9 Best Games Like The Binding of Isaac
Between its tight gameplay and unique story, The Binding of Isaac is a one-of-a-kind title. It has a lot to offer players. Few other roguelikes have managed to nail every aspect like Isaac did. However, there are some games like The Binding of Isaac that manage something close to or just as special.
Isaac is a roguelike dungeon crawler. While its gameplay is pretty unique, there are some Binding of Isaac alternatives that have similar features. If you’re looking for games with high replay value, these are all great selections for your next title.
Replay value and tightly constructed gameplay are a big part of Isaac’s appeal. However, there’s a deep story to the game that explores complex and adult themes. Some of these games take a similar approach, using repetitive gameplay to build a compelling story.
Not all of the games we’re highlighting here are a 1-to-1 match with Isaac. Some of them are similar in genre, whereas others have more of a similar feel. Each of these hits one of the notes though, even if they might be pretty different.
These are some of the top games like The Binding of Isaac. All of them have something in common, but taking a different direction for a fresh experience.
9. Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire is one of the picks on this list which takes a genre that is normally pretty straightforward. Then it applies roguelike mechanics to it and turns it into something entirely different.
This is a deck-building and card game. It’s a game that gets really creative with the standard roguelike mechanics.
Players are trying to ascend up a spire. It features different floors each made random in every run by procedural generation. Progression comes from building a deck of cards and using it to defeat enemies.
Combat is a turn-based card game. You play through your cards trying to damage your opponent and generally out-play them with strategy.
The game features a lot of cards which can add a high level of strategy here. You’ll need to master the card game mechanics and the deeper strategy to put together a deck that can help you progress.
The game features loot to find and enemies to fight on each level. That’s along with larger bosses throughout. As a roguelike, this is a highly replayable game. It’ll probably take a few runs to even really get a feel for the strategy in some of the levels.
Slay the Spire is one of the best games like The Binding of Isaac for how creative it gets with roguelike mechanics. It led to a lot of other games applying that format to the deck builder. However, Splay the Spire is still one of the most popular and polished in this genre.
8. Spelunky 2
The Spelunky games aren’t pure roguelikes but it utilizes elements of one that make it one of the most fun and creative titles on this list. Spelunky has high replayability and a lot of charm.
In Spelunky 2, you are exploring dangerous caves, and as the name would suggest spelunking. The caves are procedurally generated, each playthrough gives a new layout and route for players to get to grips with.
You have to navigate platforming, enemies, and hazards to collect treasure and progress through the caves. Spelunky 2 improves on the first game and adds new mechanics like realistic liquid flowing in the levels.
The sequel sees you play as the daughter of the prior game’s protagonist. You’re exploring the moon to try and find your parents who are missing.
It’s a nice link, but don’t worry if you’ve not played the original. Spelunky 2 works great even if it’s your first time in the series. It is probably more difficult. However, if you’re looking for Binding of Isaac alternatives then the difficulty isn’t exactly a negative.
As well as those changes in Spelunky 2, this sequel has online multiplayer with co-op and competitive modes. It might not have that same dark subject matter, but this is one of the best games like The Binding of Isaac in terms of gameplay and fun.
7. Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy is definitely worth a mention on this list of games like The Binding of Isaac. The title might be a different genre entirely, but it has some important links to Isaac.
Super Meat Boy was the prior game from the developer of The Binding of Isaac. it was the commercial success of Meat Boy that allowed Edmund McMillen to go with the riskier idea of a complex mature game like Isaac.
Meat Boy might have a lot of differences, but it has some similar sensibilities to Isaac. The art and general themes of the game are similar. You can tell it was made by some of the same people. There’s gore and a general dark coating to proceedings that are unique to these two.
Super Meat Boy’s gameplay is pretty different from The Binding of Isaac though. It is a platformer that’s played conventionally, no hard resets are needed after you die. In fact, you’re going to die a lot in these fast-paced levels.
