Accessible collectible card fun, minus the bloat

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There are a dozen collectible card games online these days. Android’s best card games are strategic and engaging, but many of them are just cheap ways to steal your IP (intellectual property). That was my dread when I loaded up Marvel Snap, a game that looked poised to cash in on Marvel’s fanbase. .

Despite my apprehensions, I had high hopes for Marvel Snap. Former Hearthstone director Ben Broad heads up the development studio (Second Dinner). His experience is felt in Marvel Snap, but don’t worry, he’s there. This is not a Hearthstone clone. Gone are the bewildering card arrays, powerful combos, and pay-win mechanics. Instead, you got an easy-to-learn, nail-bitingly tense, and fast-paced game.

The video above captures most of the important parts of the gameplay. The tutorial (which I didn’t record) is short and straightforward, explaining the mechanics of the game over a few games with the AI. Soon after that, he’s thrown into PvP, which seems abrupt at first. But despite some setbacks, I quickly scored a string of victories.

Monetization and unlocking new cards

Before we get into the awesome gameplay, let’s talk about monetization. Unlock cards by upgrading the visuals of existing cards instead of purchasing card packs. Cards can only be upgraded if you have enough boosters that can only be unlocked through gameplay. In-game currency is required to upgrade cards, but the inclusion of boosters means you can’t throw a ton of money into the game to unlock all the cards from the start. As of this writing, only one card can be purchased for real money from the store and unlocked for free. (Although not that particular variant).


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There are two types of in-game currency: credits and gold. Use credits to upgrade your card and gold to purchase card variants and credits. Earn credits and gold through the Battle Pass. You can also earn additional credits by ranking up your collection and increasing your competitive rank.

At the time of this writing, the card variants currently available in the store are 700 Gold each, worth £9 ($10). Thankfully, I was able to purchase that amount of gold with no leftovers.


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Upgrade your collection to unlock new cards, credits and boosters. Every time you upgrade your card, your level increases. Upgrading cards adds flashy visual effects, but does not improve in-game performance. I’m a big fan of this mechanic. Because it paid off pretty well for playing time and didn’t punish me for not pulling out my wallet.

Game mechanics, deck building and competitive play

Each Marvel Snap card has three parts. Energy cost, power cost, and capacity. You can play as many cards as you like in one turn until your energy is depleted. Energy limit increases by 1 each turn. This is a mechanic similar to Hearthstone’s mana cost him.

Gameplay revolves around a card’s power cost. Each match he is divided into 3 areas, each of which can hold up to 4 cards. You can play cards in any area during your turn and they will stay there for the duration of the game (with a few exceptions). At the end of the game, the player with the most power wins the area. If he wins at least two areas, he wins the game. Very simple in theory, but since he only has 6 turns in the game, if he places one card in the wrong area, he could lose the match.


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Not all cards have abilities, but cards with abilities are essential to success. Increasing your power each turn, predicting your opponent’s moves for rewards, and moving between areas are just some of your in-game abilities. They’re a lot of fun, and thanks to deck building (more on that later), it’s easy to build highly synergistic decks.

But for me the selling point of this game is the area abilities. Each area contains random abilities that are assigned at the start of the game. Initially, he only has one realm ability, and the other two will be revealed on the next turn. These abilities completely change how each match is played. I’ve included some screenshots below, so even those unfamiliar with Marvel Snap can see how dramatic the effect is.



Deck building in Marvel Snap is easy. The deck can contain up to 12 of his cards, no duplicates. You’ll have to wait until you unlock more advanced cards to make a final judgment, but I had no trouble finding the right combination of cards while playing the game.

Marvel Snap is inherently a competitive release. If you win the game you get cubes, if you lose you lose cubes. Your rank is determined by the number of cubes you own. Simple but with a twist.

If you win after 6 turns, you get 2 cubes and your opponent loses 2. But if your opponent concedes early, you will only win one for him and your opponent will lose one for him. If he is confident, he can always choose to snap and double the number of cubes he gains or loses. This is a great way to put pressure on your opponent as he may choose to concede rather than risk losing his four cubes. It’s a clever way to ensure that forgiving the game doesn’t become a completely unpleasant experience for both players.

A great game for card players of all stripes

Marvel Snap is a must-have game for both seasoned card players and beginners. You don’t have to be a Marvel fan to enjoy it (although that helps). Even those who prefer to sort through thousands of cards to find the perfect deck will find the intense nature of Snap’s deck building rewarding, and it’s one of the best Android games he’s ever made. I can’t.

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