Marvel Snap Review

marvel snap global release date

Since Hearthstone, the card battler genre has skyrocketed in popularity with publishers looking to emulate one of Activision Blizzard’s many prized cash cows. From Legends of Runeterra to Gwent and digital adaptations such as Magic: The Gathering Arena, it’s a crowded, competitive market that’s tough to crack. Leveraging one of the world’s biggest names in pop culture, Marvel Snap is a hot new contender whose lead developer had a hand in creating Heartstone and, arguably, helping to kick off the modern card game craze.

When it comes to TCGs, I’ve been dipping in and out of them for an eternity, with a shoebox of odd loose cards to prove it. I’ve often been roped in by their mix of strategic gameplay and deck-building, though the time and effort (and cash) it takes to maintain an edge in competitive play usually has me bouncing after a short while. In many ways Marvel Snap is a virtual remedy to the issues I’ve had with this genre, massaging my tactician ego in short bursts with each match.

Battles are rapid, 1-on-1 duels that can last just a couple of minutes. Sure, it’s a quick turnover, but there are myriad ways you and your opponent can flex your strategic prowess, from the composition of your deck and adaptability to wildcard rule changes, to the bluffing mind game layer that’s responsible for the name Marvel Snap.

marvel snap review

It features a condensed format. Each player has a deck of twelve cards, and matches only last for six turns. Starting with three cards in your hand, you’ll draw another from your deck with each turn, while also increasing your energy pool by one. Similar to the kind of resource management we see in other card games, you’ll start by fielding low powered characters, eventually building your way up to summoning powerful Marvel icons from Odin and Apocalypse to Thanos and Galactus.

The tight game board houses three random locations, each with four slots in which to field cards. Your objective is to have a higher power score total than your opponent on at least two of the locations. What’s interesting about these locations is that each one has a special rule that is revealed through the first three turns. From sapping the power score of your cards to cloning them, this introduces a refreshing layer of unpredictability. On one hand, it can completely pull the rug from under your well-laid plan, while at the same time dropping a game-winning twist in your favour.

The game’s “snap” feature helps to up the stakes, allowing you to take a gamble and wager rank points (the more you have, the higher up the season ladder you go). Got a killer opening hand? Reckon you’re about to nail your opponent in turn 6? Or, you could simply be bluffing with a weak hand. Trigger a snap and force the other player to either retreat or double down.

marvel snap review

Then there are the cards themselves, of course. Marvel Snap has a whopping catalogue of cards to unlock, representing heroes and villains from across Marvel’s expansive universe. From Mojo and Morbius, to Spider-Man and Thor, most cards bring unique abilities to the table, opening the door to some very clever deck compositions. For example, the aforementioned Morbius has 0 power to start, but gains 2 power for each time you discard, making him a great match with Apocalypse (who gains 4 power and returns to your hand each time he is discarded) or Swarm (who will splinter into two 0 cost, 3 power cards when discarded).

You can see that a lot of thought has gone into designing each card. Marvel Snap has to translated superpowers into TCG mechanics with some characters given their own unique motifs and animations when they come into play. Needless to say, unlocking new cards is your reason to keep coming back and, with a deck size of 12, there’s a very low barrier to creating and experimenting with your own squad of Marvel heroes and villains. Progress is tracked by your collection score, each card and upgrade adding to the total and rewarding players with currency, upgrade boosts, and random cards.

marvel snap review

How are the microtransactions in Marvel Snap? You’ll get plenty of mileage without feeling the need to spend a penny. However, after a dozen or so hours, you’ll notice that rewards become more spaced apart and a hunger to get your hands on more cards sets in. Even now, I’m still discovering new card-ified Marvel icons, pondering how they could fit into one of my several decks. This wouldn’t be a free-to-play game in 2022 without a battle pass. However, after spending £8.99 for the latest one, I’m struggling to see any major benefits. Sure, I got access to an exclusive Nick Fury card (who just so happens to compliment my main deck) though the other premium rewards aren’t so hot, helping paying players boost their collection scores without straight up giving them a glut of cards.

The best thing about Marvel Snap is that it requires so little effort to play yet has brilliant strategic depth. Matches are so quick that you’ll rarely feel the sting of disappointment upon defeat, while each win pushes you towards the next card reveal. Like any live service game, it's constantly evolving with balance patches a roadmap teasing new content and features. Let's just hope we'll see the developers lessen the grind and give players more ways to unlock their favourite Marvel heroes and villains in future.
  • Fast-paced yet fiercely tactical
  • Small decks keep the action focused
  • Cards embody Marvel icons through clever abilities
  • Feels like you’re building a unique card collection
  • Wildcard rule changes will upset the competitive crowd
  • Unlocking cards is a grind, lacklustre battle pass
Written by
Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualSense at this point.