This Poker-Based Deckbuilder Is Sure to Become Surprisingly Popular

The first reviews paint Balatro as a highly entertaining roguelike as good as Slay The Spire.

Do you enjoy poker? Even if the answer is 'no', you don't want to miss Balatro, a "hypnotically satisfying deckbuilder" based on this game where you cheat your way to victory.

While I haven't played it myself, the first reviews from various outlets highly praise Balatro and even compare it to Slay The Spire, a hit in the genre, which makes me believe this title will be surprisingly popular, especially considering it is 8th on the list of most-played demos at Steam Next Fest.

Image credit: LocalThunk

I say "surprisingly" because poker games occupy a certain niche in the industry, and I can't say they are particularly well-loved universally. So Balatro might shatter people's reservations with its unusual not-exactly-poker moves.

Image credit: LocalThunk

Here, you "play illegal poker hands, discover game-changing jokers, and trigger adrenaline-pumping, outrageous combos." Your goal is to build a powerful hand with valid cards and unique Jokers that will help you create different synergies.

Boring cards play only a tiny role in this game; Jokers, Tarot cards, Planet cards, Spectral cards, and Vouchers with varied abilities rule the deck. The idea is to combine all this variety to get more points than the opponent, stacking similar cards or scoring a royal flush. Here's a little tip: safe bets won't get you far, so start thinking big quickly.

Image credit: LocalThunk

Image credit: LocalThunk

Balatro has a 92 score from critics on Metacritic, and close to everyone reviews it favorably. You'll be able to check it out for yourself soon enough – the game will be out in several hours.

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