The problem with Blood Brothers is that it's not a game. It's dressed up like a game, with graphics, numbers, and a semblance of a story, but when it comes down to it there's almost no playing involved whatsoever.

Much like its stablemate Rage of Bahamut, Blood Brothers entices you in with pretty fantasy artwork and a promise of progression, and then abandons you to swan off and play the game on its own.

It's like a mean older brother who shows you the new toys he's got and then relegates you to peering over his shoulder as he battles demons with them.

Pact to the rafters

The mechanics at the core of Blood Brothers are stolidly those of the card-battler. You pick a character as your warlord (who's a nice kind of vampire) and then lead a brigade of soldiers across a wartorn country in order to restore peace.

This means traipsing across a game board, using up energy for every space you move, picking up treasure, and fighting battles against the forces of darkness. Except you're not really fighting - you're spectating.

When you land on a space occupied by villains you're whisked away to the battle screen. Here, you tap a button, then sit back and watch a turn-based fight between the two sides. Once you've won, you'll get some XP, and maybe even the chance to form a pact with your vanquished assailants.

These pacts get you new monsters, some of whom you'll invite to join your army, and some of whom you'll perform arcane rituals upon to absorb their power and make other characters stronger.

Red card

It is, not to put too fine a point on it, as dull as ditchwater. The only input you get is the position and formation of your forces, and - to be frank - that doesn't really seem to make much difference to the outcome of fights.

Occasionally there are PvP battles and Raid bosses, but these last as long as the single-player fights, and are just as bland.

The monsters themselves are pretty impressive-looking, but this is a game with almost no player input, save for the odd tap here and there, and the occasional choice of where to go on the map.

There are no spells or special moves to train or retrain, nor any deep strategies to outfox your opponents with. You tell the game when to start a fight, then you can put your iOS device down for a while while the sprites bash into one another and numbers flash up on the screen.

Card-battler fanatics may find this gentle hands-off repetition addictive, but most will prefer something a little more interactive.