There's undoubtedly a really good arena brawler for iOS on someone's drawing board right now. But as sure as I am of that, I'm equally certain Oh My Heroes! won't be its inspiration.

While the developer has promised substantial updates (including a single-player mission mode) to Oh My Heroes!, it can't really be recommended in its current multiplayer-only form.

That's particularly disappointing given that it gets off to a very promising start.

During a pleasingly businesslike cartoon intro, you're introduced to a fantasy world where crystals allow characters to respawn. That's just about it for narrative motivation, mind. Once the game's connected with the server, you're thrown into battle.

With so many mobile game experiences, designers commit the cardinal sin of getting off to a sluggish start. Here, though, immediacy is prized above all else. And that's good to see.

Fighting fantasy

On-screen buttons enable you to run left and right, plus jump and attack. Depending on which character you've chosen, you can do anything from lob bombs to fire bolts of magic. Perhaps the best starter character, however, is the Warrior, who has good speed and attack stats and a healthy amount of HP.

Your main objective never changes, though: kill the other guys. Whether you're playing Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, or Crystal Mine Control (King of the Hill in all but name), that's about the long and short of it.

You need to stay close to the crystals to capture them for points in Crystal Mine Control mode, but the action invariably descends into a frantic melee.

While the controls are responsive and the action fast paced, it all seems a little shallow, with scant room for genuine tactics. Feedback is poor, with opponents simply disappearing when vanquished. Most of the time, skirmishes just degenerate into two combatants wailing on the 'attack' button until one is defeated.

Crystal chronicles

That is, unless you've earned enough small crystals for one of the two special moves attributed to each character. And here's where Triniti Interactive wanders awkwardly into the minefield of monetisation.

Now, you don't have to pay a penny for the upgrades. But to even unlock the first set of powers, you need to spend your small crystal supply on every character class first. Then, you need to buy the primary powers for all five before you even unlock the secondary power for your character of choice.

This wouldn't be too bad if the game maker wasn't so stingy with the crystals. The most I earned in a single match (a 16:1 win on Crystal Mine Control) was 87.

Given that it costs 5000 crystals to buy all the primary powers, though, you can see how long you'll have to play to unlock them. And that's assuming you're not paying out the 10 crystals it costs to instantly respawn.

Fools rush in

You could, of course, wait the agonising ten seconds to manually revive your character. In some cases, however, that would be sufficient time to say farewell to your game session.

Disconnections here are frequent to the point of ludicrousness. The desire to set you up with a match at the earliest opportunity can often result in your getting paired up with a single opponent. I won a match with a single kill in 14 seconds.

If that wasn't bad enough, it's possible on occasion to pick up a single item that totally unbalances the game. Collect the x4 Attack Power bonus, for example, and you can cut a swathe through opponents in seconds.

At Oh My Heroes!'s heart, there is a solid concept, some decent art, and a laudable desire to keep players in the action with as few delays as possible. Beyond that, it's difficult to find something to praise. The wait for a great iOS arena brawler continues...