The Binding of Isaac is a truly special title with a lot to offer players. Few other roguelikes have managed to nail the atmosphere, challenge, and immersive world that Isaac offers, although there are some similar games that fans will love.
While the roguelike dungeon crawler gameplay of The Binding of Isaac is quite unique, there are some alternatives with similar mechanics, deep stories, and plenty of challenging levels that are worth checking out. We’ve picked them out for this article, including some from a variety of different subgenres and styles.
Here are the 9 best games like The Binding of Isaac that you should play today.
9. Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire is one of the picks on this list which takes a simple game format and applies roguelike mechanics to create a truly standout experience.
This is a deck-building card game. Slay the Spire is ideal for fans of games like The Binding of Isaac because it offers some challenging gameplay via roguelike mechanics yet manages to create an immersive atmosphere in the process, too.
In this game, players have to try and go up a spire with random, procedurally generated floors. They need to build a deck of cards as they go and use this card to defeat enemies via turn-based combat.
There are a lot of moving parts in this game, including interesting loot and a huge variety of different cards. The wide variety of cards, bosses, and loot give this game almost infinite replay value, and fans of The Binding of Isaac are sure to love it.
8. Spelunky 2
The Spelunky games aren’t pure roguelikes but they utilize roguelike elements to offer a charming, engaging experience. Spelunky 2 stands out as the best of the bunch.
In Spelunky 2, you get to explore dangerous caves and (as the name would suggest) try out spelunking. The caves are procedurally generated, offering high replay value.
You have to navigate platforms, enemies, and hazards to collect treasure and progress through the caves. Spelunky 2 improves on the first Spelunky game and features 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 arguably more difficult. However, if you’re looking for Binding of Isaac alternatives then the difficulty isn’t exactly a negative.
This sequel also has online multiplayer, with co-op and competitive modes. It might not have the same dark subject matter as Isaac, but it’s still worth checking out.
7. Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy is definitely worth a mention on this list of alternatives to The Binding of Isaac. The title might be a different genre entirely, but it has some important links to Isaac and fans of it will feel right at home with this game.
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 to The Binding of Isaac but it is similar in theming, darkness, and art style. You can tell they’ve been made by the same person.
The gameplay is pretty different from The Binding of Isaac though. It is a conventional platformer with a high difficulty curve. The platforms are usually single-screen challenges, and the controls are deceptively simple.
This is a great pick if you’re looking for a dark, difficult Binding of Isaac alternative but are happy to pick up a game that follows a different format. The game is one of the best platformers on Steam.
Hades is a roguelike with a truly dedicated fanbase. This game got a lot of love when it first came out, even winning Game of the Year at the Game Awards at one point, and with good reason. It’s a fantastic alternative to The Binding of Isaac.
Both games are roguelikes with permadeath features and a focus on providing replay value. Where Isaac uses the titular character’s basement as a series of 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 over and you can use it in future runs. There are different paths you can pick from as you progress, and the combat offers a unique hack-and-slash style of play.
Hades builds a truly unique world which is comparable to the quality that The Binding of Isaac offers. It deals with characters drawing from heavy subject matter with 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 twist. While most roguelikes are solitary affairs where you grind to get good, this is a multiplayer experience.
This is a social 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 upgrades and defeat the whole dungeon. There are five separate difficulty floors in total. That’s along with more than 425 unique configurations for rooms, and four specialist roles and classes for each player.
Each of the player 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 don’t have the core information you need to solve the dungeon! This makes even staying together and communicating a challenge.
Never Split the Party is one of the best games like The Binding of Isaac that takes one novelty and goes all the way with it. It’s a lot of fun to play through, and is worth checking out if you enjoy dark, challenging games.
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 get to carry over a few upgrades and will lose most of your progress.
The game has a leveling system that lets players choose between four mutations that provide abilities, along with an ultra mutation. You’ll need to upgrade your weapon as you go, too. There are a variety of builds you can make in this game.
Nuclear Throne has plenty to offer outside of its raw gameplay, too. 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, but the main plot is much more of a mystery and there are lots of fan theories to explore.
Plot aside, the gameplay cycle in Nuclear Throne is tight and high quality. Looting and trying to progress through the game doesn’t get old. It’s one of the best games for fans of The Binding of Isaac who want 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 game 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 get to 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 randomized threats.
Players will need 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.
On top of the pursuers, there are other hostile groups in the space that you’re journeying through, along with friendly groups of characters and other dynamic elements. You can even recruit new crew members from some of these planets.
FTL offers players real-time combat with a deep, complex system that requires strategic thinking and a lot of practice.
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 stands out from standard roguelike games. It goes past what you’d normally expect from the genre and applies the concepts and standard mechanics to a completely different style of game and story. It’s one of the best roguelikes on Steam by a mile.
2. Dead Cells
Dead Cells sits with Isaac as one of the games that has helped to take the roguelike genre to new heights in recent years. The two titles have a lot in common, and it’s one of the most exciting games like The Binding of Isaac.
The title is a Metroidvania-style game dressed up 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 have to 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 scarce currency called cells from defeated opponents to unlock more of them.
The levels in the game are procedurally generated and there is a branching component to each run. There is more than one exit in each level. This allows you to take a different route through the game when you want to.
The combat follows 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, and the combat system is incredibly rewarding.
Dead Cells is one of the best games for fans of The Binding of Isaac to check out. It is one of the best Metroidvanias on Steam and it’s ideal for Isaac fans who are comfortable with trying out something new and innovative.
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. This game can pose 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 and 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 is one of the most acclaimed roguelikes out there.
Enter the Gungeon is one of the closest games to the Binding of Isaac in a lot of ways. It’s a title that was heavily influenced by Isaac, and you can tell that by playing through it. This is bound to appeal to most fans of Isaac, and it’s one of the best roguelikes out there.