Balatro Is A Roguelike Deck-Builder All About Cheating At Poker

Launching Balatro: A Roguelike Deck Building Game on Nintendo Switch

A deck-builder that uses a real deck of cards? Colour us surprised. But Balatro, from developer LocalThunk, does just that.

Launching on Nintendo Switch on 20th February, Balatro throws all other fantasy decks out of the window and has settled on the good ol’ deck of 52 for its roguelike deck-building shenanigans. Yet, despite the psychedelic, fuzzy pixel art visuals, your goal is simple — win at poker using the most underhand, illegal tactics possible.

Okay, we said this game uses a traditional deck of cards… but it doesn’t really. All the suits and numbers you’d expect are here, but Balatro introduces unique Joker cards that can create special hands and winning combinations. Oh, and sometimes there are tarot cards, too. And cards in foil packets. And planet cards. Just because. Does the Wheel of Fortune trump the Jack of Hearts? Who can tell?

If any of this has caught your attention, check out this run-down of the game from the developers

Balatro is a poker-inspired roguelike deck builder all about creating powerful synergies and winning big.

Combine valid poker hands with unique Joker cards in order to create varied synergies and builds. Earn enough chips to beat devious blinds, all while uncovering hidden bonus hands and decks as you progress. You’re going to need every edge you can get in order to reach the boss blind, beat the final ante and secure victory.

Deftly deploy an array of potent tools: different Decks, Jokers, Tarot cards, Planet cards, Spectral cards, and Vouchers. Use these versatile instruments to ignite a combo frenzy and turbocharge your poker hands, crafting electrifying, adrenaline-fueled synergies.

– 150 Jokers, each with their own unique abilities
– 15 Decks with distinct modifiers to choose from for each run
– 5 potential variants of each Joker which add further abilities
– 22 Tarot cards variants that can enhance your regular playing cards
– 12 Planet cards that help level up your possible poker hands
– 18 Spectral card
– 4 Seals
– 32 Voucher cards to help provide permanent buffs for your current run

A free demo dropped on Steam last year, and word of mouth has been overwhelmingly positive for this psychedelic, mad-capped take on poker. Throw everything you know about winning all the chips away, because you’re playing with a new set of rules here.

A new demo will be dropping during Steam Next Fest in February, so keep your eyes out for that.

Will you be betting on Balatro on 20th February when it arrives on the eShop? Deal your hand in the comments.

Images: PlayStack

RPG lover first and Nintendo fan second, Alana is often found overthinking battle strategies, characters, and stories. Fortunately, she’s also easily pleased by anything Yoshi-related, creepy-but-cute Pokémon, and SEGA air pirates.