- Title: Marvel SNAP
- Developer: Second Dinner
- Release Date: October 18th, 2022 (Windows, iOS, Android)
- Reviewed On: iOS
- Price: Free (In-game purchases)
Marvel SNAP is a digital collectible card game featuring characters and locations from Marvel Comics. Players slowly collect additional cards (characters) the more they play, and build and modify 12-card decks to compete against other players online.
Marvel SNAP features superheroes and villains fighting for control over different well-known locations from the comics. Each character takes the form of a card in your deck, and each game consists of 3 locations revealed one at a time across the first 3 turns. Each card has a cost (top left) between 0 and 6, and “Power” (top right), with many cards having abilities that can add even more power, hurt your opponent, or interact with one another to help create synergies for a cohesive deck.
The locations of each game are randomized, often spicing up gameplay in unpredictable ways. Each card has an energy cost of 0-6, and each turn you start off with 1 additional energy to spend on playing cards, starting with 1 in turn one and ending with 6 energy on the last turn. In order to win, you must have more Power than your opponent at 2 of the 3 locations. Whether you win or lose, you earn points that help you progress to unlocking more cards, and you can create multiple different decks to swap around between battles.
The “Snap” in the game’s title refers to a mechanic that can help you win additional rewards. By “Snapping,” you increase the payout of cubes (in-game currency) for that match’s rewards, as well as the loss for the losing player, similar to raising in a game of poker. The other player can then decide to retreat (and cut their losses) or try to win anyway (which feels oh so sweet when you pull it off). Players may use this as a bluff, or Snap back when an opponent Snaps, increasing the payout even more.
You can learn how to play for yourself on Marvel Snaps website here.
I was instantly hooked on Marvel SNAP. The main draw for me was my love for Marvel comics. Despite the prevalence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, its impact on the game is minimal, with obscure characters from comics that haven’t been adapted to the big screen yet becoming major parts of most decks (Ever hear of Ka-Zar?). Each round is only 6 turns long, meaning it takes around 5 minutes to play instead of other card games that can be dragged out depending on different strategies. The game also features a tier system, so you’ll only match with other players who have won about the same amount as you, meaning you won’t start off against pros who have never lost a game out of 500+ matches.
The in-game purchases are mainly used to unlock cards faster. Very few cards are fully locked behind a paywall as part of the Season Passes, themed sets built around one corner of the Marvel Universe. One of the most recent Season Passes was based around the recent launch of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, providing players with the exclusive card for Black Panther himself. You aren’t really missing out by not purchasing the Season Passes, as you still unlock rewards simply by playing the game. Most in-game purchases are simply cosmetic, like being able to buy variant art for different cards in your collection or upgrading your cards’ visual aesthetics. This has helped me, who hasn’t spent any money at all, feel like I’m not being deprived of the full experience just because I haven’t been paying to win.
The game has been out for just over two months now, and certain strategies have been dominating the different tiers of play. Some strategies involve having a bunch of cheap guys and slowly make them all stronger, others reward you for destroying your own cards. One of my personal favorite strategies is utilizing certain cards’ abilities that let you move them around from location to location. Each of these strategies can be countered, and none are necessarily “better” than the others. It can get boring after a while once you start seeing the exact same combos and strategies with the same cards in multiple decks. The higher up you get in the rankings, however, you and your opponents unlock new cards, and these strategies slowly start shifting as these new additions spice up old strategies.
I also wish there was more thematic synergy between characters with established relationships in the comics themselves. The game has a ton of X-Men characters, but they rarely have any cohesiveness aside from maybe one or two. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, who are brother and sister, have completely different effects that don’t impact each other at all. At the same time, Lady Sif and Apocalypse, who hardly have a connection in the comics, have incredible synergy and keep popping up in the same deck.
Final Score (4 out of 5 Stars)
At the end of the day, this game is fun. When I win it feels amazing, and when I lose I feel I’ve learned what to improve on. I keep finding myself saying “just one more match” over and over again. While the game clearly has faults, I’m optimistic the developers will continually work on the game to help keep players invested. The game may only be a passing fad before fading into obscurity, or we may be dealing with the next Hearthstone. Either way, I recommend downloading the game and giving it a try. It’s not for everyone, but if you like Marvel, poker, or just learning a new card game, definitely try out Marvel SNAP, and let us know how you like it on the Boss Rush Discord.
Featured Image: Marvel SNAP