In many ways, playing a card battler on your swanky blower is the best way to enjoy the compelling hobby - it means you don't have to walk around with more decks stuffed in your trousers than a poker cheat in the Wild West.
Yet not having the tactile pleasure of rifling through your prized collection for the perfect warrior can make it feel like a less satisfying experience.
Spellstorm boldly attempts to distract you from this by bolting on an RPG-lite questline, complete with a talking book and stacks of battle opportunities and boosted by striking monster design and meaty 3D animations for attacks.
It could've worked, too, if only the story weren't so generic and the actual card-battling weren't reduced to AI-handled number-crunching that you can skip over entirely.An evil is rising, again
If you've played a CCG (Collectible Card Game) before then the mechanics of card-management won't be too much of struggle, but newcomers might find the basic tutorial lacking some of the finer detail that's invaluable the longer you play.
To explain, alongside your basic deck of monster archetype warriors - look, a wolf with a sword - there are buffs such as Artifacts (bonus weapons) that need to be assigned to cards, but you'll only figure this out if you play the optional Summoner missions or you happen to stumble across a tiny box on each card in the Deck Management menu.
Fortunately, the main method of perking up your cards, Enhancing, is a more straightforward affair. All you have to do is sacrifice weaker warriors to level-up your better battlers. You'll have to do this a lot, but it does feel like you're actively engaged in building a better deck, making it more rewarding than the combat itself.
In Story mode, for example, you play a young Summoner who encounters a nefarious plot while walking persistently from right to left through woods, castles, and woods again.
Enemies pop up on every screen and can mostly be dispatched by simply tapping on them until all the loot they're carrying tumbles out, which is tedious but mildly compelling. Only occasionally do you have to whip out your cards for a proper duel.Skip to the end
While the 3D scraps look rather gorgeous, as warriors hurl weaponry, spells, and presumably harsh language across the screen at each other, you don't actually have to lift a finger.
I kept jabbing at cards labelled 'Ready', thinking that would activate them, but in reality there's nothing you can do except watch - or hit the 'fast-forward' button and get on with ambling through the woods.
It's the same for multiplayer PvP, too, with matches lost or won based on nothing but having the best cards - something that's easily discerned by looking at a player's rank before taking him on.
This being a freemium game, your progress in the story and up the multiplayer leaderboard depends on how much Energy you have left and how much you spend on sprucing up your deck with B or A rated cards.
It's not a dealbreaker, though, as despite the lacklustre combat and lack of depth you can still eke a few hours of rather insipid gameplay without spending any money.
Or you could just play the mightier Order & Chaos Duels instead.