In any case, do not buy this game. Don’t even go near Balatro. The idea to combine poker and roguelike was suggested to its author by the Devil himself. It’s not a game – it’s a real black hole that will consume all your free time, all the time you have to sleep and leave you wanting more.

Game Balatro
Genre card game, roguelike
Platforms Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch
Languages English
Developer LocalThunk
Publisher Playstack

There are never too many jokers!

Take a standard 52-card poker deck, add bonus cards, more bonus cards, and more bonus cards. Cards that change the meaning and value of other cards; jokers that affect the number of tokens won; cards that affect jokers; jokers that affect poker rules and layouts; tarot cards that add a little magic; planet cards that increase the value of layouts; vouchers that affect global rules, and so on.

Just so you understand, in addition to 52 cards in the deck, which may not be of the usual colors, with repetitions, etc. (52 is not a dogma, the number of cards will increase during the game), Balatro has 150 (!!! ) different jokers (you can use 5-7 at a time); 22 tarot cards; 12 planet cards; 18 spectral cards; 32 vouchers; 15 different decks with their own bonuses; 32 booster packs that can be purchased and opened during the game; 24 tags that complicate the game; 30 different antes that limit the player; 5 editions of each card; 4 types of seals that can be applied to any card; 8 types of magical card enhancements. But of course, all of these bonuses, especially the rare jokers, need to be unlocked first.

RPG poker

The roguelike component of Balatro is almost a traditional Dungeon Crawl. But instead of dungeons inhabited by monsters, you have to pass 8 antes in a row – mandatory poker bets that gradually increase. Each ante consists of three games, in each of which you have to collect a set number of chips. The final game of each ante has significant restrictions for the player: for example, you can play only one hand, or only one type of hand, or some cards do not bring points, etc.

How you modify your deck and joker set, which boosters and cards to buy, is up to you. In Balatro, you need to build your own strategy for each “race” because the number of options and cards is simply insane, so each next game is not like the previous one. Sometimes you need to focus on the most “pumped” hand, sometimes on the influence of jokers, sometimes on the synergy of jokers on Tarot cards, spreads, or individual cards. And of course, this is poker, so no one has canceled the element of chance.

Let’s say no to drugs!

Balatro is a very tricky game. It seems simple, but it’s complex and interesting, and the antes are played quite quickly, so the old mantra “One more hand and then go to bed!” works perfectly here. One hand leads to another, and then to the third, and now you’re starting a new “race” with a new deck, and it’s already starting to dawn outside.

Balatro has been released on all major platforms, and although the card game seems to be more suitable for the Nintendo Switch, it has also shown very good results on Steam. 34,367 players online simultaneously four days after release, Steam rating 98/100 based on 3,700 reviews. Although SteamDB ranks Balatro third in the list of the best Steam releases by player rating, the site uses its own algorithm, and according to pure estimates, Balatro is currently the game of 2024 with the highest Steam rating.

So, if you like card games, poker, roguelike in any combination, Balatro is just what the devil ordered. The price of the escape from reality is 292 UAH on Steam.