The Legend of Bum-bo is a masterfully infantile sequel to its predecessors.

Ben Wermers

A new installment in The Binding of Isaac series titled The Legend of Bum-bo was just recently released, and it is a hilarious parody of the series itself. Edmund McMillen, the game’s creator, has been known to mock himself, but this took it to a new level of absurd.

Released about one month ago, on November 12th, 2019, The Legend of Bum-bo hit the Steam Marketplace, priced at about $15. It immediately took the series’ fanbase by storm because of its main character: the titular Bumbo. Bumbo was introduced to the series as a passive item in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth’s first DLC, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth. Instantly, the character was loved by the community for its undying, yet somehow cute, greed. Thus, it only made sense that McMillen provided more of the character to the community. This is where The Legend of Bum-bo comes into play.

The plot of the game has the player tasked with one simple goal: to get Bumbo some coins. However, achieving this goal is not as easy as it sounds. The player, playing as one of the multiple different types of Bumbo (each changing how the game is played), has to fight waves of enemies. And the way in which the player has to fight is incredible.

The Legend of Bum-bo mixes two genres for a mentally challenging, yet rewarding experience. The two genres in question are as follows: match three (e.g. Bejeweled) and rogue-like (e.g. Darkest Dungeon). The crossing of the two requires the player to make matches in order to deal damage to enemies. This makes decisions important. In typical circumstances, the player only gets two moves before the enemies get upwards of six moves. So, if the player messes up one of their two moves in the smallest of ways, they go back to the start. But, if the player is able to beat a challenging level, the feeling is incredible. It’s like if you thought you failed a test, but you get a perfect score in reality.

The level of artistry that this games employs is amazing. The game’s humor is reflected within the art style. This is seen in that The Legend of Bum-bo is designed to look like cardboard. Every 1-dimensional character is drawn onto flat, 1-dimensional sheets of cardboard so that the game looks very crude in nature. And for good reason. The humor of the game is fairly crude, using feces, or the so-called “brown energy,” to fuel your attacks and defenses. So in that sense, the game may not be for everybody, but McMillen commits to that idea and designs the whole game after it. It’s honorable, at the very least. And, if art style doesn’t pique the player’s interest, then the music should cover the artistry front. A lot of the music sounds very familiar. Some would say a little bit too familiar. But I refute that claim, as I believe it crosses the intensity of decision-making with a reminder to long-time fans of the series that this is what they’ve known and loved for years perfectly. Often, the game uses remixes of old The Binding of Isaac songs. It truly is a wonderful soundtrack to take a listen to, as a long time fan, and if not the game, then I think players of the original games should at least take a listen to the soundtrack.

For the above reasons, The Legend of Bum-bo is a worthy successor to the games previous. It is a fantastic adaptation of two genres, and it should not be passed up. Thus, since the game is only $15 dollars on the Steam marketplace and because of the fact that it is infinitely replayable, it’s worth playing, one hundred percent. So, I recommend people try it if they’re a fan of mentally challenging games. It’ll be worth it.