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Hogwarts Mystery

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

Now that I’ve played through about half the story, and some new features have been released, I’m back to write a full review! I said in my First Impressions post that there was some things I was happy with in the first 2ish hours of the game, and some things I wasn’t. Unfortunately, that proved to hold true the more I played =(

The setting (pre-books) is definitely interesting. The player meets younger versions of familiar characters we know and love, though there are plenty of new characters too, which is a fun new way to engage with the series. You get to make friends with both old and new faces. You can interact with your friends and level up your friendship cards by having a meal with them, challenging them to a game of Gobstones, and starting with Year 3, buying them a mug of Butterbeer. It’s always a quiz to test your Potter knowledge, and the questions and answers are always the same. It gets quite repetitive.

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Sharing a Butterbeer with your friend Tulip Karuso, a new character.

The classes are repetitive as well. Certain lessons are required to be completed to advance the story, but to unlock THOSE, you need to attend the same class until you get enough stars to unlock it. For example, to unlock Transfiguration’s Mouse to Snuffbox, you need to attend Transfiguration class and complete a lesson you’ve already learned to earn stars. Earning 7 stars will unlock the new lesson. You do level up your attributes this way (Courage, Knowledge, or Empathy, depending on the class), but again, it gets very repetitive very fast. And the lessons follow the same format: clicking on active blue objects, using energy, answering questions or tracing a path on the screen whenever you earn a star, waiting for your energy to refill, rinse and repeat.

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A Potions lesson. You click the active blue objects to “interact” with them, thus losing energy. For each interaction you complete, you fill up the star meter at the top. You finish the class when you get 5/5 stars.

Are you sensing a pattern here? =P

The story… I didn’t quite care for it. I found myself looking forward to the side quests more than actually advancing the main story. The side quests are things like helping your friends brew potions, meeting Hagrid and puppy! Fang, and even assisting with romantic endeavors. These made the game feel more like an authentic Hogwarts experience. The main story shoehorns you into chasing Cursed Vaults to find your missing sibling, whether or not you want to. Call me crazy, but I don’t want to! I just want to learn to be a witch!! I thought having the story set before Harry showed up was to have a nice, quiet, 7 years at Hogwarts!!! I was so wrong 😭

I’ve played it pretty irregularly for a few weeks now because I’ve grown bored with it. The new features they’ve added, such as pets and star dashes for exclusive avatar items, isn’t enough to save it for me. It’s certainly an RPG, but a very closed one. The main story is too rigid to allow the story to unfold your way, unlike other RPGs I’ve played. The side quests are what made it fun for me; they allowed for more fun and a Hogwarts experience more like what I had hoped for. I’ll just have to hold out and save up for a second phone for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite for a Potter mobile game I’ll enjoy more.

– Kathleen

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery – First Impressions

Hogwarts Mystery, as detailed in my last post, is the new Harry Potter mobile game that was released yesterday. I’ve been grinding hard in PoGo all week in preparation for my first ex raid on Sunday to catch Mewtwo, but of course I had to download Hogwarts Mystery and see if it lived up to the hype 😉

It started out as promised. A cutscene of Professor McGonagall writing your acceptance letter begins the game. Players get to create their own student with a character customization screen. Your character then lands in Diagon Alley to shop for books and school supplies. You meet Rowan, a fellow first-year like yourself, who guides you through the tutorial. Then, it’s off to Hogwarts for the Sorting Ceremony, the start of your first year, and the rest of your journey! Will you live up to your older sibling’s reputation, or create an entirely new one for yourself?

The titular “mystery” revolves around your older sibling, and that’s all I’m going to say about that 😉 Characters perceive you based on the reputation your sibling left behind. You have choices on how to respond when NPCs talk to you. Responding in different ways will level up your Courage, Empathy, or Knowledge scores, which will affect the way your story unfolds. Different spells and potions are unlocked and created by attending class, tapping active objects (those that glow blue), and then tracing a path on the screen to cast the spell or finish the potion. In this regard, the gameplay is simple and intuitive, but doesn’t leave much room for error or experimentation as it would if you were really at school. I don’t think I’ve finished the tutorial yet, but the story so far is also very linear. I haven’t had a chance to explore Hogwarts yet, which is something I had been looking forward to. Perhaps I’ll get a chance to later in the story.

There is a huge let-down right off the bat. I had been assuming that your wand and House assignation would be determined by a quiz, like in Pottermore. I was sooo wrong. You are assigned a wand based on a single dialogue exchange with Ollivander, and you choose your own House. I remember taking the Pottermore quizzes with great care and anticipation, wanting my wand to perfectly reflect my personality and crossing my fingers for Hufflepuff. I remember being elated when my wand came out perfectly, when I was indeed sorted into Hufflepuff. Being assigned one thing and choosing the other felt like being cheated out of that experience. I can see why they did it that way – it moved the beginning along quickly, and some players might have deleted the game had they not gotten the wand/House they wanted. However, they could have made shorter, easier quizzes that players could get through quickly, and made the answers a little more obvious for the Sorting.

Though being cheated out of the experience of assigning my wand/being sorted into my House, I am enjoying the game. It’s not a huge time sink and can be set aside and picked up at the player’s convenience. The graphics are, frankly, stunning. I had no idea that mobile games could look so great! I probably have to progress further to unlock more of the RPG and open-world elements I’m looking for, but for now, I’m just having a ball indulging my inner 11 year old, forever waiting for her Hogwarts acceptance letter.

Kathleen

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