Most of the levels in Meat Boy are small single-screen challenges. The controls are simple, but the title pushes difficulty as far as it can go. You might not have to struggle through the whole game each time, but Super Meat Boy is one of the games similar to Isaac in difficulty.
This is a great pick if you’re looking for a Binding of Isaac alternative but not a complete match in terms of genre! The game is still one of the best platformers on Steam and other platforms.
Hades is a roguelike which released to incredible acclaim, even winning Game of the Year at the Game Awards. While there are some big differences with Binding of Isaac, there’s a lot that makes it a good alternative.
For a start, both games are roguelikes with permanent death and a focus on replaying the game. Where Binding of Isaac uses the titular character’s basement as dungeons, Hades sees its protagonist attempting to climb out of the Underworld.
The player character, Zagreus, is the son of Hades. He’s trying to climb out of the Underworld and has to deal with various gods along the way.
The game sees the player progress through procedurally generated rooms and dungeons. You’ll receive rewards that allow you to develop different weapons in each run, similar to The Binding of Isaac.
The game does feature some progression. When you die, some treasure carries other and you can use it to unlock abilities and new weapons for future runs. The combat is hack and slash rather than twin-stick shooter, but other than that it has a lot in common with the Binding of Isaac.
Isaac’s visual style, voice acting, and story are often cited as the title’s most impressive factors. The story is a unique one and it does help to keep the game entertaining as you go through the same levels.
Hades has some randomness and you can take different routes through the game. The rooms aren’t as unique from run to run as you’ll see with some games like The Binding of Isaac. However, it definitely mixes things up enough to stay fun.
Hades also deals with characters drawing from heavy subject matter with gods and mythology. The characters come alive in Hades and it’s hard not to get emotionally involved with the story. There’s a lot to like here, especially if you’re a fan of roguelikes.
5. Never Split the Party
Never Split the Party is a dungeon-crawling roguelike with a bit of a difference. While most roguelikes are solitary affairs where you grind to get good, this is a multiplayer experience.
This is a social-focused roguelike that has users playing in groups of four. Your party moves through a procedurally generated dungeon that’s different every time.
The aim is to perform well enough to get enough upgrades and manage to defeat the whole dungeon. There are five separate difficulty floors in total. That’s along with more than 425 unique configurations for rooms.
Each charter occupies one of four specialist roles. Each of the roles divides up what you need to progress. One tracks the map, one has the inventory, one tracks health, and the last tracks upgrades.
If your party gets split up, you’re literally without the core information you need to solve the dungeon! This makes even staying together and communicating a challenge.
Alongside that divide, there are different character classes too. These help you specialize your type of gameplay and combat.
Never Split the Party is one of the games like The Binding of Isaac that takes one novelty and goes all the way with it. It’s basically Isaac but with multiplayer. It won’t fit every mood, but it can be a lot of fun with decent players on your team.
4. Nuclear Throne
Nuclear Throne is another roguelike with a heavy resemblance to Isaac in gameplay. It combines tough roguelike elements along with bullet hell mechanics.
Just like Isaac, the game resets every time that you die. You only carry over limited upgrades, everything else is lost. The game does a have system of leveling and experience which lets the players choose four mutations that give an extra ability, along with an ultra-mutation.
Even the weapon you start with needs to be upgraded as you go. You can make a wide variety of builds with all of these options.
Nuclear Throne has plenty to offer outside of its raw gameplay though. The game has some lore details hidden around that have become a focal point for players.
The characters are mutants in a post-apocalyptic world. The main plot beyond that seems more of a mystery. Players and fans have speculated about the title’s world and made theories about just what is going on.
These range from theories based on explaining more of the world to some who believe each run is set in a different universe. There’s a lot of depth to this game if you want to dig deep with its community.
Plot aside, the gameplay cycle in Nuclear Throne is tight and polished. Looting and trying to progress through the game doesn’t get old. It’s one of the best games like The Binding of Isaac for that same depth and replayability.
