Prepare to be dealt a hand like no other in Balatro, a game that takes the robust deckbuilding systems of Slay The Spire, the punishing roguelike difficulty of Dead Cells, and, well, poker, and combines them into an extraordinary twist on traditional card games. It may sound peculiar on paper, but trust us when we say that this unlikely combination works wonders. Amidst the multitude of games showcased at Steam Next Fest, one unexpected contender has risen to claim its spot on the most popular list. Horror, RPGs, FPS, and survival sims have their place, but a poker variant where four of a kind is a poor hand and drawing three different jokers is the norm is a whole new level of intriguing. If you're curious to try this sudden sensation, the game is available for you to dive into right this very moment.

Welcome to Balatro, a deckbuilding and roguelike experience that appears to be poker, sounds like poker, and occasionally gives you that poker feeling, but, in truth, has about as much in common with poker as a bear does with a barn door. Think a full house guarantees victory? Believe that four aces will secure your win? Well, think again, my friend. I possess a psychedelic bank card and a special "Spectral Pack" that allows me to play six kings. So, go ahead, take a look at your "winning" hand and weep.

Here's the twist in Balatro. While it predominantly employs traditional playing cards, it also introduces an array of stat boosters, multipliers, and wildcard rule-breakers that would get you banned in Vegas. Tarot cards, planet cards, jokers with unique abilities, and vouchers that let you trade midgame for new draws and decks are all part of the mix. In total, you'll encounter 150 different jokers, 15 decks, and 32 voucher cards, each offering permanent buffs for your runs. With a campaign mode featuring eight different difficulties, Balatro offers a delightfully bizarre poker experience like no other.

Although the official release date for Balatro is set for Tuesday, February 20, you don't have to wait that long to experience the madness. Thanks to the new demo available during Steam Next Fest, you can jump right into the action and see what all the fuss is about. Among the ranks of strategy game Homeworld 3 and RTS game Stormgate, Valve has confirmed that Balatro is one of the ten most-played demos in this entire festival. So, don't miss out on the opportunity to join the excitement.

Alternatively, if you're in the mood for more card games, we have a fantastic selection for you to explore. Or perhaps you're looking for the best new PC games currently available? We've got you covered on that front too.

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Get ready to embark on a wild and whimsical poker adventure like no other. Balatro awaits, ready to shuffle the cards and deal you a hand that will defy your expectations. Are you up for the challenge? It's time to embrace the chaos and experience the magic of Balatro!

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