Let's get one thing clear straight away, Marvel Snap has nothing in relation to the game card game where you and another player simultaneously, or alternately, place down cards and the first to call out "snap" when the cards match wins the pile of cards. It is not like that at all. And for that I am glad because what it actually is, is a fun, "just one more round" digital collectible card game.
The Basics: Each player enters the game with a deck of 12 cards. The cards each have a cost and power level. The cost is how many points you need to spend in order to play the card. Each round you get an increasing number of resource points so that you can play costlier, more powerful cards, or multiple cards at the same time. The resource points don't carry over from one round to the next so you'll want to use all the available points that you can. A standard match comprises of 6 rounds.
The object of the game is to win at least 2 of the 3 locations on the game board. There is space for 4 cards at each location and each has its own unique rule or effect that it has on the game. For example, at Wakanda there is a force field that means no cards can be destroyed. At Sinister London, the card you play is then duplicated at another location. These location rules and effects can have a dramatic impact on the game. To win a location you simply need to have more power, granted by the cards in play at that location. The fun comes in when you start to combine the cards unique abilities and effects to maximise your power tally.
The Cards each represent a character from the Marvel Universe. I'm by no means the biggest Marvel fan, but I recognised many of the well-known characters. Most cards have an ability or effect that can be divided into several main types:
- On Reveal cards have unique abilities that trigger as you play the card.
- Ongoing cards have passive effects that can affect certain types of cards or locations.
- Move cards have the ability to change locations or push other cards to a different location. There are often power buffs associated with moving the card.
- Discard cards remove cards from your hand. This might sound like a negative effect but when combined with the effects of other cards it can result in powerful combos and buffs.
- Destroy cards gain power either by destroying other cards or being destroyed.
- No Ability cards have no effects or bonuses but when combined with a certain card or location they become some of the most potent cards in the game.
This all may sound quite complicated and there is certainly a lot of depth to be found in building decks that synergise well, but rest assured, Marvel Snap is designed to be easy to pick up and the game does a good job introducing you to how it all works. The game's unlock progression system means that you'll be adding to your total collection at a measured pace. Using credits earned in game you can upgrade the visual appearance of your cards. Each upgrade adds to your progression up the ladder of unlocks granting more credits, rewards and most importantly new cards!
As a licensed Marvel product, you can know that the artwork will be top notch. All the cards are beautifully illustrated. There are also Pixel, "Baby", and other artist rendition variants of the cards that you can find or buy in the in-game store. Added to that are the visual and audio effects that accompany the abilities of some of the cards. Suffice it to say, this is a good-looking game.
Lastly, you may have noticed that I never explained the reason why the game has Snap in the title. This is to do with the points that you can gain by winning a game. These points increase your player ranking. You can win a maximum of 8 points to add to your ranking but, if you lose, those points get taken from your ranking. It depends on how confident you feel about beating your opponent. If you feel good about your chances you can "snap" the points wager to double it on the next turn in the game. Starting at 1 point, a snap from both players will double it up to a maximum of 8 for the next few turns. If you're feeling like you're likely to lose you can retreat, limiting your losses before the wager increases.
Marvel Snap is a free to play game that is available on Google Play, App Store and Steam. Although you can buy season passes and resources with real money, you can quite happily play without dropping a cent and still remain competitive with all the free card drops. If you like card battlers and have a couple of 3-minute gaps in a day (that's if you can limit yourself to just one game!) then have a go at Marvel Snap.