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The Binding of Isaac Is Taking Inspiration From... Pokemon?

Edmund McMillen is hard at work on The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth’s upcoming expansion, Afterbirth, and one of the new items will feel familiar to Nintendo fans. Is that a pokeball?!


Of course, it’s not actually a pokeball. Then again, maybe Nintendo should consider giving McMillen the license, now that The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is coming to the New 3DS.

(For a while, McMillen had publicly chided Nintendo for rejecting the game, due to its overt religious imagery. For whatever reason, the publisher finally decided to let the game through.)


Anyway, back to sorta Pokemon. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was, in a way, a revamp and elaboration on the original game, while Afterbirth is specifically an expansion to Rebirth.

Afterbirth is going to include more than 100 new items, a new character, alternate endings, and lots more. Charms, which allow players to befriend enemies, were a new addition to Rebirth, and McMillen is expanding on the concept for Afterbirth with an item called the Friend Ball.

If you have the Friend Ball equipped, you can toss it at any non-boss enemy, like this:


You’ve now captured that enemy, and can release them in another room! They’ll fight alongside you until they die or you’ve cleared the room. Sounds like that could be pretty useful in situations where you’re dealing with a ton of enemies at once, and could use a little distraction.


The Binding of Isaac gets a bad rap because the art’s gross, but it’s one of the best roguelikes around. A misleadingly simple game, there’s an enormous amount of depth. There’s a reason why I named Rebirth one of my favorite games last year: it helped me understand the genre.

You can reach the author of this post at or on Twitter at @patrickklepek.

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Can’t wait for the expansion! I’ve put more hours into TBoI than any other game, which is saying a lot because I play Civ 5 and XCOM all the time.