.

  19. ShineyBlueShoes says:

    I would love if he would convert it off flash like they did with SMB after it launched because those flash slow downs always get me killed.

    • P4INKiller says:

      Wether it runs on flash or not is irrelevant to the slowdown issue.
      Even if it had been written in some other language, it still would’ve performed badly if it wasn’t written to make use of GPU acceleration.

      What they have to do is rewrite how the game renders the visuals.