Receiving unwanted items is always a bummer in a roguelikelike where every drop counts, so I’m glad to hear that my favourite roguelikelike is getting a powerful new solution to that. The second expansion to The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth [official site], Afterbirth †, will add a new character with the power to receive powerful bonuses for destroying items. His name’s Apollyon (or Abaddon, as you might better know him) and, as the destroyer and king of the locusts, his starting item will be the mighty Void.
“Apollyon is the destroyer so I felt it most appropriate that his item convey destruction as well as his army of locusts,” co-creator Edmund McMillen said in a blog post overnight, finally revealing more after a lot of teasing. Here’s how he explains Void:
“On use Void destroys all items in the room, if an item is a usable item Void now gains that items ability when used (this stacks), if the item is a non usable item it gives the player a random stat bonus.”
“Void will also destroy all pickups in the room as well and turn them into a small army of locust (blue flies).”
To explain a little to non-Isaacfolk, Void offers a way around one of Isaac’s limitations. One hard rule is that players can only hold one ‘active’ item – things which give abilities and bonuses when activated, and which usually need to recharge – but this will let folks power up Void with the abilities of every active item they find. All at once. It can combine healing items with damage-dealing items with utility items with… there’s no need to pick what you want, as you can have it all.
I dig that. It sounds hugely powerful if you can combine several good active items, and even a few mediocre ones would become worthwhile combined. Void also being able to convert unwanted passive (permanent) items into stat boosts sounds handy too. That side is perhaps less useful, since Isaac has no limit on the number of passive items you can carry, but hey I’d prefer a stat boost over a trash item like Holy Water.
McMillen also revealed another new active item, Smelter, which is similar to Void. Smelter lets you destroy the trinkets you’re holding (for non-Isaacfolk: a type of swappable passive item, of which you can usually only carry one) and gain their effects as permanent bonuses. This sounds neat too. Most trinkets are okay-ish at best but I wouldn’t say no to combining a load of their powers.
This isn’t all wholly new to roguelikelikes, of course. Nuclear Throne’s Robot character can munch unwanted weapons to get pickups and Enter the Gungeon has ‘Gun Muncher’ NPCs who recycle unwanted weapons into something new, to name two. But they’re not in Isaac or nearly as cool as Void so pssh.
Still no firm word on when Afterbirth† will launch. Official mod support is perhaps its headline feature but it’ll also bring heaps new items and whatnot.
McMillen is also working on The Legend of Bum-bo, a “turn-based puzzle RPG type thingy” with frequent collaborator James Id, and with Tyler Glaiel a mysterious platformer which looks a wee bit like a shootier Time Fcuk maybe? Here, see what you make of it in this latest teaser vid: