Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

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Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
Cover art for Hogwarts Mystery video game.jpg
Display art for Hogwarts Mystery
Developer(s)Jam City
Publisher(s)Jam City
SeriesWizarding World
Platform(s)Android, iOS
Release25 April 2018
Genre(s)Role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a role-playing video game developed and published by Jam City under license from Portkey Games. The game was inspired by the Wizarding World. It was released on 25 April 2018 for Android and iOS devices. The game is set in Hogwarts before the events of the Harry Potter novels, featuring a customisable protagonist. The game received mixed reviews from critics; it has been praised for its use of the Harry Potter license but widely criticised for its highly aggressive microtransactions. The game has grossed US$110 million as of March, 2019.[1]

Gameplay[edit]

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a role-playing video game set in the Harry Potter universe established by J. K. Rowling's series of novels.[2] The game is set between Harry's birth and his enrollment at Hogwarts.[2] Players can create and customise their own personal avatar, who is a student attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a British school for magic.[3] They can attend magic classes, learn spells, battle rivals, and embark on quests.[3] Through the game's encounter system, players make choices that affect the game's narrative, though sometimes these choices are locked if the player's statistics are not high enough.[3] Players can interact with notable characters from the series, such as Albus Dumbledore, Rubeus Hagrid, Severus Snape, and Minerva McGonagall.[2]

The game features a system with tasks that cost energy to perform.[4] Players tap on the screen to move the character between places, and each leveling up reveals new outfits and other unlockables.[4] The player also gains different levels of courage, empathy, and knowledge by making choices in game, with higher levels of a particular attribute allowing the player to choose some different dialogue options in game and change interactions with other students and staff.[5] Players can also create friendships with non-player characters by eating with them in the Great Hall, drinking Butterbeer with them in the Three Broomsticks pub, or playing Gobstones with them in the courtyard. The player is introduced to these activities at certain levels.[6][7]

House points keep track of the race for the House Cup. At the end of each year, the house with the most house points gets the house cup. One earns house points by going to class and progressing through the story. Professors can deduct house points if the player's performance is unsatisfactory.[8]

Plot[edit]

In Diagon Alley, the player meets Rowan Khanna, a young witch or wizard[a] who teaches the player about the wizarding world. A conversation with Ollivander reveals that the player character's brother, Jacob, was expelled from Hogwarts for attempting to open the "Cursed Vaults," hidden vaults rumoured to have existed at the school.

Upon visiting Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore announces that Harry Potter is safe, thus revealing that the events of the game are set in the year of his escape from Voldemort as a child. After being sorted into a house,[b] daily life at Hogwarts starts. During a Potions lesson with Professor Snape, the player character is docked house points after a Slytherin called Merula Snyde sabotages the character's cauldron. A fake letter is sent to the House—supposedly by Snape—saying that an errand run would win back the player's house points; however, the letter was in fact written by Merula and leads the player into a room with Devil's Snare, forcing the player to escape from the snare. Following this, the player attempts to learn how to duel by searching for a book on duelling. The player also starts to hear voices as well as premonitions about the Cursed Vaults. Later, the player confronts Merula when she starts to harass Ben Copper, a first-year Muggle-born Gryffindor boy, and challenges her to a wizard's duel. The duel ends with Professor Snape and Professor Flitwick finding them fighting. While completing a task for his/her prefect, the player has a vision of ice surrounding Hogwarts. On another occasion, the player overhears a conversation between Snape and Filch, the caretaker, about the location of the Cursed Vaults. The player, accompanied by Rowan, Merula, and first-year Hufflepuff Penny, enters the vault. Rowan, Merula, and Penny end up getting trapped in the ice. After saving them, the player notices carvings on the wall. Rowan memorises them while Penny gets everyone out. After escaping, the player and Rowan realise the vault they were in wasn't the real Cursed Vault. Rowan tells the player that he/she will start trying to decipher the carvings. At the end of the year, Dumbledore congratulates the player for being brave.

During second year, Rowan is attacked by the ice, leading to his/her ending up in the Hogwarts hospital wing. The player duels Merula again, defeating her this time. After Rowan recovers, he/she tells the player to enter the vault accompanied by Bill Weasley, a fourth year with some polished skills, resulting in Bill's also being affected by the ice. The player again tries to open the vault along with Bill and successfully opens it after a duel with an ice knight. The player then finds out about the presence of other vaults through the voice of the player's brother. The player also discovers a broken wand and a book in the vault, both of which belong to Jacob. When Professor McGonagall finds out about the player's entry in the vault, she sends the player to Professor Dumbledore's office, but the player is once again commended for bravery.