3. FTL: Faster than Light
FTL is one of the most unique Binding of Isaac alternatives. This is another roguelike title, but one that’s also a real-time strategy with management elements. It’s a different type of game in this genre compared to the masses of ‘escape the dungeon’.
FTL gives players control of a spacecraft. You guide the crew, and try to get the ship across a procedurally generated space. There are eight sectors to get through. Each is a unique type of space with planets, events, and other threats. This is all randomized too with procedural generation.
Players are trying to navigate their journey while being chased by an enemy fleet. They have allies, but they’re cut off and must try to get key information back to them.
In terms of plot, you’re playing as a ship in a federation. There are some clear similarities to Star Trek. Although, that’s just the sci-fi set-up for the game.
On top of the pursuers, there are other hostile groups in the space that you’re journeying through. That’s along with more friendly groups and dynamic events. You can even recruit new crew members from some of these planets.
FTL has combat that takes place in real-time. It is done in a real-time strategy system with a lot of depth. You might need some practice before you get skilled enough at combat.
Once you lose the game, your ship and crew are gone forever. You have to jump back in from the beginning again. That adds difficulty in getting through it along with navigating the new layout that comes with procedural generation.
The gameplay in FTL is one of the most interesting in a roguelike. It goes past what you’d normally expect from the genre and applies the concepts to a completely different style of game and story. It’s something unique in this list of the games like The Binding of Isaac.
2. Dead Cells
Dead Cells sits with Isaac as one of the games that helped take the genre to mainstream dominance in recent years. The two titles have a lot in common, and it’s one of the most polished games like The Binding of Isaac.
The title is a Metroidvania-style game as a roguelike. You play as the Prisoner, a creature that is trying to fight its way off of a diseased land. You’ll start in the prisons and try to make your way past the monstrous king himself.
There are a lot of different weapons, upgrades, and abilities that you can collect over the course of your run. You’ll need to gather a scare currency called cells from defeated opponents to unlock more of them.
The levels in the game are procedurally generated. Each has some familiar elements every time, but with other sections being random each game.
Dead Cells has a branching component to each run. There is more than one exit in each one. This allows you to take a different route through the game when you want to.
The combat is based around your choice of weapon, with dodges and parries thrown in for even more complexity. You can play in a lot of different ways in Dead Cells. Players can really make their run unique between the two weapons, or shields, and abilities.
The combat system rewards learning the intricacies of how enemies move. It is pretty rewarding once you can manage to master the toughest enemies.
Dead Cells is one of the most highly polished games like The Binding of Isaac. It doesn’t have the same dungeon-crawling aspects. Although, it is one of the best Metroidvanias on Steam and one of the best roguelikes on Steam too.
While Dead Cells is different in a few ways, it does have a lot to offer for fans of Isaac.
1. Enter the Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon is a game that has a lot in common with Isaac. The game is a roguelike title with bullet hell gameplay, it can be a serious challenge to players even if they’re great at games like The Binding of Isaac.
Enter the Gungeon is a top-down dungeon crawling game that uses some roguelike elements. Players can choose between multiple protagonists who each have unique abilities.
The goal is to journey down the Gungeon. This is a labyrinth with multiple floors, each has a different layout with procedurally generated elements.
The game involves players budgeting some abilities like Blanks along with making use of the guns in the game. There are more than 300 guns and items in total, giving you a great choice in what build you want to go with.
A lot of people play this game for the bullet hell gameplay and its high replayability. However, the style and plot are worth playing for too. Even the procedurally generated aspects have a reason in the game’s plot.
Players are progressing through the Gungeon, which is a shape-shifting dungeon with living bullets inside. The plot isn’t essential for enjoyment, but this is a fun add-on for a game like this.
This is a title that stands out. It’s one of the best bullet hell games on Steam and most other platforms. It’s also one of the most acclaimed roguelikes out there.
Enter the Gungeon is one of the closest games like the Binding of Isaac in a lot of ways. It’s a title that was heavily influenced by Isaac, and you can tell playing through it. This is bound to appeal to most fans, and it’s one of the best roguelikes.