The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ expansion released

The second expansion for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth [official site], the world’s premiere roguelikelike shooter about crying babies, launched last night. Afterbirth+ whacks in new items and enemies and levels and another character and all that but, perhaps more importantly, brings official mod support. Given the wonders players made with unofficial tools – have you seen the Antibirth mod? – I’m mighty excited by what might happen now.

For now, let’s focus on what Afterbirth+ already comes with. We’re looking at 50-odd new items, a new final chapter with a new boss, new enemies, new bosses, a new character, 2 new transformations, a hard difficulty for Greed Mode, daily Greed runs, and other odds and ends.

From what I’ve seen, it is – as expected, and as billed – small additions rather than massive changes. I’m not diggin’ the portals which spawn random enemies until destroyed; they’re jarring because many of my favourite Isaac rooms are clearly designed as encounters with specific enemies. Still, I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve seen more. Afterbirth Non-plus seemed a little light at first but now it feels a natural and welcome part of Isaac.

Afterbirth+ is £4.68/6,69€/$6.69 on Steam, which includes a launch discount. The developers plan to issue monthly updates officially adding some of the best player-made mods too.

If you do want huge changes, hey, check out Antibirth. It’s free to download over here and only needs Rebirth to play – no expansions.

Here’s a video of Northernlion, a prolific Isaaceer and mostly a polite boy, playing as Afterbirth+’s new character for the first time. Apollyon starts with an item which can swallow up other items, gaining permanent stat boosts from passives and collecting the powers of active items. Yeah, be careful using that around Glass Cannon:

What happened with my quest to fully beat Afterbirth before Afterbirth+ came out? I gave up at 274 of 276 achievements, only needing to collect Mega Blast and beat the ‘SPEED!’ challenge. But SPEED! can flipping well do one. After grinding Keeper unlocks (ending with Blank Card/Restock/Chaos shenanigans so silly they crashed the game with a single shot) I had no patience for another tedious challenge.

7 Comments

  1. Flappybat says:

    No-one is pleased. It’s not helped by the new content not feeling very original compared to all the fresh things the fan mod Antibirth came up with two weeks ago.

    The “new” floor and “new” boss are reused content.
    A lot of the new room layouts are unfair with damage that is nearly impossible to avoid unless you are overpowered.
    The new bosses are overtuned, one of them in particular turns up too early with untelegraphed high danger attacks.
    Spawn portals are a big problem for low damage characters and don’t fit well with the rest of the game.
    The harder version of greed makes it harder in a way that misses the point and makes it less enjoyable.
    More screw-you situations such as empty secret rooms and item rooms.

    In total it feels more like they threw half of it together without consideration for good design or gameplay. There’s a lot more potential for runs to be ended by DPS checks, a lot of unfair rooms and some bad ideas.

    • noodlecake says:

      Ah well. They’ve been consistently great for years. It’s only natural that they occasionally miss the mark. At least there’s mod support now.

    • Laini says:

      The portals mixed with those stone guys and low damage makes a room nigh impossible. You can’t get a shot on the portal either because of the enemies it’s constantly spewing out, or because the stone guy is blocking your shot. And if you do hit, well done, you’ve done 5% of it’s HP >_<

      It really does just feel like a screw you and nothing else.

      I've only done a couple of runs so far but I'm disappointed.
      I guess it's RNG, you can have good runs and bad runs and maybe I just got unlucky with the drops, I dunno.

      Also, was anyone really asking for more Greed mode? It was an interesting idea that didn’t really work. Making a harder version of it doesn’t solve that.

      Still, mod support, that could be fun.

    • blur says:

      Call me no-one then.

      The fact is, at the end of the day, that this gives more isaac for the price of a fancy-ass coffee, with the promise of MUCH more isaac down the road. Sure, it needs a touch of rebalancing, but so did vanilla Afterbirth when it came out.

      They did throw some of it together, but the fact is that most of the expansion was also made with the mod tools that also got released. Even shlubs like me are going to be able to tinker with the game. That’s effin’ exciting stuff!

  2. Suits says:

    Seems pretty poorly received on Steam

  3. likefunbutnot says:

    I suck at Isaac myself but I like to watch streamers play. I’m really enjoying this incredible Isaac renaissance, especially the sheer number of new items and mechanics and the difficulty in distinguishing AB- from AB+ for people who are actively playing both. That by itself seems to have improved the quality of play, but it’s also very interesting how polished AB- mechanics are compared to the very straightforward modifications in AB+. I think the AB- team is the one put more thought into their product and I can only hope that their mechanics are adopted fully by Isaac officially.