One of last year's best PC games just came to Steam, and it's cheaper than a cup of coffee

Buckshot Roulette
(Image credit: CRITICAL REFLEX)

What you need to know

  • Buckshot Roulette, a game that reimagines the deadly game of chance Russian roulette with a 12-guage pump action shotgun, has been released on Steam after originally coming out on in 2023. A console version of the game is in the works as well.
  • The Steam version includes new gameplay items, achievements, and a leaderboard. Eventually, a multiplayer mode is coming to it as well.
  • The version of Buckshot Roulette will get the new items on April 18, though not achievements, the leaderboard, or the (planned) multiplayer mode since they're all Steam-dependent.
  • The cost of the game on Steam is $2.99, an increase over its original $1.20 price on The price of the itch edition is going up to $2.99 on April 18 in accordance with Valve's rules, though you can still buy it for $1.20 until then. 
  • From now until April 11, Buckshot Roulette is 10% off on Steam to celebrate its launch on the platform. That discount knocks the price down to $2.69.

2023 was a year chock-full of incredible game releases, but one you may have missed is Buckshot Roulette — a dark blend of horror and strategy that creatively reimagines Russian roulette by making you play it with a 12-gauge pump action shotgun. I first played and wrote about Mike Klubnika's genius indie in early January when it was still exclusive to, but now, you can get it on Steam as well.

The version of the game on Valve's PC gaming service includes achievements and an online leaderboard, as well as new gameplay items that spice things up for returning players like myself (I go over how the game works in detail below). Klubnika is also working with indie publisher CRITICAL REFLEX to add a highly anticipated multiplayer mode to the Steam edition of Buckshot Roulette "in the coming months," and it's even getting a console release so players on Xbox and other systems can enjoy this unique spin on the lethal game of chance.

Notably, in a blog post, Klubnika explained that the v1.2 update for the version of Buckshot Roulette that'll bring it in-line with the current Steam one (sans the achievements and leaderboard) has been delayed until April 18 so they can "make sure that all the early supporters get a fun and bug-free experience." When it does come out, its price will be raised from $1.20 to $2.99 to match the cost of the Steam release in accordance with Valve's rules; if you don't mind missing out on v1.2's additions and the multiplayer mode coming in the future, you might want to get the game on itch before April 18 to save a few bucks.

The color red indicates that a round is live, while blue ones are blanks. (Image credit: CRITICAL REFLEX)

Set on the highest floor of a dingy nightclub behind closed doors, Buckshot Roulette invites you to challenge an enigmatic man known as "The Dealer." The basic rules of Russian roulette with a shotgun are simple: a random selection of up to eight live (red) and blank (blue) shells are loaded into the weapon at the start of each round (you can see them for memorization before this happens) and both you and The Dealer take turns pulling the trigger. Your goal is to shoot him enough times to deplete his health before he does the same to you; if you're feeling particularly brave, you can aim the weapon at yourself, and you get to skip his turn if the round in the chamber is a dud. If it's not, well...

Buckshot Roulette is enjoyable with these baseline mechanics, but it really starts to shine once The Dealer ups the ante with gameplay-altering consumable items. Each one of these can impact the game in significant ways — saws allow you or your opponent to cut off the shotgun's barrel to make the next shell do double damage if it's live, for example, while drinking a can of beer will rack the weapon and eject the loaded round — and their inclusion turns the relatively simple game of chance into a thoroughly engaging game of strategy. Things get especially interesting when these items appear in large quantities during later rounds, as you can use as many of them as you want to before you fire.

There's still always an element of chance at work, as the items you and The Dealer get are randomized, and there's often no way to be 100% sure you're making the right call when choosing who to aim at. But with smart and careful play, you can give yourself the best odds possible, and the way the game pushes you to do so with constant nervous decision-making is precisely what makes it such a blast to play. Pair that with Buckshot Roulette's grimy visuals and its muffled bass-heavy club music, and you've got one of the smartest and most intense indie games you can play right now.

Eventually, Buckshot Roulette starts throwing consumable items into the mix that add a rich element of strategy to the experience. (Image credit: CRITICAL REFLEX)

The game can be "beaten" in around 20 minutes or so, but I guarantee you that the thrill of its gameplay will keep you hooked for hours on end. It's become one of the best PC games I turn to whenever I need to kill some time, and I can't recommend it enough to anyone who either needs a time-waster to play or simply enjoys the buzz of perpetual high-stakes tension.

It's worth noting that Buckshot Roulette is actually on sale for 10% off on Steam right now to celebrate its arrival on the platform, so if you're interested in picking it up, now is the time to do so. Until April 11, you can pick it up for $2.69 instead of its standard $2.99 price.

Buckshot Roulette — $2.99 $2.69 at Steam (PC, Digital)

Buckshot Roulette — $2.99 $2.69 at Steam (PC, Digital)

This creative twist on Russian roulette reimagines the deadly game of chance with a shotgun and consumable items, turning it into a horror strategy game that's quickly become a fan-favorite gem. The Steam release features new items, achievements, and a leaderboard, and in the future it'll have a multiplayer mode as well.

Also at: ($1.20, older version)

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.