Why You Should Back The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls Multiplayer Card Game

Binding of Isaac four souls multiplayer card game logo

Have I ever mentioned I’m a fan of The Binding of Isaac video game series? I’ve put in over 2,000 hours across 4 different platforms and the replay value still keeps me coming back regularly. Edmund McMillen has been teasing a new game on twitter for some time now. On Wednesday, we finally got the big reveal in the form of a Kickstarter for a brand new, Binding of Isaac themed multiplayer card game!

By the time I got the press release in my inbox, the game was funded 3x over. It has far surpassed that now, which should tell you a lot about the enthusiasm surrounding this series. The community is busting through stretch goals at breakneck speed!

 

I backed the game immediately at the Trap Door level for the playmat and expansion cards. What makes this so exciting for me is the opportunity to share the quirky aspects of a game I love with my friends. When I have friends over or go to one of my Nintendo Meet-Ups, I can bring up to 4 people into the dark world of Isaac with characters, themes and items I adore.

I also love the duality of the gameplay. We’ll work together to bring down bosses and find loot, but I’ll have to make decisions whether to stick to my alliances or betray my friends (I’m a backstabbing queen. Trust me at your own risk).

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I’ve always loved the simple, grotesque aesthetic Isaac employs so I’m eager to explore the more than 300 cards representing items, characters, monster and loot. No video game is more creative with power ups (or downs!) than this one. Let’s see how these items are used in new ways! The tarot theme has also appealed to me and is inspiring me to create a game of my own (someday).

The resurrection of card and tabletop games over the last few years (as well as physical game copies and collectible bonus items) has caught me in its grip. Just like my newfound interest in DnD, I think there are a lot of reasons card/tabletop games are so popular.

Binding of Isaac Four Souls Multiplayer Card Game Layout

Protype of what the game layout will look like.

I co-manage a Nintendo Meet-Up group and we’re often frustrated with the lack of local multiplayer video games. Online play is fantastic, of course, but sometimes you want to play with people IN THE SAME ROOM. Also, screen fatigue is real.

Adding card games to the meet up- and reviving them in entertainment culture overall- creates a connection we’ve been missing in the digital age. Also I get to look at people in the face! Imagine that.

If you have a dark sense of humor, appreciate loose biblical and demonic lore, want to fuck over your friends or have ever been a goth/emo, you’ll probably enjoy this card game. Like the Binding of Isaac Tarot decks, this game is bound to sell out of McMillen’s online shop (if it even stocks there). You have until July 27th to back the game and effectively reserve your copy along with the rewards. Or you can always come over and challenge me, if you’re sure you want to die.

What video games would you want to see as card/tabletop games?

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Binding of Isaac Tarot Interview

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I’ve always viewed this deck more as a novelty – a collectible from one of my favorite video games ever, The Binding of Isaac. I’ve never used it before. This is a completely virgin deck! Until now. The cards depart from the traditional suit structure, instead calling on items from the game to represent suits. So I took some creative liberties to identify the parallels.

Keys = Wands
Bombs = Swords
Pennies = Pentacles
Hearts = Cups

Check out my other deck interviews.

Tell me about yourself
The High Priestess
I am the mediator between light and dark, the guardian of the unconscious and the link between reality and the inaccessible reaches of the mind. My understanding of the Universe runs deeper than The Basement.

What are your strengths?
Five of Pennies
Nothing distracts me from spiritual development. Coins may help you achieve success in the game, but in the end, it always comes down to heart. Let’s focus on keeping your heart full over your pockets.

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What are your limitations?
Ace of Pennies
Don’t talk to me about the material world. I’m not interested in wealth or career issues. I want to help you manifest your inner potential and achieve your spiritual goals.

What are you here to teach me?
Ten of Bombs
How to survive taking the hits. Life can be a bullet hell run. The people you love and trust might back-stab you. There will surely be loss after loss after loss. Keep restarting.

