The Binding of Isaac holds a well-earned spot among the ranks of the most important roguelike games. The hugely popular indie game was key to the genre’s boom in attention, and has influenced many games to come since, ultimately leading to the likes of Enter the Gungeon, Hades, Nuclear Throne, and more. Its ground-up remake The Binding of Isaac Rebirth secured its place in history, boasting an ‘overwhelmingly positive’ 97% Steam rating across 238,000 reviews, and now you can finally play it over the internet with friends thanks to the addition of online multiplayer.
The Binding of Isaac Repentance online multiplayer beta is now live. In order to join, you’ll first need to have Repentance installed, the most recent DLC upgrade for The Binding of Isaac Rebirth. You’ll then be able to hop into the online beta using a Binding of Isaac multiplayer password (full instructions below) and play one of the best roguelike games of all time in a fully fledged co-op multiplayer format with support for up to four players.
It’s a fair upgrade from the game’s previous local co-op offering, which saw the second player join as more of an assist character that borrows some health from the main character. Now you and up to three friends can join the same game. It’s certain to be chaos, mitigated only somewhat by the fact you’ll have to share all those upgrades between you. You’ll move between rooms together, switching as soon as any player walks through a door, so no splitting up to look for clues.
While there’s currently no new items or characters, executive producer Tyrone Rodriguez notes that there are “a few updated game mechanics to improve the fun of playing Isaac in co-op mode.” He also emphasizes that this mode will only ever be available for players using the Repentance DLC, although if you’re still playing The Binding of Isaac in 2023 then you’ll almost certainly want to be doing so anyway.
The game’s UI has been adapted for co-op, and you can further tweak it to adjust how your partners’ health and items are displayed on your screen. Online multiplayer also has access to achievements, and will get its own set of completion marks separate from your single-player game. You won’t unlock either when joining a match in progress, however, so you’ll need to be there from the start of a run.
How to join The Binding of Isaac multiplayer beta
If you want to join the multiplayer beta for yourself, you’ll first want to back up your save – the team stresses that this is very much a beta test, and wants to ensure you don’t lose all your hard-earned progress. Then, simply right-click the title in your Steam Library, select Properties, go to the Betas tab, and type the current beta key into the Private Betas code box, which will then allow you to opt into the latest beta branch. To return to the base game, simply select ‘None’ in the Beta Participation drop-down menu.
The first beta password is ‘combthedesert’ (without the quotation marks). Rodriguez says, “the beta will generally be available two weeks out of each month and offline the other two weeks.” A new opt-in password will be shared with every new cycle by Rodriguez, who says you should keep an eye on his X/Twitter account for updates. Finally, the team highly encourages bug reports – it asks that you stick to a fairly rigid format, so be sure to read the instructions before you get started.
The Binding of Isaac is one of my most played Steam games ever, and will always hold a special place in my heart, so I’m certainly excited to finally try it out with friends in a more fully fledged format. If you’re eager to help test, or just check out how it’s coming along, you can do so right now.
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