Marvel Snap review: the perfect smartphone and strategic card game
Marvel Snap review
  • Looking to have the Guardians of the Galaxy in the palm of your hand, ready to jump into action and fight alongside Yondu?

    Or perhaps you want to assemble your ultimate Avengers team and do battle across Stark Tower, Central Park, and the Daily Bugle? Marvel Snap allows you to do all of this and more, with its excellent use of the Marvel license packed into a fast-paced, portable card game. The gameplay is easy to understand and matches are short, making it a great game to check in on every day. While the game is a lot of fun for Marvel fans, the process of building out your card collection can be a bit of a grind and may lose its initial momentum over time. However, if you're a fan of Marvel and card games, Marvel Snap is definitely worth checking out.

    Marvel Snap is a streamlined and exciting card game that is perfect for Marvel fans. In the game, players build decks of 12 cards (no duplicates) and compete in six rounds of play. The board features three locations that players can contest, with the locations being randomly chosen from a large pool and revealed one at a time over the first three rounds. Players must use their available energy (which increases as the match progresses) to play cards to the locations of their choice and decide on their actions for the round simultaneously. Once both players have completed their turns, the cards are revealed and their effects are triggered. The goal of the game is to have more power than your opponent in two of the three locations, requiring players to carefully consider where to play their cards and how to take advantage of favorable locations and mitigate difficult ones. Overall, Marvel Snap offers an impressive amount of strategy and is a great game for Marvel fans.

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    Marvel Snap is a fast-paced card game that requires players to anticipate their opponent's moves and make strategic decisions in order to emerge victorious.

    Each round is played simultaneously, making it similar to a series of rock-paper-scissors encounters.

    At any point, players can choose to "snap" and double the stakes of the current match, which can be doubled again by the opponent if they also snap. The stakes in the game are cubes that raise or lower a player's ranking, and the winner of a match without any snapping gets two cubes, while a match with snapping can result in eight cubes being up for grabs. Players can also choose to retreat from a match if they feel that winning is unlikely, in order to lose fewer cubes. Knowing when to snap, when to go all-in, and when to retreat is crucial for success in Marvel Snap's ranked ladder mode, and it requires a strong understanding of the meta and the game's mechanics. Each match in Marvel Snap takes about three minutes, but it's packed with decisions and requires players to pay attention to their opponent's strategy and win condition. The game can be incredibly engaging and rewarding for players who understand all of their options and can anticipate their opponent's moves.

    Marvel Snap offers a diverse range of deck archetypes and features a variety of interesting mechanics and keywords. Some decks focus on discarding from the hand, having a large hand size, utilizing ongoing effects, destroying their own cards, moving cards between locations, cheating out big minions, locking down locations, playing cards with no abilities, and repeating "on reveal" triggers. However, the card pool may have too much disruption for some players, leading to some decks that aim to disrupt their opponent's game plan by locking off locations and/or filling them with worthless cards. The locations themselves can also be a hindrance, and the random gameplay modifiers that appear each match add an element of unpredictability to the game. While this can make each game unique and require players to think on their feet, it can also lead to combinations of locations that are unfavorable to a player's strategy. The ability to retreat in Marvel Snap allows players to minimize their losses in these situations, but it's still possible to benefit from or be affected by random location modifiers that can significantly impact the outcome of a game.

    Marvel Snap features over 50 locations, including popular settings like the Quantum Realm, Wakanda, Asgard, Atlantis, Knowhere, and the X-Mansion, as well as deep cuts like the Baxter Building. Each location has a unique ability that ties into its comic book origins, adding flavor to the game. Some locations, like Ego, can be particularly unpredictable and turn a match into a coin flip, although players do have the option to retreat if they don't want to risk it. The game also includes regular "hot locations" and "featured locations," which appear more frequently in games during a certain period, providing a mini meta shift and encouraging players to build decks that take advantage of the location's ability. While this can be a clever idea in theory, it may be frustrating for casual players who aren't as familiar with the ecosystem and may find that their favorite decks are less effective for a short period of time. The locations can also be a highlight when players are able to overcome a disadvantage or work around significant limitations to secure a victory. Marvel Snap boasts a large roster of characters, with primary card art that is uniformly excellent and variant art that features some impressive interpretations. However, it's a shame that variant cards are treated as entirely different versions of the same card, as players may not be as excited to unlock a variant if it means they're not gaining access to a new character.

    In Marvel Snap, players unlock new cards as they progress along the collection track, which is fueled by upgrading cards with resources earned from playing the game. The upgrade process adds increasingly elaborate animations and art to the cards, starting with a burst out of the frame and eventually reaching the "Infinite" level with added depth, movement in the background, and other enhancements. While the collection track may be more of a means to an end for some players, the animations and art are still well-done and provide a satisfying moment of progression.

