I have spent over 200 hours playing the original version of Binding of Isaac along with its "Wrath of the Lamb" add-on content on PC. You think I might be sick of it by now. Yet after playing the upcoming remake of the game at E3 2014, I'm ready to sit down to another hundred-plus hours.
The first thing I notice when I start my E3 demo is one of the biggest changes to the game: differently-sized rooms. Instead of every room in the game taking the shape of a small square, there are now longer rectangular rooms. This makes it easier for enemies to ambush me as I walk from one end of the room to the other.
Many of the enemies are new as well. In addition to returning Isaac foes, I struggled to defeat a new spider type that crawled through the room, stopping to lay eggs that new spiders could hatch from. Another bug-type enemy clung to the walls of the room, shooting at me from afar.
Of course it's not all bad news for people looking to actually survive the game. Rebirth also contains some new tools to help you fight. I didn't get to experience any new items, but I was able to get a "black heart."
The original game featured red hearts to fill up your health, white hearts that can only be used once, and spirit hearts that become a red heart if you survive a floor with it intact. The black heart that has been added to this list operates similarly to a white heart, but it will actually hurt every enemy in the room when it's depleted, providing a little boost even as you're taking damage.
While I was excited by everything I saw in Binding of Isaac Rebirth, the game has a ways to go before it's finished and ready for the public. I couldn't help but notice that controls were very floaty in the demo I played; rocks that should have filled a space in crevasses simply disappeared; and items collided with each other, ricocheting across the room, over rocks and out of my reach.
The biggest enemy I encountered in Binding of Isaac Rebirth? The timer attached to the E3 2014 demo. For any players skilled enough to survive 15 minutes, the game slowly began ticking away Isaac's health until he died. Another great run ruined, but I'll be first in line to try again (and again and again) when Rebirth comes out later this year.