Buckshot Roulette review

by on April 4, 2024
Reviewed On
Release Date

April 4, 2024


Buckshot Roulette is a marvellous creation. It does so much to draw you in during the 20 minutes you’ll play it for, and there’s a surprising level of strategy when facing off against a guy with a creepy mask/face known as ‘the dealer’. You have no idea why you’re in this messed up nightclub, or why you’re forced to play a game of Russian roulette with a 12-gauge shotgun. All you know is in order to survive you’ll need to win by blowing off the dealer’s head for good.

Each match takes place over three rounds. In front of you there’s a table with a shotgun laid out in the middle of it. You have a set number of lives for each round, and a select number of rounds loaded into the gun by the dealer. You then take it in turns to either fire it into your face or at the dealer. Live and blank shells are loaded and you have no idea what you’ll get to start with, only the amount of each in the barrel. If you choose to fire it at yourself, the dealer misses out on their go and you get another. If you fire at them and it’s a blank, it’s their turn.

It’s so tense, but you just need to survive long enough to get onto the second round, where the game becomes considerably more interesting. You get more lives, but then items are introduced into the mix. Before each chance you have, you can pick one of the two items you’ve pulled out of the box to use. These are increased to four on the final round, and they can change things up drastically. I loved how much skill is involved, and the replayability is fantastic as it moves at a quickish pace.

Handcuffs makes the dealer miss a turn; a can of beer will eject the current loaded shell; cigarettes refill one of your lives; a magnifying glass reveals which shell is currently loaded; and a switchblade which saws off the top of the shotgun will take off two lives if successful. The dealer also gets these items after a life has been taken, but they’re always randomised so you can never guarantee what you are going to get. It becomes interesting if the dealer messes up using one of their items, but you can also make mistakes.

These mistakes are more costly in the final round as when you reach the final two lives, death is instant. There’s no returning to the game, no do-overs. It gradually gets more tense, making every decision mean more, and I lost count of the amount of times I closed my eyes when the barrel was aimed at my head. The visuals are grimy and dirty, but it works so well with the underground feel of the nightclub, surrounded by rusty contraptions and an ancient-looking defibrillator by the table.

While games generally last around 15-20 minutes, Double or Nothing lets you continue after defeating the dealer in an effort to double their rewards until their randomised charges are depleted. It’s a fun way to play, and anyone who can hold their nerve long enough to keep playing deserve a medal. I would love Buckshot Roulette to release in VR because it will make these stressful moments more terrifying.

For such a simple game that doesn’t last long, Buckshot Roulette can be replayed and replayed, with plenty of strategical decisions needed to be made when facing certain death. Chance and luck do play a role in each match, but you can also counter the dealer’s decisions if they fail. These kind of ideas don’t come around often, and while it isn’t going to be something players play alone for more than an hour or two at a time, the possibilities of multiplayer or VR can make it’s appeal last for a while.


Excellent idea
Plenty of strategy
Creepy visuals


Little outside of the original match itself

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Buckshot Roulette is a short game with plenty of appeal, whether through its replayability, strategy, or grisly charm.