I love The Binding of Isaac on Switch despite my harsh losing streak

Live, Die, Repeat

Never did I think I would wholeheartedly enjoy a seemingly baseless game that solely relies on the player’s consistent deaths in order to achieve true progress. I prefer my games with hefty amount of soul-crushing narrative that take our heroes through hell and back (sometimes literally) in order to explore the inner-workings of the human psyche while deconstructing the reality that we have come to build. However, this is an entirely different feeling with the well-known and widely popular The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth +, which recently received a new booster pack that included a brand new character.

Though Isaac does contain a story of sorts, and admittedly a deeply ominous one at that, it’s definitely not enough to say that’s why players have gone absolutely insane for this experience. This rougelike game puts players in the most uncomfortable position at the start of each new run by stripping away whatever power-ups and buffs Isaac may have acquired in earlier runs. Much like several other similar games, each run presents new opportunities to discover unknown secrets while polishing the finely tuned aspects of the many synergies that come with the literal hundreds of items at Isaac’s disposal.

Unfortunately for me, an Isaac player that’s simply watched runs rather than played through the game myself, death is pretty much the only way to learn the many ins-and-outs of Isaac. Watching the popular YouTuber and one of the best Isaac players on the globe, Northernlion, anyone would feel inferior when comparing themselves to his mastery of the game. Though, if my -35 losing streak is any indicator, I feel completely and utterly abysmal at the game, and I probably shouldn’t continue ruining whatever hopes I have at a competitive streak. Despite this, I truly feel bringing Isaac to the Nintendo Switch is why I continue to follow this path of failure (and possibly self-torture).

Admittedly the controls are initially a bit hard to grow accustomed to, but once I learned the controls layout, I was zipping through rooms like a pro, or so I always thought. I won’t lie, I do feel as though I am a decent Isaac player, but when it comes to the many in-depth strategies that actually come with finishing the run, I fall short almost every time. Whether it’s giving up way too many hearts in a Devil Deal or simply rushing blindly into a room packed with exploding flies, I seem to never learn my lesson from previous runs. Though, every once-in-a-while I will make an instinctive that keeps me alive for a few extra minutes, which demonstrates some sort of subconscious learning. I am fairly confident in saying that this experience of slowly hammering in the minor twitches that allow me these tiny moments of victory were only possibly because of the developer’s decision to bring Isaac to the Switch.

Unlike the RPGs and story-heavy games that I simply have very little time for, Isaac is more like an accessible puzzle adventure that’s easy to pick up and play whenever I feel like. With a push of a button I can re-enter the run that I needed to step away from to clear my head and rest my fingers. I can crawl through dungeons while also binging Parks and Rec for the fourth time or even while taking the bus to class. The accessibility and learned ease of Isaac makes it such a gratifying experience that feels so much more approachable experience than other great titles such as Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Nothing quite beats that feeling of discovering the ability of a newly unlocked item that can either save or ruin a run all while not being able to scream in frustration in fear of being the daunting glares. There’s also little else comparable to slaving never-before-seen bosses or mastering a brand new character all while sitting in the back of a deadly quiet lecture hall. Soon, Isaac became a norm in my daily life, constantly begging me to pick it up and dive into “one more run” before finishing that English paper, which I happily complied.

With its multiple expansions and booster packs, Isaac has definitely found a new, arguably better, home on the Nintendo Switch. Bring it over not only opens up this vast game to new players, such as myself, but it also provides the developers to try new, Switch-exclusive items or bosses to appeal to its newly tapped audience. New marketing tactics and new tutorials could also be developed to further expand the reach that Isaac could have over Switch owners that may be too intimidated to give the game a try, but I’m sure these concepts will come as needed. For now, I’ll continue to work on bettering my streak.

This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Carlton 1 year, 3 months ago.

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