Balatro was largely inspired by slot machine roguelike Luck Be a Landlord

Developer LocalThunk answered fan questions in a recent Reddit AMA in which they revealed they hadn't played deckbuilders before they developed Balatro.

Image via Playstack

You might think for as well designed as Balatro is, developer LocalThunk must have spent a while studying other card games, deckbuilders, and roguelikes. You might be wrong. According to LocalThunk, the major inspiration for Balatro wasn’t deckbuilders at all, but rather a humble slot machine roguelike known as Luck Be a Landlord.

LocalThunk shared this factoid in a recent Reddit AMA in which they answered to a wide range of fan and player questions. Inevitably, one of those questions ended up asking what other games influenced Balatro’s design, if any. To that, LocalThunk shared the foundation of how Balatro came to be.

LocalThunk answers a Reddit AMA question on the influences that inspired Balatro.
LocalThunk shares that Luck Be a Landlord was the largest inspiration behind Balatro. They didn't play a deckbuilder till after Balatro's development.
Source: LocalThunk

Even more interesting is that, while many players suspected that games like Slay the Spire might have influenced Balatro, LocalThunk claims to have not played really any deckbuilder games before starting on their own game. Luck Be a Landlord kindled something and they didn’t want to lose it, so they went nose to the grindstone with their idea.

It’s good to see LocalThunk give some love to other indie games that may have made Balatro’s creation possible, and the developer’s efforts have paid off as well. Balatro has captured the hearts of players worldwide, including our own in our Shacknews review, and has gone on to sell incredibly well as it garners praise from critics and players alike. For more on the game, stay tuned to the Balatro topic here at Shacknews.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola