Following a recommendation from my cousin, I found my most recent Android game experience: Blood Brothers. Blood Brothers is part board game, part RPG and part... Pokemon. Except there are no cute and cuddly creatures here, but vampires and all sorts of monsters instead.
At first glance, there doesn't seem to be much to the game. You tap to select a zone to explore, tap the arrow (or Go button) to move in the desired direction, and attack with a simple tap as well. Moving around the map is a bit like moving around a board game, and sometimes you can choose the direction you want to take, normally resulting in a path with more enemies and another with more treasure. Both treasure chests and enemies are visible on the board, and every time you advance three spaces, it consumes one energy. If you run out of energy then you will have to wait to recover or use a specific item.
Attacking happens automatically, with no options to pick spells, skills or any recovery items you may have found.
You can prepare for a battle by setting up your party, to which you can add up to five familiars: two fighting with your warlord, and three others who can be used as a "reserve" to swap places before a battle. The auto-fight happens and in the end you see how much experience your characters have earned. They will also recover their HP fully if they leveled up.
Sometimes at the end of a battle you will be given the chance to do a blood pact with a captured creature by using bone meal, and if the pact works, the creature is added to your roster. You can have up to 50 familiars saved up at any given time. The rest is sent to the wagon and remain there for 24 hours. There are also special coins that allow you to forge blood pacts by using them in the main menu to receive more familiars at random.
But why so many familiars if you can only use a handful at a time in battle? Well, this is where the fun of the game is!
Familiars are ranked by rarity: C for Common, UC for Uncommon, R for Rare and E for Epic. Once you have some familiars you can access the Blood Brothers menu, where you can evolve, empower or bond them. Blood Brothers pact is a good way to get rid of familiars that aren't doing much but taking up room. You can choose a master and up to eight minions, who will be absorbed and disappear from your roster of familiars. Their sacrifice is not in vain though, since they will raise the master's skill level.
Evolution is a great way to create more rare familiars from common ones. All you need to do is combine two of the same familiar (a spawn and a seed) to get a higher class of the same creature. The spawn will then absorb a percentage of the seed's stats and become stronger. The Empower feature uses special crystals to increase familiars' stats.
Other features include daily bonuses, mini-boss and boss fights, PVP fights, which are not mandatory, and you can request other players' help to complete them, and timed events that add up to player rankings. Blood Brothers is a fairly simple game that can keep you fiddling with familiars for a few minutes at a time or adventuring for hours on end.