During the third year welcome speech, Professor Dumbledore forbids students to open the Cursed Vaults. A boggart attacks Penny in Herbology class. Merula convinces two Slytherin students to accompany her in her search for the other Vaults. To find more about the disguised quills, the player tries to contact Madam Rosmerta in the Three Broomsticks and finds another clue through the quill. The player finds out about a corridor in which Jacob used to hide secrets and tries to open it, but he/she finds it locked and the name "Tulip Karasu" engraved on the lock. The lock has two keyholes, and the keys remain with Merula and Tulip. After befriending Tulip, the player comes to know that Merula also tried to lure Tulip into the secret of Cursed Vaults and possesses another key into one of them. The player tries to get the key from Merula with the help of Tulip. The player defeats Merula in another duel, and Merula gives her key to the player. The second Cursed Vault is located within the Restricted Section of the library, and with the help of Merula's ex-bodyguard Barnaby Lee, the player duels Vault Boggarts that have taken the form of Lord Voldemort, defeating them with the Riddikulus Charm. Using the broken wand found in the first Vault,[c] the player opens the second to find a broken arrow and a map of the Forbidden Forest. After this, the player is sent to the Headmaster's Office to meet with Dumbledore.

At the start of year four, Dumbledore introduces Patricia Rakepick, a famed Curse-Breaker,[d] whom he has brought in to find the next Cursed Vault on his behalf. Tulip and other students are later discovered sleepwalking toward the Forbidden Forest, which appears to be the location of the third Cursed Vault. The player asks the Care of Magical Creatures teacher, Professor Silvanus Kettleburn, for access to the Forbidden Forest, only to be attacked by a cloaked-figure, who claims to be a messenger. The player, after recovering, learns that the best way to enter the forest is by flying. To enter the Forest, the player accepts the help of Charlie Weasley. The player again enters the Forest to find clues about the next Vault, and the player meets a centaur named Torvus, who was dismissed from the centaur camp for giving Jacob a jeweled arrowhead. The player deals with Torvus for the location of the Vault for the jeweled arrowhead. The player meets Sickleworth, Madam Rakepick's niffler. The player borrows Sickleworth[e] to search for the missing arrowhead. Sickleworth finds the arrow in a Red Cap's Lair, and the player enlists the help of Penny Haywood to make a beautification potion, which helps the player succeed in getting the arrowhead. The player returns it to Torvus, who is ready to take the player to the Cursed Vault at the condition that Hagrid accompanies them, since the vault is guarded by an acromantula. The player learns Arania Exumai from Madam Rakepick and persuades Hagrid. While the player, along with Charlie and Rowan meet to plan their entrance in the cursed vault, the cloaked-figure attacks again, but Madam Rakepick saves them. The figure is revealed to be Ben, who has no recollection of attacking the player. The player then goes to the Cursed Vault, defeats the acromantula and opens the vault using the jewelled arrowhead, thus breaking the sleepwalking curse. A small sweater and a portrait of a dragon is found inside the vault. As the group leaves the vault towards Hogwarts, Dumbledore arrives along with Filch, and though pleased by the player's bravery in breaking the sleepwalking curse, insists that the player has broken rules and punishes the player with detention next year. The year ends, with the news that Madam Rakepick will be teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts next year.

The fifth year begins with Professor McGonagall giving the welcome speech on behalf of Dumbledore, who is out of Hogwarts and introducing Madam Rakepick as the Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor. The player meets Beatrice Haywood, Penny's sister and visits Ben, who is still uncomfortable after the last incident of him attacking the player. Madam Rakepick then calls Merula, Bill and the player, and forms a team which will help her find the cursed vault. While Bill, Merula and the player are discussing their meeting with Rakepick the next day, Penny arrives and says that Beatrice is missing. After a thorough search of school, Merula finds Beatrice trapped in a portrait. Rakepick tells that this is the beginning of the sleepwalking curse, and it will be broken as soon as they locate the cursed vault and break the curse. The player meets and befriends Jae Kim, who is also serving detention in kitchens along with the player under the house elf Pitts.

Characters[edit]

There are many other characters beside the player.

Rowan Khanna - Rowan is the player's first friend, who the player meets in diagon alley. He/She is intelligent and his/her knowledge helps the player in many tricky situations. He/She aspires to become the youngest Professor at Hogwarts.

Ben Copper - Ben is a scared, uncomfortable muggle - born Gryffindor, who is often teased by other students for his cowardice. He is really good at charms and has a complicated personality, but he helps the player in his or her tasks.

Penny Haywood - Penny is a smart, beautiful and popular Hufflepuff, who is exceptional at potions. She knows all the rumours going around Hogwarts and helps the player throughout his or her journey. She is the elder sister of Beatrice.

Merula Snyde - Merula is a cunning and ambitious Slytherin, who claims be the most powerful witch at Hogwarts. She is the player's first rival at Hogwarts, though they have a bittersweet relationship and she helps the player when needed.

Quidditch[edit]

A new Quidditch feature was added to the game in September 2019. Quidditch was one of the most demanded features in the game. The player has to drag circles at correct places to win the match. They have released two seasons of Quidditch : Season - 1 Features the character playing the role of a chaser and Season - 2 as a Beater. By playing Quidditch, We get introduced to various new characters like Skye Parkin, a chaser on the team, Orion Amari, the captain, and Murphy McNully, the Quidditch commentator.

