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Overview

Isaac fighting Monstro in the Basement.
Isaac fighting Monstro in the Basement.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a 2D comedic-horror action-adventure game developed and published digitally by Nicalis for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC, Mac, and Linux on November 4, 2014.

A remake of Edmund McMillen’s 2011 rogue-lite game The Binding of Isaac, Rebirth is rebuilt from the ground-up on a new game engine that removes the limitations of the original Flash engine. Along with new pixel art graphics reminiscent of Super Nintendo and Game Boy Advance games, it features a completely new soundtrack by newcomer group Ridiculon. All of the original content, including its Wrath of the Lamb expansion, are included in addition to a variety of new content – including new characters, items, enemies, bosses, and challenges – and new gameplay mechanics, including full controller support, difficulty settings, local two-player asymmetrical co-op, the ability to save a play session, and variations to room sizes. Many items from the original have been tweaked to rebalance the gameplay and add special interactions with other items.

Along with three full-fledged expansions (titled The Binding of Issac: Afterbirth, The Binding of Issac: Afterbirth+, and The Binding of Issac: Repentance), the game was later released digitally for the Xbox One, Wii U, and New Nintendo 3DS on July 23, 2015, iOS devices on January 11, 2017, and the Nintendo Switch (as The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+) on March 17, 2017. The Switch version also received a retail release. A PlayStation 5 version is in development.

Players who purchased the game on Steam before December 10, 2014 received a timed-exclusive cosmetic item in Team Fortress 2: a pair of horns for each class, named “Brimstone”, resembling the horns gained with the Brimstone item.

Expansions

On October 30, 2015, the PC-based versions of the game received a major expansion pack, titled The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth. Along with new content, it also introduces a Daily Challenge mode, in which players may participate in ranked “seeded runs” in similar fashion to Spelunky and Nuclear Throne, a new high risk/reward wave-based game mode called Greed Mode, a new set of alternate chapters, alternate room layouts, including cramped rooms and long hallways, and an optional advanced display that shows the player’s item set. It was later released for the PS4 and XB1 versions on May 10, 2016 and is included in the Switch version.

On January 3, 2017, the PC-based versions of the game received a second expansion, titled The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+. Along with new content, it also introduces enhanced modding support, the game’s true “final chapter”, a more difficult version of Greed Mode, a monster bestiary, an updated advanced display, and a new “Victory Lap” mechanic, which allows players to restart their run with most of their current character’s items under certain conditions. It was later released without mod support for the PS4 version on September 26, 2017 and is included – sacrificing mod support with four-player asymmetrial co-op – in the Switch version. Prior to April 30, 2018, the PC-based versions received recurring content updates, titled “Booster Packs”, featuring a curated selection of user-made mods.

On March 31, 2021, the PC-based versions of the game received a third expansion, titled The Binding of Isaac: Repentance. This expansion adds the fan-made modification The Binding of Issac: Antibirth in-full, as well as a reworked co-operative mode with four-player symmetrical play, a full alternate path (with new chapters and ending), and a plethora of new content.

Characters

Isaac

The game’s eponymous character available from the beginning.

Begins with three hearts and one bomb. Once The D6, an active item that “re-rolls” all items in a single room, is unlocked, Isaac will always start with it.

Magdalene

Also known as Maggy or Maggie; Magdalane is unlocked after amassing at least seven heart containers at once.

Begins with one additional heart container – at the cost of low movement speed – and the Yum Heart, an active item which replenishes one red heart on each use.

Cain

Unlocked after carrying 55 Pennies at once.

He begins with very high movement speed with one less heart container, slightly more damage at the cost of less range, one Key, and the Lucky Foot, a passive item which increases the Luck stat and further increases chances of winning certain forms of gambling. Cain’s eye patch also affects certain items, as he can only fire tears from his right eye.

Donating to the Greed Machine in the Afterbirth expansion can unlock the Paper Clip trinket as a starting item for Eve, granting him the ability to open locked chests without using keys.

Judas

Unlocked after defeating one of the Chapter 5 bosses.

Begins with more damage, only one heart container, three Pennies, and the Book of Belial, an active item that further increases damage in the current room only, while giving a very high chance of a Devil Room or Angel Room appearing if held while defeating a boss.

If any character dies after picking up the unlockable Judas’ Shadow item, they become Black Judas, who starts with no heart containers, two black hearts, much more damage, and slightly faster speed. Judas’ items and completion marks can be unlocked as Black Judas.

Eve

Unlocked after clearing two consecutive floors without picking up any heart pickups.

