Upon the conclusion of the Harry Potter series, J.K. [Queen] Rowling said that, “Hogwarts would always be there to welcome you home” and fans have found this to be true with the release of a spin-off franchise, the opening of multiple amusement parks and, now, with the newly released game, “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.” “Hogwarts Mystery” is a role playing game which was released for mobile devices by Portkey Games on April 25, 2018.

After downloading the game, players can design and name their own Avatar before entering the Wizarding World, getting a wand and selecting a Hogwarts house. Yet, the game was not quite what many players had expected. I personally expected the game to be similar to the old “Pottermore” set up, where players could collect ingredients and brew potions, interact with other non-CPU players and be sorted through quizzes. Instead, sorting was decided with a click of a finger where the player simply selects which house they wish to be in. However, as you play the game, spontaneous Harry Potter trivia questions, which grow harder with each level, do crop up for players to answer and players can earn more “House Points” during whatever activity the trivia question comes up during if they answer correctly.

The game is story-based. Meaning, the player is swept into a pre-made storyline. In this case, the player is put into a situation where their older brother, a former Hogwarts student, allegedly went mad and disappeared. Now a new student at Hogwarts, the player must fight against the negative expectations and prejudices their professors and fellow students have against them. Regardless of which house the player selects, their rival is a Slytherin and Professor Snape is firmly against the player’s every action.

Yes. Severus Snape. In regard to the franchise timeline, the events of this game begin the year after Harry Potter defeated Voldemort — the first time. So all of the characters who died in the books and films are back — including Snape, Albus Dumbledore and even Nymphadora Tonks, who appears during “third year.”

Continuing, the player has little control over the game. While there is some freedom over what the character’s strengths are, with players being able to choose tasks and responses that boost characteristics of “empathy,” “knowledge” and “courage,” most of the tasks are very set. Meaning, you select which task you want to complete, like a potions class, and then you simply hit buttons until your energy runs out — and then you have to wait for your energy to refill. Disappointingly, this is unlike in the original “Pottermore” where, for example, players had to search for and pick their own ingredients for potions, wait the right time periods as the potions brewed and so on, resulting in each person having specialties in different subjects rather than those specialties being automatically set by the game.

Overall, I give the game 3/5 stars. While the energy level ensures no one spends hours on their phone playing the game, it’s really aggravating when you’re in the middle of a time constrained task and need to wait hours to get your energy back up. The lack of interaction and choice in the game is also a downside, I really love potions, and I would love it if my character could become better at that than at Quidditch, but the game does not offer that option. However, “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery” is also oddly addicting. I’m curious about how the story plays out as well as how future characters from the books will appear and act within the game, the graphics are really good and, despite having no idea how to do so, my Harry Potter nostalgia is making me determined to win Hufflepuff the House Cup.

Go Hufflepuff!

About The Author

-- Executive Editor Emeritus -- English Literature & Film, Television, and Media Arts

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