Marvel Snap is the first mobile game I've spent cash on — what happened? -

Marvel Snap is the first mobile game I’ve spent cash on — what happened?

I don’t know what it is about Marvel Snap, but it’s the first mobile game to get a penny out of me. Ever. It’s one of the few games in general that has managed it. It has gained a place on my mantle of financial shame, alongside Warframe, League of Legends, and World of Warcraft. But how, and why, did this fairly simple card game manage it?

For those not aware of the current app carving out a special corner of my phone’s home screen (and a drain on my battery), Marvel Snap is a collectable card game. Featuring a bunch of Marvel characters with appropriate abilities and comic-esque art, you’ve got to build a deck with whatever you’ve got and battle other like-minded players. As well as a great fan service game, it does a really good job of replicating that childhood feeling of collecting and playing with cards. That’s what got me in.

I’m not the only one with a love/hate relationship with Marvel Snap. Jim is also in bad shape.

You don’t get too many cards too often, which I’m certain is the reason why I decided to bust the wallet out. It’s quite clever, really; you first face off against other players and discover cards as they slap them down. There’s this “ohhh, what’s that card” moment, just like you would get if you were playing a fresh set of Magic the Gathering or YuGiOh cards. That gets your brain jiggling, and has you wondering about how perfect those cards would be in your deck, or what combos you could create. This guy is a loser, I could do so much more with that card.

With great cards comes great responsibility.

So, when you finally secure that card randomly from a collection level reward, there’s this natural excitement where you jump instantly to your collection and tinker away. I had this first with Moon Girl, who I’d seen used alongside Devil Dinosaur to create a pair of jurassic heavy hitters. Being able to see it done, getting the card, and doing it myself felt great. It’s the juice the game is built around.

But, as savvy readers may have assumed, the rate at which you gain cards starts to slow. To gain collection levels, you need credits. Credits don’t come in any slower, but the upgrades for your cards start getting more expensive. Eventually, guaranteed card rewards turn into more varied reward crates, offering a nice splash of credits – or even gold! – every now and again, but lessening your chance of getting new cards.

You end up stuck with the cards you have for longer, and your decks start to solidify. Gameplay-wise this works out. At that point, you’re likely to have the resources to create at least one super solid deck that synergizes together. For me, it was a Morbius discard deck, with a bunch of common cards like Blade, Sword Master and Apocalypse combined with rarer options like Moon Knight, Dracula, and Hell Cow for added value. It does the job well, ahd has undergone several revamps over the past few weeks.

Proper little rogue’s gallery (minus, um, Rogue).

But that hunger is still there. Your deck can always be better, right? This, at least for me, is when the temptation finally spilled over into action, and I bought the premium pass. The live service bread-winner. This gave me a bunch of extra cards, quality boosters, and card variants which were nice… but the true prize for me was the credits. Heaps and heaps of credits, all of which let me harvest more upgrades, more levels, and more cards. The hooks were firmly in.

I think the difference between Marvel Snap and Hearthstone is that individual cards in Marvel Snap actually matter way more. With a deck size of 12, each new card is an explosion of possibilities. Your early decks may seem good at the time, but you slowly come to realise they’re packed with filler. Each upgrade is massive and hugely impactful to your deck, you start seeing the lines to victory clearly, you stop getting so many dud turns, and everything feels better. It’s diabolical.

I’m still not at the point where I’m buying card skins. These are pricey and act as a new pot to dump credits into, rather than a source of more currency. Although, with a nice collection of symbiote variants I may eventually break. Why did Marvel Snap sneak by my defences? Maybe since you can’t buy levels or cards directly the whole deal feels a bit fairer, even if you can buy a battle pass that comes with credits, which are exchanged for collection levels and therefore new cards. I’ve not done the maths, maybe I have been rinsed here, but the whole thing felt more worthwhile than other games I’ve played before. Way more than Genshin, or Raid Shadow Legends.

Big fan of purple, this game.

I think, as far as microtransaction-laden games go, Marvel Snap may have just about found the formula to ease its way into my pocket where so many have failed. I know I’m buying the next season pass, I don’t think I’m gonna whale – but maybe that’s what all future whales think at the beginning. Maybe Marvel Snap has got me down bad.

It looks like I’ll be able to drag friends into the same rough situation soon, as the devs are working on letting you play with friends in Marvel Snap.