You would think that someone who writes for a gaming handheld website would have a diverse library of games. Unfortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to my gaming habits. It’s only gotten worse over the past six months, and I don’t know if anything can save me from myself. 

Balatro exploded onto the scene in late February and has taken much of the world by storm. The game is described as being “a hypnotically satisfying deckbuilder where you play illegal poker hands, discover game-changing jokers, and trigger adrenaline-pumping, outrageous combos.” Honestly, after spending more hours than I’m willing to share playing the game, it’s one of the few games that actually follows through on its promises. 

Balatro on OnePlus Open

Balatro on the OnePlus Open

It’s not like Balatro is a new game type or anything of the sort. Before now, Slay the Spire captured my attention for a good 6 months before I dove back into the disaster known as Call of Duty. The difference with StS is that it’s already available on pretty much every platform you could want, something that isn’t exactly the case with Balatro. 

Recently, the developer confirmed that mobile versions of the game are coming to both iOS and Android, which is both great and awful. But, we don’t know when that day will come, and thanks to the incredible community, you don’t have to wait. As I sit here writing this, Balatro is currently installed on my custom-built PC, MacBook Pro, MSI Claw, Steam Deck OLED, Lenovo Legion Go, OnePlus Open, and Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. And if I can pull myself away, it’ll soon be on my TrimUI Smart Pro.

Get Balatro Now

“But you just said it’s not on mobile?” That’s right, I did.

A recent discussion in the RH Discord pointed me in the direction of a rather useful and frankly-named tool called “balatro-apk-maker.” It’s nothing more than a script that turns the Balatro.exe file on your computer into an APK file to be installed on your Android devices. This means that it can be played on anything that runs Android, including the Odin 2, Logitech G Cloud, or your phone. The biggest pre-requisite in order to get this working is to purchase Balatro and have it installed on your PC or Mac, then download the script and follow the instructions.

Balatro on Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

Balatro on the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

Okay, I’ve gotten a bit ahead of myself here. What is it about Balatro that keeps me coming back, and wanting it on all of my devices even if my progress doesn’t transfer? Truth be told, I don’t actually know. It’s one of those games that immediately sucks you in, even if you end up crashing and burning on the very first Blind. 

“Just one more hand,” I tell myself. Constantly. An hour or two later, and I’m still playing. Navigating through the blinds, cursing the Balatro Gods for Jokers that I have no need for, and trying to unlock all of the decks. At one point last night, I exclaimed “YES” while my wife was walking past my home office, only to not have realized what happened. Usually, the only time I make comments while playing games is cursing Activision/Blizzard for Call of Duty’s incredibly awful matchmaking and gameplay. 

If you came here looking for tips or tricks about how you can get better, you came to the wrong place. Outside of talking to a few folks in the RH Discord (Hi Joey), and my cousin who recommended the game to me, I haven’t watched any videos or read any articles about how to “beat” the game. I just…play, and play, and play, and play, until I need to actually do something. 

Despite Ocarina of Time being part of RH’s Game of the Month, and taking the time to set up Ship of Harkinian, I’ve still just been playing Balatro. It’s a sickness. But it’s one that I’m embracing.

It’s Even On PortMaster

One more thing, I mentioned the TrimUI Smart Pro earlier, and for good reason. This week, the TrimUI team released the v1.0.4 firmware update for the Smart Pro. With that, Vulkan compatibility has finally arrived, which is expected to greatly improve performance. The update also adds features like Moonlight streaming, enables Bluetooth, and so much more. There’s even a new update for the Tomato OS floating around. Check out Zu’s hands-on video below if you want to get an idea of what it looks like.

Then, it was confirmed that PortMaster is coming to the Smart Pro, which is something that I’ve been wanting to tinker around with but just haven’t yet. That’s all about to change, as Balatro officially arrived on PortMaster, meaning that you can enjoy the best game of the year (so far) on even more devices.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to get back to my current run while I wait for pizza to arrive.

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