Games of the Year 2022: Marvel Snap

Marvel Snap is the best digital card game I've ever played on mobile.  In general, it's one of the best digital cards games I've played in years.

Their are a few key factors here.  The two biggest of which are the speed of play (fast) and the monetization (cosmetic).  This isn't a trashy mobile pay to win game.  If you want to spend money, you can spend it on cosmetics but you can't spend it on power.  As you "upgrade" cards you're just upgrading how cool they look, you aren't upgrading how good they are against other players.  Which means this game can actually be balanced and fun for everyone.

The speed of a single game is also super fast.  Most of my games last 2-5 minutes and that's just about perfect.  You only ever play six turns and then the game is over.  It's enough time to engage your brain and feel like you actually did something mentally stimulating, but short enough that it's not a big deal to lose and you never feel like you're on tilt in a negative way.  I've been able to consistently find ways to fit this game into my life because of the approachable match lengths.

Compare this to something like MTGA, which is another excellent digital card game, but the match length of a MTGA is so much longer.  It requires more of a commitment and, if you lose a few in a row, it's so easy to fall into a bad headspace about it.  Marvel Snap is breezy and lightweight in comparison.

There's also so much room here for interesting interactions.  I bought the first battle pass not because I wanted the cosmetics but because it had interesting challenges in it.  I love a good mini-challenge to work towards and Marvel Snap is constantly throwing those my way.  Not to mention the new locations they are rolling out regularly which change up the gameplay without fundamentally messing with your cards or decks.

Marvel Snap is still very new in full release but it comes roaring out of launch and into my top games of the year at number five:

  1. Elden Ring
  2. Xenoblade Chronicles 3
  3. FFXIV Endwalker
  4. Citizen Sleeper
  5. Marvel Snap
  6. The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe
  7. Horizon Forbidden West
  8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
  9. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
  10. Chrono Cross: Radical Dreamers Edition
  11. Cult of the Lamb
  12. Neon White
  13. Halo Infinite
  14. Vampire Survivors
  15. Gotham Knights
  16. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
  17. Playdate Season 1
  18. Immortality
  19. Cyberpunk 2077
  20. Forza Horizon 5 Hot Wheels DLC
  21. Triangle Strategy
  22. Mario Strikers: Battle League
  23. Multiversus Pre-Season
  24. Stray
  25. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
  26. Nobody Saves the World
  27. Unpacking
  28. Kaichu
  29. Tinykin
  30. Splatoon 3
  31. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
  32. Shovel Knight Dig
  33. Total War: Warhammer 3
  34. Tunic
I'm pleasantly surprised to be adding a game this high up the rankings this late in the year.  There are really only a couple games left to come out this year that might land higher than this.  There's a chance this could slip to spot six or seven by the end of the year but it could just as easily stay at number five through year end.


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