Sometimes life’s rough and you’ll struggle to pay the rent, afford food and all of that. There are times like that where you’re desperate and have to… take a gamble or get evicted. In Luck be a Landlord, your landlady is an asshole that raises the rent every time you pay it… because capitalism! Hence, it’s your job to gamble away, quite literally, at a slot machine located in your apartment, so that you can afford the rent and keep surviving or even quite potentially beat the landlady/landlord and chase them out!
Developer: TrampolineTales Publisher: TrampolineTales Gerne: Slot Machine, Roguelike, Deckbuilding Release Date: January 8th, 2021 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC Copy was purchased.
Luck be a Landlord is a casual Roguelite-Deckbuilder where you spin the slot machine and gamble away while building a strong deck, collecting items, and raking in the cash! There are a ton of synergies and elements to the game and it’s a satisfying experience overall, in my opinion, especially due to the game design.
You see, in Luck be a Landlord you use coins to spin the machine and earn money based on your symbols. Some symbols earn you a set amount of money, like cats and dogs that grant you one coin. Meanwhile, others interact with each other, destroy other symbols, multiply other symbols’ worth, or multiply their own based on certain conditions, like the Geologist that destroys ores and pebbles and stuff and adds one more coin to their own value, which can snowball by quite a bit. After every spin, you can add one symbol to your “deck” or skip. There are also other mechanics in place like Rerolls or Removal orbs that allow you to remove symbols from your deck or reroll to further change the shape of it and what you’re going for… or rather to increase profits and remove tiles you may not need anymore.
There are a lot of ways to play the game. There are a lot of strategies… and quite recently, they added a bunch of fun ones like the Holy Water that removes the Hex’ negative effects but still allowing to generate money. It’s a nice item that makes the Hex a viable option now. Similarly, you can go for builds centred around bees, flowers, honey, and bears… or maybe aim for a Geologist-build where your oysters produce pearls that your Geologist can eat to add more value to himself… or you go for a build centred around destruction, etc. Every time you pay the rent, you also have to select one of three items that work passively and help you out by increasing symbols’ values or that give you other effects. There are a lot of options and more often than not you’ll have to improvise to get to your goal. After all, every run is random. The rent is due every few spins but every spin is randomised and so is every selection of items and symbols. Luck be a Landlord is in essence purely about RNG and deckbuilding, which is fun, especially due to it being paired with its simple premise and the satisfying gameplay loop.
What I love about Luck be a Landlord is that runs don’t ever last super long. Once you know the tiles well enough, you’ll be able to dash through the game quite easily and get through the slow early game quite easily and rather fast, too. Longer runs do exist, especially when you snowball out of control… but once you beat it, it probably won’t continue forever, if that makes sense. The difficulty of Luck be a Landlord comes from staying ahead of the curve. You’ll need to make enough money each spin to get to your rent, but you’ll ultimately also want to have some way of snowballing or maybe saving up money, even. Similar to other roguelikes, there are certain points you want to hit in your build… and once you’ve beaten the game once, you’ll be able to continue the game on a different floor with a higher rent at certain points, hence adjusting these aforementioned points, I mentioned, if that makes sense. It’s nice to see different modifiers getting introduced into the game that make the game more difficult while still keeping the premise the same, although I’d wish there’d be more varied ones like modifiers that change the tiles you find or that change the premise kind of. It’d be interesting to see weekly challenges or stuff like that as well. Maybe we’ll get some of that in the future!
But from good stuff to bad stuff: Luck be a Landlord is addictive… I mean, it’s gambling after all. I may be overthinking this a little bit but it is a slot machine simulation after all… so… it’s not good… and while you’re not earning real money or anything like that, it is still gambling, in a nutshell… So that’s my biggest critique for the game. I’m not too sure about how I feel about this… And apart from that, I hate the music. I hate it a lot. It’s alright at first and then it becomes worse and worse as it loops and loops more and more for longer and longer… you get my point. It’s repetitive like the gameplay and while the runs themselves are still quite a lot of fun every now and then, the music makes it a lot less enjoyable… to the point where I like to turn it off completely.
If you like roguelike-deckbuilders that are “not like other games” then Luck be a Landlord may be the game for you. You can also pet the dog btw. If you like doing that, this game is a winner. I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it. It gets updated quite frequently and despite it being in Early Access, I haven’t encountered any bugs yet. There’s even a countdown to the next update on the title screen, which is a nice gimmick, in my opinion. If you can look past the fact that this game basically glorifies gambling (again, I’m overthinking this a bit here), it can be very enjoyable… but I personally have some mixed feelings on that subject despite still enjoying the game.