FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Marvel Snap for Android

Marvel Snap, a new mobile game developed by Second Dinner and published by Nuverse, had its global launch a few days ago, and I gleefully took it for a spin on my Android phone. I've been toiling away at Marvel Future Fight for years now and I was itching for something new, so this was welcome news. Not like Marvel has a dearth of mobile games in the market for me to try, but I'm more about experiencing comic book adventures on my phone to relax, so any puzzlers or DOTA clones are out. Let's see what Marvel Snap has that no other Marvel mobile game does.


Marvel Snap is a card game that lets you field a veritable who's who of the Marvel Universe Multiverse against other players online. You collect cards that represent Marvel heroes and villains, each with their own special abilities that trigger when they're on the field.

As someone bit with the collecting bug something fierce, the collection aspect piqued my interest. However, this isn't like Marvel Collect where cards have flashy designs that trigger your Shiny Object Syndrome. Each and every character is bound inside the same nondescript square frame. Quite a bummer.

But there is also the potential for pimping out your deck, as each card also has a "variant" with alternate art by some of the biggest names in the industry. If playing an Enchantress drawn by Frank Cho or a Ms. Marvel drawn by Rian Gonzales tickles you pink, you're in luck.

You can upgrade your cards using "boosters" you gain from playing battles against players or completing missions, which unlock different cosmetic changes depending on the card "quality" (what the game calls its rarity system). Don't expect anything drastic, though. Upgrading a card to Uncommon quality just makes the art pop out from beyond the frame, while the Rare quality gives the art a 3D depth.

Nothing about the character's abilities change with the quality, making upgrading quite inconsequential aside from increasing your "Collection Level", which grants you access to new cards to play. More visual shenanigans happen in upper qualities, but the fact that you're spending precious in-game resources for surface glitter isn't very cash money. But if that floats your boat, more power to ya, because...


The card battler game itself is quite fun and deceptively easy. Every game starts with three Locations at the center of the board, and your objective is to be the player with the most power fielded on two out of three of those locations.

Each card has an Energy Cost (in blue at the upper left of the card) and Power Cost (in orange in the upper right). Taking cues from Hearthstone's mana system, you start with 1 Energy and every turn thereafter adds 1 more, and the number of Energy you have will determine how many cards you can field in a turn. You can't put down a 6-cost Hulk during turn 4, for example, but a 4-cost Thing can roll into the fray.

Sounds simple enough, right? But big brain energy is needed thanks to Locations, which are not just places to put cards on but have random effects that can turn the tide of battle. Some add or subtract Power to the cards placed there, others mess with the board state in crazy ways. Each Location only gets revealed in subsequent turns, so you could put down a card in an unrevealed Location and get lucky...or get screwed.

It's here that Marvel Snap really feels like a comic book, as Second Dinner does a bang-up job injecting as much flavor into the cards and locations as possible. The Negative Zone location has an appropriately enervating effect, and Central Park is full of squirrels!


The Locations aren't the only ones with abilities. This being a comic book game, the cards themselves have abilities that are both useful and flavorful. Mister Fantastic can "stretch" his body to give two adjacent locations more Power, while a Sentinel can summon another Sentinel into your hand to play later!

Unfortunately, not all cards have abilities. Hulk himself only brings to the table the highest Power in the game (that I know of), while Cyclops is as vanilla as they come. It sucks because I love those characters and I want to have a reason to play them in this game, but their usefulness is often overshadowed by other, better cards.

Some cards have cool animations when you put them down, which is a nice touch. Cyclops may not have an ability, but you can "optic blast" the opponent before dropping him into a Location. Fun for a few seconds, but that's it.


It may sound like I feel bored with Marvel Snap, but it's far from the truth. In fact, I should warn you that Marvel Snap is crazy addictive. Every match only has 6 turns and is done in like 3 to 5 minutes tops. That's insane. I've probably logged more than a hundred games since launch, and I often had to will myself to stop playing because it's just so easy to drop into a game and play.

And you'd want to keep playing because of the game's "Snap" system. A cube suspended in between your avatars denotes the number of "cubes" you get when you win the match, and these cubes are the way to rise up the player rankings.

It starts at 1, but you can "snap" by tapping the cube to double the number of cubes you get, basically wagering points on whether you win or lose. If you lose, you lose the number of cubes wagered and could go down the rankings ladder. But if you went all in and won the match, your rise to the top is all but assured.

Snapping can also be used to psych out opponents. You can "snap" even with a weak hand and hope the other player chickens out. I myself have never retreated a game, so them snapping or not makes no difference to me. But the mechanic is a brilliant touch that gives every game more stakes than it lets on.


Marvel Snap feels like a lot of care is put into it. Despite my misgivings on the card design, the game itself is incredibly fun and easy to pick up, and the fact that you could be a Timmy and play an all-mutants deck or spike it out with meta decks gives this game tons of potential.

Personally, I'm here because apparently there's a Galactus card, and if I get that, I'm pretty much set for life. Kudos to the Second Dinner team for making a fun little digital card game for Marvel fans!

Marvel Snap is now available for download on Android, iOS, and even PC.

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