Eve starts with high movement speed at the cost of less damage and one less heart container, the Dead Bird, passive item in which taking damage activates the bird, who will chase enemies around the current room and damage them, and the Whore of Babylon, a passive item which increases damage and speed whenever the character’s health is one half red heart, or one full heart for Eve.

Donating to the Greed Machine in the Afterbirth expansion can unlock the Razor Blade active item as a starting item for Eve, granting her the ability to damage herself, for a temporary damage buff and for triggering her other starting items.

Samson

Unlocked after clearing two consecutive floors without taking any damage.

Samson starts with high shot speed – at the cost of less range and less firing rate – and the Bloody Lust, a passive item that increases the player character’s damage for the current room every time they are hit.

???

Also known as Blue Baby; ??? is a secret character unlocked by clearing Chapter 4 ten times.

He starts with no heart containers, three soul hearts, and The Poop, an active item that generates poop. ??? cannot gain any red heart containers, and items that normally grant them instead give it soul hearts.

Any character who dies with the Ankh item gets resurrected as ???.

Azazel

Added in Rebirth. Unlocked after accepting three Devil Room deals in a single run.

Starts with three black hearts, no heart containers, the ability to fly, the 0 – The Fool tarot, and a short-ranged version of Brimstone, a passive item that replaces tears with a powerful piercing beam that must be charged.

Lazarus

Added in Rebirth. Unlocked after carrying four or more soul/black hearts at once.

Starts with less luck, less range, and a random pill. Once he dies – or any character with the Lazarus’ Rags item – he revives on the spot as a special version of Lazarus, who gains a boost in damage and speed – while negating the penalty to luck and range – and Anemic, a passive item that leaves a toxic trail of blood behind him.

Lazarus’ items and completion marks can be unlocked as his revived form.

Eden

Added in Rebirth. Unlike other characters, he can only spawn when using up an Eden Token, which is gained every time Chapter 4 is completed.

Eden’s starts off with randomly generated stats, a random hairstyle, random starting pickups, and two randomly selected items.

The Lost

A very secret character added in Rebirth. Unlocked by dying in four consecutive specific deaths, with clues from specific use of the Missing Poster item.

The Lost starts with one penny, the ability to fly, spectral tears which travel through obstacles, and no health at all. The Lost can not gain health in any way and will die instantly after taking any damage. All Devil Room items are free for The Lost.

Donating to the Greed Machine in the Afterbirth expansion can unlock the Holy Mantle passive item as a starting item for The Lost, granting a shield effect for each room, protecting them from one hit of damage.

Lilith

Added in Afterbirth. Unlocked after completing Greed Mode with Azazel.

Unlike other characters, Lilith starts blindfolded and cannot attack normally. However, she starts with the Incubus, a basic familiar, the Cambion Conception, a passive item that grants up to four permanent evil-themed familiars after taking damage a certain amount of times, and the Box of Friends, an active item that duplicates the amount of familiars for the current room.

Keeper

A very secret character added in Afterbirth. Unlocked after donating 1000 coins to the Greed Machine.

He starts with one bomb and the ability to fire three tears at once, at the cost of slower firing speed. Instead of health containers, Keeper has two “health coins” which can only be replenished by picking up coins. Keeper can not gain health any other way and heart pickups are transformed into blue flies.

Defeating certain bosses as Keeper grants him three additional starting items: one coin, the Wooden Nickel active item, which has a 50/50 chance of dropping a coin, and the Store Key trinket, which allows him to open Shop doors without using keys.

Apollyon

Added in Afterbirth+. Unlocked automatically in PC-based versions and unlocked in console versions by defeating Mega Satan.

Apollyon starts with the Void: a six-charge active item that destroys most pedestal items in the room. Destroying passive items gives Apollyon random stat bonuses, while destroying active items stores that items ability in the Void, which is used automatically every time the Void is used.

The Forgotten

A very secret character added in Afterbirth+. Unlocked by carrying a secret “cursed” active item, the Broken Shovel, throughout the game, upgrading it, and using it in a specific area in the Dark Room.

Unlike other characters, the Forgotten has an alternate form that can be swapped between at any time, known as the Soul. Both forms use different types of hearts – with the Forgotten devoting half of the lifebar for normal hearts and the Soul devoting the other half for both soul hearts and black hearts – have unique properties, and share the same item effects. When either form dies, the other form dies with it.

Its normal form does not fire regular tears. Instead, it uses a bone club for powerful melee attacks, that can be charged to be thrown in a straight line. Instead of normal Heart Containers, the normal form uses “Bone Heart Containers”, which can take an additional hit, but disappear after said hit.

