Marvel Snap has exploded onto the scene with a fresh take on collectible card games, but it still needs to fix major issues with progression.
Since its release in October, Marvel Snap continues to be a huge success. Developer Second Dinner has nailed a quick and strategic game perfect for the mostly mobile audience. However, as fun as it is, the progression system for getting new cards needs work. Marvel Snap doesn’t use the traditional method of opening packs and instead has a collection ranking system. Second Dinner recently updated the system, but it isn’t enough. For players looking to build specific decks, it’s still too expensive and time-consuming to get the necessary cards.
Players mainly acquire new cards by leveling up the cosmetics on cards they already own. This is done through a combination of card-specific “boosters” that are mostly gained by playing with the card and an in-game currency called “credits.” Credits can be bought with gold bars (which are mostly bought as an in-app purchase), earned on the season pass, or acquired through doing daily and weekly missions. As cards are upgraded, they get nicer borders and some minor animations. The player also gains rating points for their overall collection, pushing them up the ladder of unlockable content. The unlocked items are random, but there are three progressing ranges for collection scores, and each gatekeeps the next pool of cards until a certain overall level is met. On top of cards, content unlocked can include items that don’t impact gameplay, such as avatars and taglines.
Players Can’t Choose What Cards They Unlock
The biggest issue with this system is that players have very little control over what cards they have access to. A player will unlock all the cards of a lower rating range before they move to the next card pool, but within each pool, players have no input on what they receive. Like most card games, decks in Marvel Snap are highly synergistic and require very specific cards to function. Adding to this problem, many of those cards are in the highest card pool, and that range has no top-end cap as of now. Therefore, a player can’t simply grind knowing that they will have the needed card by a certain rank, and it can take an extremely long time to unlock all the cards.
The December Update Was Not Enough
In December, Second Dinner addressed the issues with the shop by adding a way to buy specific cards with tokens. However, this is still a minor fix since only one card is offered at a time, and it rotates every eight hours. A player can save the offered card to purchase later if they are short on tokens, but then no new card will be available in the interim from the shop. The tokens needed to get these cards are also unlocked via the collection score track, and they are relatively scarce. As of now, Second Dinner is giving players some tokens to start, but it’s only enough for a few common cards or one or two rare ones. Although this change to the system is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t solve the bigger problem.
Overall, Marvel Snap is an excellent addition to the collectible card game genre. It has fun and satisfying gameplay, and its short game length makes it perfect for mobile. For Marvel Snap to keep growing, the card acquisition system needs to be revamped. Players need to be able to get specific cards through crafting or another mechanism instead of being randomly rewarded them. The token store is a small step in the right direction, but it is nowhere near the overall change that’s necessary.