Marvel Snap’s Strategic Gameplay Has Me Coming Back for Seconds - Prima Games

Marvel Snap’s Strategic Gameplay Has Me Coming Back for Seconds

My new subway game.

by Jesse Vitelli

I, like many others, have felt Marvel fatigue as of late. With the overabundance of Disney+ shows, movies, video games, and everything in between. So when Marvel Snap was first announced, it didn’t move the needle for me. I figured it would come and go like many of the other card games trying to go up against the titans that are Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone.

Fast-forward to today, and I can’t stop playing Marvel Snap.

Marvel Snap’s Strategic Gameplay Has Me Coming Back for Seconds

Much like the name implies, the game’s pace is snappy, leaving just enough time to layer in strategy but not long enough to make it a serious time-sink. Many mobile card games require a decent amount of time which was never conducive to on-the-go gaming for me. Sometimes I need to kill 5 minutes, and a quick round of Marvel Snap has been the perfect answer. Whether it’s on the subway, waiting in line at my favorite coffee shop, or simply lying in bed before going to sleep, Marvel Snap has been the answer.

The beauty of the game is in its upfront simplicity. Each match is six turns, and your deck is much smaller than other deckbuilding games. With a limited number of cards and a specific turn number, it takes the best parts of Gwent and builds out from there.

Each match plays out with a three-lane structure, each lane being a different famous location from Marvel. You’ll then battle your opponent for control of these different landmarks. Each area has a unique modifier that changes up your strategy, card placement, and bluffing skills. Sometimes an area might give you bonus energy every turn, but only if you don’t play any cards there.

It’s simple on the surface, don’t play a card on that location to get some more powerful cards out early. However, my mind would then begin to wonder, what if I secured that point early? I began to wonder if my opponent would think the same, or would they make a play for one of the other two locations, soaking in that extra energy per turn.

That’s where the Snap mechanic comes into play. Every match, you’re battling for Cosmic Cubes, the game’s central ranking-up currency. It’s easiest to think of it as experience. In Marvel Snap, every match begins with 1 Cosmic Cube on the line, but you can “Snap” to double down. If you lose the game, you’ll lose 2 Cosmic Cubes and possibly de-rank. Your opponent can also choose to “Snap Back,” thus doubling the pool again.

Related: Marvel Snap Card Pools Explained

Now, you can Snap because you feel confident, or you can do it to try and bait your opponent into retreating, giving yourself an easy victory. The Snap mechanic, again, while simple upfront, provides a layer of mental strategy. Will your opponent call your potential bluff, or will they bow out gracefully to save themselves?

You’ll gain cards centered around the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe. Each card with different abilities and unique mechanics to help turn the tide of a match. For instance, Carnage will eat all of your cards at a location, destroying them, but gain +2 power for every card killed this way. You can then combo this with the Angel card, which will automatically be played from your hand or deck upon a card being destroyed.

The combos begin to spin together, like some superhero Rumpelstiltskin, making something out of nothing. All these ideas, back and forth, and bluffing occur inside a six-turn game. Marvel Snap swings wildly as each of the three locations unveils its modifiers as the turns go on.

I am admittedly not a huge Marvel fan, in fact, many of these characters I know nothing about, but the game itself doesn’t require you to know a damn thing about it or ever ask you to learn. It’s a nice reprieve from all of the interconnecting shows and movies that ask you to follow along with every installment to see the next tease.

Instead, Marvel Snap celebrates the universe and its best parts without asking for a considerable investment. Play matches, complete your daily missions, and upgrade your cards for new cosmetic effects. Every upgrade unlocks a more impressive aesthetic for your card, from Frame Breaks to 3D animation; it’s a rewarding system that focuses on enhancing your enjoyment of each match.

Sure, its mobile game DNA runs through it, with an in-game shop to buy premium currency and all of the trappings of modern free-to-play games. However, you progress for free at a decent clip, and with gameplay so enticing, I have not felt compelled to purchase anything outside of the season pass, which has a Miles Morales variant locked behind it.

I’m curious to see Marvel Snap evolve and grow as its seasonal model continues. For now, I’m just enjoying the ride as I finally have a quick and intricate game to play on the subway.