Marvel Snap contains a ton of variants for each base card in the game. Some of these variants feature different poses or place the heroes in completely new outfits. Others are a bit wackier, with heroes sporting odd costumes or anime-like variants of popular heroes such as Hawkeye or Spider-Man. But by far the most common variant in the game, with nearly every hero having one, is Snap’s pixel art cards. And sadly, many of them are ugly and not much fun or rewarding to upgrade.
For those living under a rock or who have checked the internet in the last few weeks, Marvel Snap is a free-to-play online card game that is built around speed and random nonsense. Every card in the game is a Marvel character or creature. Players build 12 card decks to compete in fast-paced 6-turn matches that revolve around three randomly chosen zones, each with their own abilities and quirks. It’s a very good game, one that has completely consumed my life in the last few months. And a big part of the game’s progression is unlocking cards and upgrading the cosmetics to unlock more cards and resources. And not to be dramatic, but every time I upgrade a pixel art variant I shed a single, sad tear.
A lot of the pixel art variants in Snap look bad. A lot of them seem like the kind of art you might have found on Newgrounds back in the early 2000s. Some pixel art variants aren’t too horrible, like Lockjaw or Morph, but the rest? They tend to feature few details and what’s there is often messy or small. Other pixel art variants in Snap aren’t great for the opposite reason, with far too many details leading to a busy and not-appealing card. Upgrading them doesn’t improve anything either. In fact, some pixel art variants barely change at all when upgraded. When variant unlocks are rare and actually purchasing them is incredibly expensive, getting a Pixel card becomes particularly disappointing.
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It doesn’t help that the competition looks great. When you compare most of the other variants to the pixel art ones it makes things even worse. For example, I love the Dan Hipp variants in the game, which are fluffy, cute, and colorful, and would trade all of my pixel art ones in for just one cool new Hipp version of say, Wolverine.
And sadly, the pixel art variants seem to be the most common in Snap at this time. I see Pixel variants in matches more than other types of cards. Nearly every villain and hero has a pixel art version which is frustrating for some characters who don’t have many cool variants to begin with. All these pixel art variants also means that after only a few hours of playing Marvel Snap, you’ll likely have at least a few of these ugly cards in your library. Eventually, you’ll likely have to upgrade them to reach new card collection levels. But even still, wasting resources on these cards hurts every time.
There’s not really an easy solution to this problem. You can’t remove the cards because some people like them, not all of them are bad and at this point, people have invested real money into upgrading and unlocking them. Instead, I’d love to see a second series of pixel art or video game variants that is more inspired by Marvel Vs Capcom or SNES titles like Marvel Superheros: War Of The Gems. For now, I’ll keep upgrading these things. But I won’t like it.