Binding of Isaac is a roguelike-lite game. Roguelikes are like mini life-sims that are just as anal retentive as a flight sim, or any actual simulator. You have to constantly eat food, sleep, have like 3 dozen stats, etc, etc. It's super niche.

Okay, so you mentioned Super Meat Boy, which is basically a game that demands you to perfect a routine. And then you have Faster Than Light, which is a game with RNG elements. Which brings me to another question: is the format of a game what determines its challenge? Like are games more challenging when they have strict formats or loose formats with a solid underlying system?

I guess the best example would be comparing the classic Ninja Gaiden to the current Ninja Gaiden. Classic Gaiden had you memorizing levels with very few options otherwise. Everyone runs levels in classic Gaiden almost exactly the same, because the game demands that. The format is very strict, and that's what made it "difficult".

Current Gaiden gives you tons of resources and options, but still manages to be difficult by throwing lots of intelligent, sometimes unpredictable enemies at you. It has a solid combat system underneath but, to an inexperienced player, is difficult because they either use their resources poorly or don't know which resources to use. There are like dozens of ways to clear any one MOB, and it comes down to knowing which variables to manipulate. It's just that the game doesn't give you strict guidelines to follow, so it requires a deeper understanding of the combat system, which makes it "difficult".

So which is, in your experience, more difficult: having too few options or facing too many variables?