    Second Dinner, the developer of Marvel Snap, has incorporated each character's comic book identity into their gameplay in the game. For example, Mystique copies an ability for the player, Magneto pulls opposing cards towards him, Storm floods a location, and Bucky Barnes transforms into the Winter Soldier when destroyed. The animations in Marvel Snap are also a highlight, with characters like Nightcrawler "BAMFing" into position, Green Goblin flying across the location, Miles Morales flipping acrobatically into play, Yondu using his arrow to slice up an opponent's card, and Ant Man shrinking or growing when picked up and returning to normal size when placed on the board. These details add to the fun and immersion of the game.

    In Marvel Snap, cards are unlocked through the collection level system, which is different from the card pack system used in other collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone. There is no way to quickly buy your way into a collection in Marvel Snap; instead, players must earn boosters and credits to upgrade their cards, which then earns them points towards their progress along the collection track. The track has a variety of rewards spaced along it, and players can also spend credits on fast upgrades in the shop, but there is a limit to how often they can do this. This system removes the ability to quickly buy a desired card or collection, encouraging players to earn their rewards through gameplay.

    In Marvel Snap, the collection track is divided into card pools, with the first pool consisting of foundational cards. Players unlock these cards in a specific order, but they can still use them to create a starter deck. During the early game, players are matched with others who are at a similar position on the collection track, meaning that their card collections are roughly the same size. This makes the early game experience more friendly, as players are facing off against others who are also learning the game and building decks. The first two pools, which include a small collection of cards that cater to specific game plans, can be completed relatively quickly, and everyone who reaches that point will have the same collection of 97 cards to work with as a foundation.

    In Marvel Snap, the collection track is divided into three pools, with the first two consisting of definitive sets of cards that players unlock in a specific order. The third pool, however, has a larger number of cards and does not have a definitive end point on the collection track. Instead, after players reach a certain point on the track, the guaranteed card unlocks from the first two pools are replaced by "collector's caches" and "collector's reserves," which only have a percentage chance to unlock a new card. This post-Pool 2 collection track can feel endless and can be frustrating due to the reliance on luck to unlock the key cards needed for viable meta decks in Pool 3. The meta game in Pool 3 is also largely built around high synergy combo decks, so if a player is missing a crucial part of a combo, the deck may not function properly. This system can make the progression in Marvel Snap feel slow and unpredictable.

    In Marvel Snap, if players do not get useful cards as they increase their collection level

    they may be stuck playing mostly strategies from Pool 2 against opponents with more potent collections. The lack of new deck opportunities can be frustrating, as the early game in Marvel Snap allows for a steady rate of card unlocks and the ability to regularly make changes to decks to test out different strategies. However, later on, when the meta should be more varied due to the different collections of players, it may be more effective to stick with a strong Pool 2 deck and only switch to a Pool 3 combo deck when enough of those cards are obtained. The shared early game collection can become a limiting factor in this sense, as it may not provide players with the variety of cards needed to experiment with different strategies later on.

    In Marvel Snap, the acquisition of cards is set to be addressed with the introduction of "Collector's Tokens," which will be earned through the collection track and can be used to unlock a specific card from a random selection in the shop. While this will give players some control over building their collection, it will also add another currency to the game, which already includes credits, gold, season pass points, and boosters. These currencies interact and overlap in different ways, and while the overall collection progression may slow down, players can still earn these currencies through daily and season missions, which contribute to progress on the season pass and unlock more credits, gold, and boosters.

    Marvel Snap is a fast-paced collectible card game that allows players to build their ultimate Marvel team and engage in battle across iconic locations like Stark Tower and Central Park. The game features a wide range of deck archetypes and mechanics, as well as a diverse roster of characters with excellent primary and variant artwork. Each match consists of six rounds, with players simultaneously choosing how to spend their available energy to play cards to different locations on the board. The goal is to have more power than your opponent in two out of three locations. Marvel Snap's collection track lets players unlock new cards by upgrading their existing cards with resources earned from playing, with each upgrade adding new animations and artwork to the card. However, the track can be slow and reliant on luck, with the post-Pool 2 collection feeling endless and the meta game often limited to strong Pool 2 decks. An upcoming update will introduce "Collector's Tokens" to give players more agency in building their collection. Marvel Snap currently only offers ranked play, with plans to add a mode to play against friends and an unranked mode for experimentation in the future. Overall, Marvel Snap offers a unique and enjoyable card game experience for Marvel fans.
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