Marvel Snap cosmetic bundles are missing the mark

Marvel Snap Deck Pools

At least so far.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really enjoying Marvel Snap! I play a few matches every day, and I have favorite cards that I keep in my deck purely out of sentimental value. I like figuring out deck builds on my own rather than looking them up. Not that there’s anything wrong with looking up the tried and true ways to combine cards that work together, but I like the challenge of figuring it out as I go. Which is probably why it is taking me so long to climb the ladder.

Realizing how behind I am, I started thinking about things like the Season Pass or the bundles that I occasionally see. Usually, my eyes just glaze over these things. I have had zero interest in buying anything from Marvel Snap, no matter how much fun it is. When I finally paid attention, I almost spit out my coffee. They want how much for the “Starlit Connection” bundle?!

I clicked on the bundle to get more information. Surely, there have to be powerful, game-changing cards here. Instead, I found two cards that most people will already have in their collection. Sera isn’t revealed until you hit the Pool Three cards around Collection Level 486, but still, that isn’t a hard card to get. Angela has been in my hand for a while because she’s a Pool One card.

The other items are 4,000 credits and two avatars. So what’s the selling point that makes this bundle worth $49.99? The cards and avatars are “Anime Variants.”

Marvel Snap loves variants.

I think Marvel Snap‘s love for variants is interesting. The game seems to have a soft spot for reimagining each card under different themes. Variant changes are purely cosmetic. Each card still behaves the same, and you end up with a copy in your collection. I think the idea behind the variants isn’t just to add personality to your deck though. They give players something to splurge on that won’t turn the game into a pay-to-win monstrosity.

In Marvel Snap, gathering cards is free, so we all end up with the same base cards eventually. Limited-time offers for cool variant art can be tempting. I’m certainly tempted by the new “Savage Land” style, and I wanted that Winterverse Rogue card. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a certain style, as that’s the essence of collections. Variants are achieved through unlocks and upgrades, so hypothetically, any player can achieve them with or without paying.

So what do you pay for?

As I’m writing this, there are a few things you can put your money towards. The “Welcome Bundle” includes a Captain America variant card and avatar as well as 700 gold for $2.99. That’s honestly not a bad price. Even with the variant and avatar aside, 700 gold will buy you one low-level variant in the “Daily Offer” section of the Shop. If you see something you like, you don’t have to save up for it.

Speaking of which, gold is something you can buy in Marvel Snap too. The lowest price available right now is 300 gold for $4.99, and the highest is 8,000 gold for $99.99. So there’s quite the range. That 700 gold that you can use to buy a variant is $9.99 typically, so the “Welcome Bundle” is a nice one-time deal.

Gold is also earned in-game, but very slowly. You can use gold to buy credits as well, but the number of credits, and how often you can buy them, is time limited. For example, 120 gold will get you 150 credits, and 400 gold will get you 500 credits. Credits are then used along with boosters to upgrade cards and move up Collection Levels. The limit keeps you from buying your way to the top too quickly.

Next up is the Premium Season Pass at $9.99. Each new season comes around about once a month and offers a new variant art theme. This month, if you pay $9.99 for the Premium Season Pass, you have the ability to earn three cards, three avatars, two card backs, up to 2600 credits, and up to 1200 gold. I say “ability to earn” because you don’t just receive these items. You unlock them by completing missions.

The missions are pretty easy and can be completed just by playing the game. While I will occassionally add a card to my deck if it looks like it will complete a mission, I usually just let them happen naturally. Some of the Season Pass rewards are free, but many will be locked for Premium purchasers only. This month, I’m eyeing that Zabu card because I don’t have him yet, love the art, and would have already won him if I had Premium. He is the first prize!

So Premium, while something I wouldn’t buy every month, is not an outrageous deal. You make your money back in gold and credits if you play regularly. Plus, it’s nice to support a cool free-to-play game that I’m enjoying. If you pay $14.99 for Premium+, you get the same perks but also immediately advance by 10 levels. Since most regular players are likely to get to about 40 or 50 levels, it’s a nice boost but not unfair.

The most outrageously priced thing is this optional cosmetic bundle. There’s no reason to buy it at all, let alone for $49.99.

Is it a FOMO thing?

This is the only reason I can think of as to why they would ask for this kind of money for a couple of pretty, digital cards. Is it an exclusivity thing? If people are buying these cards just to show off, it’s not the flex they think it is.

Maybe I’m being too cynical. Maybe it’s just a way to easily support the game creators. Marvel Snap is so detailed and dynamic. Every month brings new art and new cards. Plus, the cards are all planned out in such a way that building decks is fun and easy. It really is a great game, and that amount of work should be rewarded. But pricing these cosmetic variant bundles at the same price point as some brand-new games is not a great way to do that.

I’m thinking about what I would be willing to pay for as someone who is kind of cheap but still lacks a certain amount of impulse control. I would say $19.99 would be more reasonable. If they offered Winterverse variants of Gambit and Rogue, I would pay $19.99. I would feel a little guilty about it, but I would buy it. I think if they lowered the price of these bundles, they would sell a lot more of them.

What is the most you’ve spent on cosmetic items in-game?

Sam Arthurs
Sam is a fan of creepy Metroidvanias and artsy platformers. When she isn't writing about video games, she writes scary stories and is currently working on a horror novel. She probably admires Hannibal Lecter a little too much.