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This indie game has you square off against a shotgun-wielding card dealer

Buckshot Roulette is $1.20 on Itch

A menacing masked figure wielding a shotgun menaces the protagonist across a long table laden with random goods in Buckshot Roulette. Image: Mike Klubnika
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

There are a few games that are so unusual and incredible that I wish I could erase my memory and play them again for the first time. While I haven’t figured out a way to achieve that goal, there’s a fun alternative — find projects inspired by those games, and appreciate them. Buckshot Roulette, a game made by Mike Klubnika, is a perfect example of this.

Buckshot Roulette is a stark and simple horror game that lasts about 15-20 minutes. Despite being teeny tiny, I was immediately impressed by how similar it feels to Inscryption, Polygon’s favorite game in 2021. It’s not a 1:1 copy; whereas Inscryption is rustic and mythical in tone, Buckshot Roulette is gritty and industrial. However, both of them lock you in a looping scenario where you’re forced into a life or death game against an unnerving opponent.

Unlike Leshy, your opponent in Inscryption’s early game, the nefarious dealer in Buckshot Roulette plays fair. For instance, there’s a handcuffs item you can use to skip the dealer’s turn. A cheater might simply refuse to use the handcuffs, but the dealer claps them on and accepts the chance of getting shot in the head. I can appreciate that level of sportsmanship.

It’ll be some time before we see Pony Island 2, the next game from Inscryption developer Daniel Mullins Games. In the mean time, Buckshot Roulette serves well as a fun, brief distraction. The game is available on Itch for the minimum price of $1.20.

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