Balatro is a fantastic roguelike deckbuilder that hides delicious depth behind its simple, recognisable exterior. With a deck of 52 standard playing cards, you need to earn enough chips to defeat each Blind, and to do so you must play valid poker hands — to start with, anyway. The game quickly shuffles away from poker, requiring only basic understanding of the historic game's hand types, instead focusing on myriad ways to make your plays more powerful. Essentially, Balatro gives you countless ways to cheat, and finding strategies that balloon your chip-scoring potential is unbelievably satisfying.

Jokers are the key here. Between Blinds, you can buy these special cards with any cash you've earned, and they have an enormous impact on your run. For instance, maybe you get a Joker that adds 4 to the multiplier for every Spade you play; this obviously incentivises playing Spades, but the game runs much deeper.

In our example, you should play Spade Flushes whenever possible. To enable this, you can obtain in-game booster packs to (hopefully) get more Spades, or you can use certain Tarot cards to convert existing cards to your favoured suit. On top of boosters and Tarot cards are Planet cards, which will enhance each hand type's base points. If you can upgrade your Flushes, you're already nicely souped up.

And that's just one Joker — you have space for five by default. There are so many possible strategies and it's a joy to figure them out as you go. Jokers work off each other and any other enhancements you've made, and with 150 varied Jokers to discover and dozens of other random perks you can pick up throughout a run, there's enormous synergistic potential. Initially the game asks for scores below 1,000, but if you play your cards right, you'll be playing hands worth tens of millions or more. When you find a method that works, it's immensely gratifying watching everything tot up and set your score ablaze.

Between the main game, seeded runs, and a Challenge mode to really test your skills, there's endless fun to be drawn from Balatro. With so many variables to experiment with, sleek presentation, and hypnotically addictive gameplay, this is easily among the best deckbuilders, and possibly among the best roguelikes, we've played yet.