Things have never been better for Marvel fans, what with all the hit movies taking over Hollywood, with the company now taking over the tabletop world as well, and any fan of its iconic characters and universe is going to find something to love about Spin Master Games and Cardinal's newest title 5-Minute Marvel. As you might surmise from the title, 5-Minute Marvel challenges up to six players with defeating a boss within the five-minute limit, and it makes for a frantic and fun experience that anyone can pick up and play.
5-Minute Marvel is from designer Connor Reid and artist Alex Diochon and has players trying to take down boss characters like Green Goblin, Red Skull, and more, but you'll have to reach them first. To do so, you'll need to use your card deck to produce the correct Resources needed to unlock a series of Door cards, each one requiring a different combination of Resources, which come in Fist, Tech, Shield, Energy, and Jump varieties.
You'll need to work together with the other players to produce the combination needed as quickly as possible, as the timer is continually running, though this is where your hero"s specialty deck comes into play.
As you spend Resource cards, you'll be able to draw your hero's special Action cards, which allow you to do things like defeat Minions or Goons with one card, draw additional cards, defeat Crisis cards, or in some cases pause time, but there is a catch, as you only have a limited pool of those cards to choose from.
It's this mix of strategy, teamwork, tension, and chaos that is so compelling and, more importantly, fun. You'll be frantically pulling cards and using your abilities while also trying to be cognizant of what abilities your fellow players have, because you don't want to get stuck without some handy abilities to knock out the boss, who typically has several types of resources needed to defeat him.
After trying the different heroes, I can safely say that each one feels wholly distinctive from each other, though there are some standouts. Black Widow, Rocket and Groot, and Medusa spring to mind, who all have handy special abilities and a nice mix of support and attack cards in their Action decks. A few characters will take a few tries to master, including a personal favorite in Squirrel Girl, and hopefully, the game will get even more in the future.
Regardless of who you choose, though, the game is going to maintain that same tense energy because there is an almost non-existent learning curve. Anyone, regardless of age or experience, can leap in and start playing within a minute or two, and as for the companion app, it's simple and straight forward, and having Jarvis be the timer is a nice touch.
For those who have more experience, the game offers enough hero variety to keep you playing. It doesn't hurt the game is a delight to look at either, as Diochon's bright and colorful visuals are the perfect complement to the gameplay, and the Resource icons and abilities are eye-catching and clean to eliminate any possible confusion.
5-Minute Marvel is a frenzied and, above all, fun party game that will delight any Marvel fan, but even non-fans will have a ball. It might not be the deepest experience, but it's easy to teach, quick to play, and a visual treat, and, as a result, it is a must for just about any family get-together.
Rating 4 out of 5
5-Minute Marvel is available now.
The publisher provided a copy of this game for the purpose of review.