I had my doubts about Marvel Snap. Mainly because card games are scary, and learning a new set of daunting rules for each new title has always put me off. Assembling decks and collecting cards has always gone over my head, with Legends of Runeterra being a rare exception mainly because I was a desperate gay looking for more CaitVi content after falling in love with Arcane. You’d never catch me playing Hearthstone, so why would this be any different? Well it turns out I was very wrong, since Marvel Snap is absolutely incredible.
Second Dinner’s debut title is intelligent, fast, considered, and so easy to pick up and learn, yet there is a deceptively deep meta to its mixture of card combos and progression. Matches are over in six turns and a matter of minutes, with clever players able to turn the most bitter defeats into the unlikeliest of victories simply by drawing the right card at the right time. The high level of entry often associated with the genre is obliterated, and I think that’s precisely why me and so many others have fallen in love with it. You could say it’s made for casuals, but I’m having so much fun I don’t even care. That and I keep winning, so that’s a big bonus.
In digital card games, simplicity can often be their downfall, with hardcore players learning all there is to know long before the developer is able to continue innovating on the formula. You will eventually hit a wall with Marvel Snap, but progression is so generous and the seasons are so short and surprising that whenever boredom begins to set in, you are given a laundry list of reasons to start caring again. This week sees the arrival of a new season centering on Black Panther before the release of Wakanda Forever, offering up a powerful new card and a bunch of cool cosmetics to unlock across 50 distinct ranks. Daily challenges and specific tasks linked to the season itself also gives you a reason to build decks and play in a certain way that continually reinforces experimentation. All of a sudden I wasn’t afraid of combining cards or trying new things, I was embracing them and excited about the possibilities.
Even if I do end up losing, getting back into the game and regaining lost ground is trivial. The bravery required to snap and double your winnings is significant, but so are the spoils, so I’d often jump into the deep end or wait for my opponent to do the same, hoping I had the right deck to come out on top. Win or lose, I was ready to go again in an instant. Few games on mobile are able to command this level of investment without feeling like a cynical cash grab, but Marvel Snap rides the line and never feels greedy. You can pick up fancy card variants or purchase currency to speed along the process of upgrading cards, but the levels earned through playing naturally are so generous that I never felt the need. Season passes are cheap enough that I made the investment, knowing I’d more than make my money back with how much I was playing. I’m definitely gushing right now, but this game deserves it.
I went on holiday for two weeks and I didn’t even think about video games, escaping the toxic discourse and release cycle as I conquered Hollywood. Yet each and every day I still made time for Marvel Snap, logging in to complete my daily quests and ensure I didn’t fall behind my battle pass progression. I hit level 50 and then some, and it didn’t require me to grind endlessly to meet the goal or spend extra pennies, I did it by having fun. So few games in the freemium space are able to accomplish that, and I can’t wait to see where Second Dinner takes Marvel Snap in the months and years to come. Here’s hoping it doesn’t jump the shark, since right now it’s one of my favourite games of the year.
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