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New deckbuilding roguelike gets rave reviews, and you can play it now

Combining deckbuilding roguelikes with poker seems like a no brainer, and Balatro does just that - and the full version is now out on Steam.

Balatro Steam out now: a Joker card on a green background

The endless possibilities of roguelikes and the infinite potential of a deck of cards go hand in hand, and Balatro knows it. This new Steam deckbuilding poker roguelike is out today, and it’s already had an incredibly popular demo and some glowing reviews. You take the rules of poker, add over 100 extra Joker cards with unique abilities, extra Tarot cards, and a synth-wave psychedelic soundtrack, and you’ve got a roguelike that’s about to blow up.

Balatro takes the standard rules of poker and ruins them with roguelike game bliss. You’ve got your standard deck of cards filled with four suits and aces, but then you’ve got 150 Joker cards, each of which has a unique ability that completely changes how you win. Then there are Tarot cards to enhance your deck, planet cards that level up your hands, and voucher cards that add buffs mid-game.

Suddenly this card game is a lot less poker and a lot more Yu-Gi-Oh! – my Swords of Revealing Light means you can’t play that royal flush, sorry. You use all the above card types in tandem with your normal deck, hoping to create synergies that win you the hand, and the game.

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This is why Balatro works. Developer LocalThunk has taken a game almost all of us know in poker and turned it up to 11. It’s a very videogame-y spin on a classic card game, with a psychedelic synth aesthetic to make the experience less about taking home more than you entered with, and more about the vibes. Just don’t try bringing 150 special Joker cards into the Bellagio, as I don’t think they’ll take “but Balatro lets me use them” as an excuse.

If Balatro sounds right up your street, you’ll be glad to know that it’s been getting glowing reviews while sitting at an incredibly respectable score of 92 on Metacritic. Despite having the demo out since September of last year, it was number eight in the recent Steam Next Fest charts and even has over 2,000 people playing it right now.

Balatro is available on Steam starting Tuesday, February 20, and you can check out a demo for the roguelike right now.

If you want even more wacky and wonderful deckbuilding shenanigans, we’ve got the best card games on PC for you, alongside some great indie games you don’t want to miss either.

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