Rory Galvin snaps into what makes this card game so special.
Mobile games tend to have a bad reputation: for every Angry Birds, there are thousands of games purely designed to take your money away from you (like Angry Birds 2). Marvel Snap is a free-to-play card battling game, and is incredible without being predatory. For the most part.
The game is developed by Second Dinner, a team of the best people behind Hearthstone, Activision Blizzard’s game that popularised the digital card genre. Specifically, the lead designer, Ben Brode, is the heart of the game - and features heavily in advertisements and updates. He made Marvel Snap to be quick to play and easy to learn, making it an instant hit in the mobile space.
Each match in Marvel Snap has two players face each other, with the goal being to win at least two out of three locations. Each time the location is randomly selected, with each having a different effect that you have to adapt to. There are over 200 cards in the game, and with you only being able to use 12 per deck, you have to put together ones that work together. Because the games are so fast, it can become quite addictive. Telling yourself “one more game” devolves into hours lost trying to climb the ranks. Another thing that makes it stand out is the snap feature: you can press ‘Snap’ during the game to up the rewards if you win. Similar to something like poker, you can wager cubes (which determine your rank) - and your opponent can match that for a total of eight. Winning eight cubes is euphoric, losing them is the complete opposite.
Telling yourself “one more game” devolves into hours lost trying to climb the ranks
Unlike its semi-predecessor Hearthstone, you do not spend any money to buy cards in Marvel Snap. Instead, you grow your ‘Collection Level’ and slowly unlock cards as you play. This system is preferred by many, but the downsides are that it can take a long time before you reach a competitive level, and since the card is randomly given to you after a certain point, it could take even longer to find the one you are looking for. Monetisation-wise, you have your usual Battle Pass and limited time bundles. Initially, the pricing was very fair, but the developers have been testing different prices out on bundles, where they feel like less value for money. If you’re a whale (someone who spends a lot of money on one game) there is plenty to buy: a variant of the Thor card, Throg, has a bundle equal to almost €100 in the game’s premium currency. There’s also a “Pro Bundle” permanently at the bottom that costs €110. Generally the game is generous to players who spend no money, but definitely caters to and almost encourages people to fall into a costly rabbit hole.
Marvel Snap is truly fun. Even if you don’t like card games, or playing games on your phone, a lot of people would recommend you checking it out. Plus, it’s also on Steam - so most of your playtime doesn’t have to be on the toilet.