The highest-rated game of 2024 was made by just one person – and it costs less than £13 | Gaming | Entertainment

I’ve been spending the majority of 2024 playing through my extensive video game backlog, finally getting around to completing classics like the original Castlevania and modern blockbusters like Final Fantasy 7 Remake. However, in between visits to Midgar and the castle of Count Dracula, there’s one new release that I’ve been coming back to time and time again. In fact, I’ve spent over 50 hours on the game since picking it up in February. The game in question is Balatro, a poker-themed roguelike that was made by just one person. With a 90% Metascore, it’s also the highest-rated multiplatform game of the year so far, earning greater acclaim than big budget triple-A games like Suicide Squad, Skull and Bones, Rise of the Ronin and Princess Peach: Showtime! If you haven’t already had a chance to play Balatro, then there’s never been a better time to pick it up, because it’s currently on sale.

Indeed, from now until May 16, poker roguelike game Balatro is available for just £11.51 on Steam.

It’s fully compatible with Steam Deck, which is how I’ve been playing this hugely addictive deckbuilder.

The game sees players attempt to beat a target score by playing classic poker hands like flushes, full houses etc.

The twist, however, is that you can pick up booster cards and modifiers that can multiply your score and money earned.

This includes Joker cards with special properties. One Joker may give you an extra card at the start of the round, while another will let you discard additional cards when building your hand.

Other Joker Cards will make cards of a specific suit earn bigger scores whenever they’re played, while further cards might make face cards more valuable, or give you more money at the end of a round.

You can use your money to purchase further Joker cards (although there’s a limit to how many you can have at any one time), or buy additional cards to add to your deck, or cards that level up a certain hand in order to score more points (I typically level up the flush).

There are even boss battles where you’re faced with negative status effects that can drastically alter the effectiveness of your build.

One boss may disable all discards, another may force you to always play five cards, and another might debuff all cards of a certain suit.

There are lots of different ways to play Balatro, including a challenge mode with special win conditions and presets.

The fact that it was made by just one person is unbelievable, and proof that video games don’t always need big budgets and large development teams to succeed.

While it’s currently on sale over on Steam, the PS5, Xbox and Nintendo Switch versions don’t cost much more (less than £13), so there’s no excuse not to try this humble game of the year contender. It’s also coming to iOS and Android later this year, so you can always try it then.

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