My 10 Tips to Stop Being a Loser the Binding of Isaac Rebirth

The Binding of Isaac Rebirth is a ruthless game. Finishing the game is one thing, getting to the true last boss is another, getting to the two different true last bosses is another and getting to the two different true true last bosses is yet another.

Making a successful run is not an easy thing and from the top of my few dozen hours of play on Rebirth (and my 300 others on the old version), I’ll give you some tips to survive in the “basement”.

1 ♦ Eat all the pills!

You have to eat the pills. Because even if you don’t know what they can do to you, it’s better to know and take advantage of bonuses that can make your run a success than to remain in ignorance.

Pills

It’s all the more worthwhile because these negative pills will only con you once. You’re not stupid enough to eat a pill labeled “Tears Down”, are you? The bonuses you can get with good pills can really make a difference. Special mentions to “Health up” which adds a heart, “Tears up” which increases your rate of fire, “Pretty fly” which gives you a bullet proof fly and “Full Health” which can really save your life against some bosses.

2 ♦ Always try to keep at least one bomb and a key!

Think carefully before using your keys. Especially in the first 3 strata (Basement, Cellars and Catacombs) where there is systematically an object to be recovered in the treasure room. Room that requires a key to open.

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As for bombs, you never know what indispensable object is behind a rock or a precipice. It would be silly to die when there are hearts behind that ravine, wouldn’t it? So, before you waste your last bomb on a wall that has a one in five chance of finding the secret room. Turn your tongue 7 times in your mouth and think about the urgency of having a bomb at the next level.

3 ♦ Optimize the use of bombs!

Using a bomb to do something useful is good. Using a bomb to do two useful things is better! So if you want to break this rock to get this room, try to see if you can’t try a secret room at the same time! Optimization is the key word in The Binding of Isaac Rebirth.

Besides, before using your own bombs, try to use some enemies to your advantage. For example, they:

These are real bomb dispensers. If you come across a room with these monsters, spare a moment to direct its fire at the suspicious walls or rocks to be destroyed before you eliminate it.

4 ♦ Look for secret rooms and super-secret rooms!

The rule is very simple. The secret room is always adjacent to 2 or more rooms. The super-secret room must be adjacent to only one room. There is only one secret room and only one super secret room per floor, but this rule is true down to the deepest levels, even after The Womb (4th stratum) where the object rooms and stores disappear.

Secret rooms can, in the worst cases, contain Greed, and in the best cases, contain a powerful object (“transcendence” or “raw liver” for example). Most of the time, you’ll have a few bombs or coins, which is always a good idea…

Super secret rooms are much more variable than secret rooms. We can find hearts, eternal hearts (the white half-hearts that turn into a container), pills, red chests, etc.

5 ♦ Have at least 7 pieces before entering a store!

There is little point in going into a shop if you don’t have at least 7 coins in your pocket, especially if you’ve used a key to do so. Indeed, 7 pieces is the price of an object put on sale and sold off. However, unless you have the “Steam Sale” item, sales are not guaranteed and you may not be able to afford an item that will cost 15 pieces.

If you are really rich (at least 20 coins) and you only have one key to open the item room and the shop, you can try to go to the shop to buy the 15 coin item and then an extra key before heading to the item room. After that, you’ll always run the risk of running into Greed, so think hard.

6 ♦ Find ways to increase your stats

The attack and the frequency of tears are certainly your two most important statistics. Because once you reach a certain level, all the defensive items and all the hearts in the world won’t be able to stop you from taking damage if you can’t kill your opponents quickly. The frequency of tears can be improved with pills if you find the right ones, but the power will only improve with objects, often dropped by bosses or offered by Satan against a few containers of hearts.

Speed is not a feature that needs to be increased tremendously. However, if it falls too low, it can really ruin a run (some damage will be inevitable…). As for hearts, the Rebirth version offers even more ways to increase the number of hearts. Most often, they are dropped by the bosses, but also by Glutonny, by the blood donation machines (hopefully) or by the eternal hearts, which should only be taken once the level is finished and you are about to go down to the next floor. Some pills also increase the number of hearts.

7 ♦ Often the devil still has good things

According to the hearts you possess, consider pacts with the devil. He appears at times in the boss’s room once the boss has been defeated. Most of the time, he then offers you to exchange containers of hearts for items.

Don’t be stingy. If you have a lot of hearts of faith/black hearts and some means of defense (flies or objects like “holy shield”), going down to one heart is not necessarily dramatic. Especially if you’re short on firepower, by the way. The objects proposed by Satan are often turned towards the offensive (“birmstone” or “pentagram” for example).

8 ♦ Learn how to manage diagonals

Diagonal collisions are strangely handled in The Binding of Isaac. This may give you some unexpected opportunities.

The first is that you can shoot at objects that are enclosed between four obstacles. It can be useful for some golden turds, inaccessible, but whose contents (too big) will end up “overflowing” the box. This will allow you to get some coins back anyway.

It is possible to extinguish the flame and prevent your opponents from becoming inflamed and much more powerful.

The second is Isaac’s own hitbox. You will often find yourself in rooms with this type of layout:

By positioning oneself well and moving in one go with a perfect diagonal, it is possible to walk on the peaks without losing life. Handy for retrieving certain objects while counting your hearts.

9 ♦ Use all that can be used before moving on to the next level

Remember to use everything in one level before descending to the next. Typically, check for pills, batteries, cards or hearts. If you have access to a blood-donation machine, consider converting all those hearts lying around the level into money. With a bit of luck, you’ll even unlock the blood bag which will increase your maximum health points.

The same goes for some consumables that can make bombs like “The Tower” or “Explosive Diarrhea” appear. If you can’t take them with you, try using them to blow up some one-armed bandits or try to find the secret room if you haven’t already. It is these small resource optimizations that can make the difference between a successful run and a failed run.

10 ♦ Use Wiki

The Binding of Isaac Rebirthis skill, but it’s all about good decisions. Shall I try this dare room? Should I use my bomb here, or here? Should I take this object or this one? Salvation is in knowledge and judgment.

Nothing is certain in this game and you will never be able to control anything. But the more you put the odds on your side, the more the game will smile on you. So, spend some time in wikis, learn by heart the usefulness of objects, know how to recognize an opportunity for a dry loss of resource and don’t hesitate to take risks if the game is worth the risk.

> The indispensable Cheat sheet

> The reference wikia, being completed on Rebirth

And don’t forget that sometimes you won’t have luck on your side and that the lack of skill or strategy will have nothing to do with your game over. Don’t despair and start again quietly, without pressure.

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