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How can we best collaborate?
Ace of Keys
Let’s just go for it. No instruction manuals. We’ll figure it out along the way, breaking through walls and unlocking mysteries.

What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
Three of Keys
We’ll open doors to self-exploration and gain control of all around you. Your horizons will expand in all directions as we journey onward together.

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Amazingly, in this interview there were a lot of subtle nods to the game in the personality of the deck! I was expecting darkness based on the nature of the game, but the energy is pretty playful. The game connects the earthly with the dark and the light, so I feel like this deck has a good grasp on bridging those realms to open my perception and intuition.

Want to know whats in your cards? I’ll read them for you starting at just $5!

How Nintendo Switch is Driving me Back to Physical Games

I’m a Taurus. As a lover of physical things, I like to surround myself with the material items that speak most to me and bring joy into my space- candles, jewelry, art, plants.

As a New Yorker, that space is already filled the moment I step into it. The items I keep need to be deeply meaningful and beautiful as well as fairly functional. Moving to digital downloads has helped me reduce clutter AND keep a larger library (read: daunting backlog).

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Hiding my games within a clear carrier from the old Club Nintendo days

And while I do still have a nice little collection of physical DS games for which I’ve found accessible-yet-invisible storage solutions, I actively seek out digital downloads to preserve my sacred space.

Nintendo Switch– and particularly indie game publishers- are changing that.

Artful packaging draws me in a variety of ways. The clear plastic shell for Switch games is much less visible and intrusive than the white 3DS and blue WiiU shells were. It’s a major upgrade toward keeping my space looking like it belongs to someone who is at least trying to look like a grown up.

There’s been a lot of debate about the size of the box relative to the size of the game, but in a loud retail environment, you need a canvas for enticing visuals. Nicalis has even released two editions for The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ each with covetable  covers.

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via Nicalis

It seems instruction manuals started to phase out slowly.  Around the time Club Nintendo shuttered, I don’t remember seeing them anymore at all. I always loved thumbing through the manuals, reading character backstories, admiring the artwork and learning a handful of secrets. The “notes” pages in the back were filled with my hand-scrawled discoveries, codes and strategies like a little game diary.

The Nintendo games I’ve purchased so far for Switch continue the trend of missing manuals, but indie publishers like Nicalis have begun to revive them. Cave Story+ was just announced for a June 20th Nintendo Switch release- with an instruction booklet highlighted.

The Binding of Isaac included a gorgeous instruction manual which conjured nostalgia feels for the original Legend of Zelda on NES with its shiny gold cover.

And that’s not all! Indie physical releases are becoming known for including extras and trinkets. If you pre-ordered Isaac from Amazon (or were lucky enough to get an early edition from another retailer), you got two sheets of stickers AND a reversible game cover!

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Goodies in my copy of The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+

When and IF Axiom Verge comes to the Switch- the chances of which Tom Happ told me were “decent” back in January, though a Switch release has not yet been confirmed– I’d suspect it will follow a similar format to its other physical releases and include some extras like the STELLAR soundtrack.

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It’s exciting again to pick up a physical copy of a game. And I no longer feel like game cases on my shelf look childish or take away from my aesthetic. Hopefully the future of Switch releases holds many more surprises and shelf candy!

Games IRL

Not-so-secret about me: I put more hours into The Binding of Isaac than just about any other game over the last couple years. Now I’ve gotten my boyfriend solidly addicted. And Mr. McMillen can count on my preorder for The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+on Nintendo Switch because a) it comes out at launch, b) I prefer consoles to PC so I’ve been waiting on this update and c) I have an addiction that I justify under the guise of supporting this great game on every platform.

So as I was rushing to a whiskey tasting over the weekend, it should be no surprise that running into Mom’s Heart in the East Village stopped me in my tracks, made me curl into the fetal position and cry in the street.

Follow me on Instagram for more #GamesIRL and tag your own real life game finds!

Preorder your copy of Afterbirth+ and slay Mom’s Heart on Switch!