It isn’t often that we review mobile games, but this Marvel game is the new hotness, and who doesn’t love Marvel these days?
What Is It?
Developed by brand new studio Second Dinner, comprised of former Hearthstone developers Ben Brode, Yong Woo, and Hamilton Chu, Marvel Snap is a collectable card game where matches are quick and easy.
Why Should I Care?
The beauty of Marvel Snap is that you don’t have to be a hardcore Marvel fan to get into the game, and given that it’s a mobile game (also on PC), it’s really easy to learn. Now, the purpose of a review is to tell you if the game is good, so this piece won’t be talking about how to play the game. After all, it’s free to play, and you can download the game on an Android or Apple device to learn it yourself.
We will note that the tutorial in the game is pretty robust, because after a few games, I got it and got hooked immediately.
I can’t talk enough about how easy it is to decide to play a few games for a few minutes, only for those few games to turn into a ton of games and for those few minutes to become an hour—sometimes even more than that. It’s just that addicting. Since I started in November, I’ve whittled the play down to an hour a day, but still–it’s an hour a day.
When you first start the game, it’ll feel easy. It’s the typical strategy of easing the player in to instill some confidence. But once you get to around Rank 30, you have to start thinking about deck construction as a lot of those wins will turn into losses, and it can be pretty deflating to see your rank continue to dip. At that point, the game becomes less about overpowering locations with numbers, and really more about understanding the combos you can do thanks to the effects of each card in addition to understand the locations.
I’ve seen some final results where players won locations by over 1,000 points just because of some exponential combo. One of my personal favorite combos revolves around using Klaw to give the location to my right 6 Power, and then doubling it with Onslaught’s ability–and it’s even more disruptive when or if the location has an effect that doubles the power too. There’s all sorts of flexibility with all the combinations of cards you can have in a 12-card deck, and it just makes everything that much more enjoyable. There’s a lot to say about the game’s depth despite the simplicity.
One of the coolest instances in the game is the “snap.” During any part of a game, you can choose to snap, which would double the points you’ll earn needed to rank up. In an ideal situation, you’d only do this when you’re confident you’ll win. Your opponent can also choose to snap, which would double the points again. Up to 8 points can be on the line when both players choose to snap, and similar to something like Poker, snaps can also be used to bluff, making the game even more interesting.
The game also employs a seasonal structure where each season lasts a few weeks. Combined with daily objectives called Missions, there’s typically always a reason to play, and once you’ve done all the missions you possibly could, you can just decide to stop playing for the day, as that’s typically how I do it. You can also choose to fast-track Mission appearances by spending gold. When a season ends, you’re also revered back to Rank 20, before earning your way up with new rewards again.
Even if you decide to not be a competitive player that cares about Rank, there’s also the Collection Level that you can increase by upgrading the cards you have in your collection from Uncommon (+1) all the way up to Infinity (+10). Upgrading gives your cards provides a cosmetic facelift, while moving up to earn rewards and new cards. To upgrade your cards, you need Boosters (exclusive to each card) that can be earned by playing games or by upgrading your Collector Level as well as credits, which are one of the common currencies offered as a reward for completing Missions and can also be bought by using Gold. When I’m done playing for the day, I usually my highest quality cards before calling it quits every night.
That brings us the game’s monetization strategy. As a free-to-play game, it’s entirely necessary. That said, there are no Mystery Boxes in Marvel Snap, and at least to this point, there haven’t been any cards released that are exclusively tied to transactions. Every card you can obtain is a brand new card, so you don’t have to worry about duplicates–except for variants. This is the most likely of options where the developers can “get” you, but at the end of the day, the only thing different about a variant is the art. You can play the game and not spend a dime, as long as you don’t mind being a little slower to get the cooler looking cards.
Of course, that can change at any time. Free-to-play games HAVE to make money to continue to exist, but the communication we’ve seen from Second Dinner has been solid, and we don’t see anything changing for the worse anytime soon. If anything, the latest change by introducing Character Tokens added yet another currency to worry about which could cause some concern–but again, all of that is optional and doesn’t appear to a pay-to-win scenario.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Marvel Snap does what a mobile game was initially designed to do–be a good time waster in short bursts, and longer if you choose to do so. As for the money you spend on the game, will it bring you more joy to to get that Premium Content? I’ve admittedly bought the premium passes for the Miles Morales and Wakanda events, but I don’t care for the Silver Surfer pack, so I didn’t buy that one, and I’m still having fun. I don’t plan on stopping and while I have spent, I don’t feel like I was ever forced to do so, and it’s been every bit as enjoyable as I’ve started. I don’t care for card games, but Marvel Snap has just been every bit as enjoyable as it has been addicting.