Marvel Snap: Mobile Game Review

It is a truth multi-universally acknowledged that finally downloading and playing a mobile game rarely lives up to your expectations based on its advertising. Hence why it has taken me (a dual Marvel and Board-game aficionado) this long to download Marvel Snap.

In my boredom and curiosity, I started playing so that I could tell all you wonderful people if it’s worth your time. In this review I will cover:

  • Basic Gameplay
  • Praise
  • Critiques

Spoiler Alert: I highly recommend it!

It checks all the boxes of a mechanically sound game that is true to its theme. Plus, it’s a deck building game that a) requires zero money and b) explains itself well. While I have a few criticisms, they do not stop me from fully enjoying this fast paced, mildly addictive game.


The end goal of Marvel Snap is for one player to control two out of three locations by having the most power points present there. In total, games last 2-4 minutes (depending on your speed).

Each game consists of 6 rounds (with one exception) in which a player has a set amount of “energy” equal to that round’s number (Ex. 1 energy in Round 1, 2 in Round 2, and so on). Players’ opening hands are comprised of 3 cards.

Each round players play a character card from their hand into the locations. Character cards all have an energy cost and power level, and most characters have an effect. Effects happen either when the character is revealed or as ongoing buffs. Cards that have “On Reveal” powers are played in turn order, which is displayed according to which player’s name tag is glowing. Players may play as many cards as they can afford. Tip: Since Quicksilver’s (Cost 1, Power 2) ability is that he always starts in your hand, having him in every deck you make is the only way to guarantee that you will play in Round 1.

One location is revealed in each of the first three rounds. Locations also have effects such as: increasing or decreasing power, adding cards to your hand for free, or even adding a round to the game.

With all that in mind let’s jump into my praise and critique of Marvel Snap:


Sound Game Mechanics: Marvel Snap is easy to pick up and learn as turns are quite simple. Draw a card, play as many cards as is possible, and hopefully outsmart/overpower your opponent. What’s great is that the abilities scale as you play, learn, and collect. As you progress and adapt your playstyle, you’ll learn ways to optimize your decks and turns.

Organic & Balanced Card Collection: There’s no way to buy more powerful cards. Instead, you collect cards as you play that will increase in difficulty/

In-Game Resources Only for Cosmetics: The only thing you can spend “credits” and “gold” on are variation cards and cosmetic upgrades. Granted, when you upgrade cards faster then you also collect new cards faster. However, for those of us who prefer earning new things by playing this isn’t too big of an issue.

Deck Builder with Zero Set/Clean-Up: This speaks for itself. Deck building is one of my favorite game genres, but it can become unwieldy. Marvel Snap encapsulates the feel of your big box deck builders (such as Marvel’s own “Legendary”) without the time and money commitment. This is an extra bonus when you know that many card and location effects rely on finding, drawing, or adding specific cards.

Expansively Varied Playstyles: Whether you prefer the Hulk’s brute strength or Tony Stark’s clever strategies, Marvel Snap has a playstyle for you. The location effects also even the playing field (literally) by presenting challenges to all playstyles.   

Cosmetic Styles for All Brands of Marvel Fans: When upgrading a card, you make it more visually interesting (such as eventually creating a 3D version). Additionally, you have multiple chances to earn cosmetic variations of your cards in different styles.

Fluid Learning Process: When getting started all text is important and there is no “story” to playthrough. What’s even cooler is that the game will pause temporarily if your opponent plays a card you’ve never seen to alert you to that card’s cost, power, and abilities.


Avatars Feel Semi-“Cultural Appropriation-ish”: As a white cis woman, I am aware that while I can relate to a character’s story arch (i.e. nerdy outcast, strategic mind, etc.) I cannot identify with their cultural background (i.e. minority status, Wakandan nationality, etc.). That’s why it irked me that my beginning avatars were confined to many cultural identities that I have no right to represent myself as. Instead, I believe there should be an option (in addition to character specific avatars) to create a very basic avatar.

Bulky Deck Builder Screen: As you collect cards, the deck builder gets increasingly full (feel free to say “duh” to your screen). The builder does not adapt its accessibility in relationship to either looking for a specific card or condensing card variants. Instead, it is only organized by card cost. In future patches, I would love to see more ways to sort and find cards while building new decks.

Absence of Basic Reference Sheet: The game may be simple, but simple does not always equate to accessible. As a board game style mobile game, Marvel Snap should have a better way of communicating information that I would have available in a rulebook or reference sheet upfront. This includes: all locations and their effects, examples of trickier character card effects, etc.

Cannot Play with IRL Friends: Competition is my love language… my enneagram told me so. It is disappointing that I cannot play Marvel Snap with my friends, fiancé, or even random opponents I meet through the app.

Cannot Commend Opponent: While I am admittedly competitive, I also value good ol’ fashioned sportsmanship. Even as an extremely quick game, I should have a way to tell opponents “GG WP.”

Ambiguous Ranking & Matching System: The only incentive to play (besides enjoyment) is to upgrade and collect cards. As a serious player of games, Skill Rating and Rank are something I am driven by.

Could be Adapted/Expanded to “Legendary” (but I know they never will): Financially, creating a free version of “Legendary” would not be something that Marvel is interested in. However, Snap would be the perfect platform to market their other deck builder to interested players. Fortunately, a close friend of mine already has “Legendary” so I can play it practically on demand, but as I said earlier: set/clean-up is a huge limiting factor. It would be nice to be able to connect with friends all over the US and the world to play both Marvel’s cooperative and competitive deck building game.


If you’re on the fence, you should definitely download Marvel Snap. It’s a great game that is compact and quick. Much of my critique comes directly from me being a hard-core board game nerd and meticulous board game editor. The only thing I wish I could say more is that when you download it, we could play together. Hopefully, this will be updated in a future patch.


Published by JenngaD

Educator. Gamer. Writer.

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