Binding of Isaac on Steam Deck Performance Review

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Performance Review

The Binding of Isaac is one of the most-played games on the Steam Deck. The roguelike nature and ability to play in short bursts make it perfect for the handheld. 

Do you know what else is good? It works right out of the box with next to no tweaking. Even with Steam Workshop mods, The Binding of Isaac is able to keep things moving along at a smooth 60 frames per second, complete with crisp visuals. 

On the Steam Deck, you can even get away with turning down the TDP to eight to save battery life and shut the fan up. 

While we’re on the topic of battery life, you can play Binding of Isaac on Steam Deck for around five hours before needing to charge. Five hours! Given how many games normally tap out at the two-hour mark, that’s an extra three hours of gaming time in comparison. It’s a game you can actually play in handheld mode without needing to check the battery every 10 minutes. Not bad, eh?

Screenshot showing the Steam Deck overlay on the left, with the Binding of Isaac running in the background.

I do feel the need for one whacking-big caveat: Your game will crash eventually, and the performance will nosedive. That isn’t anything to do with the Steam Deck, though. The Binding of Isaac features hundreds of different items the player can utilize, and if you end up with a run that makes use of several screen-filling items, it’s going to affect frames, there’s no way around it. 

As I say, this isn’t a Steam Deck problem. Even on high-end PCs it can be too much. There are simply so many items that certain combinations are sure to cause issues. 

That said, this isn’t a constant occurrence. For the most part, things will run near flawlessly. And, to be honest, when the game does crash because there’s too much going on, you can’t help but laugh because you knew it was coming. 

Binding of Isaac on Steam Deck Settings

All the settings come down to personal preference. There are no settings to alter the framerate, resolution, or things like ambient occlusion. Just settings to tweak the sound, menus, and a handful of accessibility options. 

You do, however, absolutely want to tweak the Steam Deck settings in the quick access menu (the “” button). That’s because there’s no need to use the full 15 watts to play The Binding of Isaac. That’s just overkill. Drop the TDP down to eight and you’ll still have a fully functioning game, albeit one that chugs less battery juice. 

In docked mode, you could try setting the game to run at 1080p, but it’s honestly not worth it. I played it in 720p with FSR turned on and that looks as good as it does on my PC. 

Binding of Isaac  (In-game Settings)
Music 5/10
Map Opacity 3/10
Fullscreen On
Filter Off
Gamma 100
Pop-ups On
Active Cam On
Extra Hud Mini
Hud Offset 6/10
Found Hud On
Charge Bars On
Bullet Visability High
Steam Deck Settings (Quick Access Menu)
TDP: 8 (60 frames) Estimated Battery Life: 5 Hours
Docked Mode Resolution: 1280×720 FSR: On (Docked Mode 720p)
GPU Usage: 30% Temperature: 49 degrees
Extra Info
Fills the Entire Steam Deck Screen Yes
Valve Grading Verified
Performance Rating: 3/5


Screenshot showing tainted Lilith vs Rag Man in The Binding of Isaac.

I try not think about how many hours I’ve spent playing The Binding of Isaac across PS4, PC, and Steam Deck. It remains one of the single greatest games ever created and is perfect for 15-minute blasts and all-day sessions. 

On Steam Deck, it runs beautifully, and being able to play it on the go is always a delight. Couple that with easy-to-access mod support through Steam Workshop and The Binding of Isaac on Steam Deck is the definitive way to play on a handheld. 

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All images captured on Steam Deck hardware.

Wesley Copeland
Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming, tech, and toys journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, Heavy, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.