When players swap to the Soul, the regular husk remains on the playfield and cannot take any damage, blocking most shots, and players control a blue ghost, who has access to normal tears and can fly, that is tethered to the husk. Players start with one additional soul heart.

Items

New Additions

Eve shooting scythes after having collected 'Death's Touch'.
Eve shooting scythes after having collected ‘Death’s Touch’.

Rebirth contains many new items that modify how Isaac’s tears function. Some examples of new items are: Tiny Planet, which causes Isaac’s tears to orbit his body; Death’s Touch, which cause Isaac’s tears to turn into scythes; and anti-gravity tears, which cause Isaac’s tears to stay in the air until the player releases the fire button, at which point, the tears will fly off in the direction they were shot from.

As well as this, Rebirth contains many new defensive items, these include: Gnawed Leaf, which allows Isaac to temporarily turn into invulnerable after staying still for a second; Holy Mantle, which allows Isaac to absorb the damage of one hit per room; and Pyromaniac, which allows Isaac to heal when being struck by explosions, rather than being harmed by them.

Dynamic Items and Item Interactions

Quite a few items in the original game allowed for extremely powerful synergies. However, these stacked effects did not always appear or behave how the player might have assumed.

With Rebirth, the item stacking has been reworked to allow for many more dynamic effects. For example, any items giving the player a laser based attack, now dynamically generate the laser.

DLC

Afterbirth

The Afterbirth expansion includes new locations, larger enemy variety, and an updated interface.
The Afterbirth expansion includes new locations, larger enemy variety, and an updated interface.

In February 2015 Edmund McMillen provided details for a planned expansion to The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth titled Afterbirth. The contents of the post outlined features of the expansion, including more than 100 new items, additional bosses, ten new challenges, a new playable character, an alternate final chapter, a new game mode, and much more. Edmund claims the Afterbirth expansion will provide an additional 100 to 200 hours of gameplay.

In subsequent weekly updates; Edmund provided screenshots, animated gifs, and teasers regarding the expansion’s new items and features. He revealed the new character would be called Lilith, a female character featuring a blindfold and demonic horns. Edmund also divulged details of the new game mode, a seeded daily challenge similar to Spelunky. Daily challenges in Afterbirth are timed and incorporate a scoring system based on numerous factors: this includes enemies killed, rooms explored, damage received, time taken, and collectibles obtained.

Afterbirth was released on October 30, 2015.

Afterbirth†

On December 7, 2015, the game’s second DLC was announced – Afterbirth†. This DLC includes extensive mod support; as well a ‘bestiary’, new bosses, new items, and new transformations. Afterbirth† was released on January 3, 2017.

Repentance

No Caption Provided

On December 21, 2016, a fan-made mod titled “The Binding of Isaac: Antibirth” was released by a team of four. The new features would include: 2 characters, 18 trinkets, 80 enemies, 16 bosses, over 4000 rooms, a new ending, a custom soundtrack, as well as features for enhanced local cooperative play support. The mod was met with significant praise, as well as the attention of McMillen, who requested an audience with its creators.

After extensive discussions, The Binding of Isaac’s development team recruited Antibirth’s lead designer, The-Vinh Truong, as well as its artist, Nikola Rakonjac, to assist with developing a new DLC. On August 30, 2018, The Binding of Isaac: Repentance was announced as the third and final DLC for Rebirth. It is set to be released on March 31, 2021.

System Requirements

PC

Minimum

  • OS: XP
  • Processor: Core 2 Duo
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Discreet video card
  • Hard Drive: 449 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Yes

Recommended

  • OS: Windows 8 / 7 / Vista / XP
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz Quad Core 2.0 (or higher)
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 and higher, ATI Radeon HD-Series 4650 and higher, Nvidia GeForce 2xx-Series and up
  • Hard Drive: 449 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Yes

Mac

Minimum

  • OS: 10.8
  • Processor: Core 2 Duo
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Discreet video card
  • Hard Drive: 449 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Yes

Recommended

  • OS: 10.9
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz Dual Core 2.0 (or higher)
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 and higher, ATI Radeon HD-Series 4650 and higher, Nvidia GeForce 2xx-Series and up.
  • Hard Drive: 449 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Yes

Linux

Minimum

  • Processor: Core 2 Duo
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Discreet video card
  • Hard Drive: 449 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Yes

Recommended

  • Processor: 2.4 GHz Dual Core 2.0 (or higher)
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Discreet video card
  • Hard Drive: 449 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Yes

Latest On The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

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All game data on this page is sourced via Giant Bomb.

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