Development and release[edit]

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery was developed and published by Los Angeles-based mobile video game company Jam City.[9] The game was licensed to Portkey Games, a publishing label established by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to create games based on Harry Potter.[3] Hogwarts Mystery was Portkey's debut game.[3] Actors from the Harry Potter film series make up the voice cast for the staff of Hogwarts in the game, including Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Gemma Jones, Sally Mortemore, Warwick Davis, and Zoë Wanamaker, who all voice their respective characters from the films.[10]

The game was announced on 18 January 2018.[3] The game was scheduled for release on Android and iOS mobile devices and was later released on 25 April 2018.[10][11] The game's release featured many components found in freemium (free-to-play) games, such as microtransactions.[11] Following backlash from fans, many of these microtransactions were reduced in price.[12]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic43/100[13]
Review scores
PublicationScore
IGN3.5/10[14]
Gamezebo4/5 stars[15]
App Advice7.9/10[16]
Pocket Gamer2.5/5 stars[17]
The Guardian2/5 stars[18]

According to Metacritic, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery received "generally unfavourable" reviews.[13] Marc Hewitt from Gamezebo praised the concept of a Harry Potter mobile game and stated that Hogwarts Mystery "largely lives up to the hype."[15] Christine Chan from App Advice commented that Hogwarts Mystery is a "nice representation" of the world set out in Harry Potter and commended the game for letting her "live out [her] Hogwarts dreams."[16]

However, the use of "energy" and frequent enticements to pay real-world money for microtransactions in the game was widely criticised. One notable example highlighted by critics was an early scene in which the player is subject to being strangled by a Devil's Snare, during which his/her energy is immediately depleted; the player must then either wait around half an hour for energy to replenish or spend real-world money to receive immediate energy instead.[19] The developers later defended the scene in an interview and disregarded suggestions of its controversial nature.[20] GameZebo commented that the "[r]estrictive energy system rears its head early" and called the game "slow."[15] Christine Chan from App Advice said the timers and energy system "left a sour taste in [her] mouth."[16] Emily Sowden from Pocket Gamer called the use of free-to-play mechanics "maddening" and described the experience as being "behind a paywall."[17]

Kotaku also commented on the game's use of these mechanics, saying, "where the game falters, is how it implements its free-to-play elements".[21] Kotaku interviewed one user that even took up writing Harry Potter fanfiction because it "kicked me out so frequently."[22] David Jagnaeux from IGN Africa called it "awful," describing the microtransactions as "gratuitous" and stating that they "actively prevented" him from enjoying the game.[14] The Guardian called Hogwarts Mystery "a dull game with a great concept, made unplayable by its hyper-aggressive monetisation."[18]

The game was awarded Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game during the 2018 Dragon Awards.[23] The game was nominated for Best Breakthrough Game during the 2019 Google Play Awards but lost to Marvel Strike Force.[24][25] As of August 2018, the game has grossed $55 million[26] and has grossed US$110 million as of March, 2019.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Same gender as the player character[citation needed]
  2. ^ Whichever house the player chooses, Rowan is also sorted into this house.
  3. ^ The vault would only open with "The ultimate sacrifice": the act of giving up magic
  4. ^ A Cursebreaker being a breaker of mysterious curses, similar to a bounty hunter.
  5. ^ Nifflers are attracted towards shiny things.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nelson, Randy. "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Summons More Than $100 Million Since Launch". Sensor Tower Blog. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Frank, Allegra (18 January 2018). "Harry Potter RPG features familiar faces — but not Harry's". Polygon. Archived from the original on 18 January 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Alexander, Julia (5 April 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery RPG launches later this month, stars original cast". Polygon. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b MacDonald, Keza (25 April 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery – a wizarding fantasy on your phone?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  5. ^ Webb-Lidall, Alice (23 April 2018). "How to return to Hogwarts (on your phone)". The Spinoff. Archived from the original on 30 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  6. ^ Cooper, Dalton (30 May 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Update Adds Friend Encounters". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  7. ^ Cooper, Dalton. "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery – How to Level Up Friends". Gamerant. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  8. ^ Solarka (30 May 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery secret". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Jam City Unveils Teaser Trailer and New Details for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Mobile Game". Gamasutra. 18 January 2018. Archived from the original on 18 January 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  10. ^ a b Frank, Allegra (18 January 2018). "Harry Potter RPG features familiar faces — but not Harry's". Polygon. Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b Tarantola, Andrew (25 April 2018). "The latest Harry Potter mobile game puts Hogwarts in your pocket". Engadget. Archived from the original on 25 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  12. ^ Arif, Shabana (3 May 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Discounts Its Microtransactions Following Heavy Criticism - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  14. ^ a b Jagneaux, David (4 May 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Review". IGN Africa. Retrieved 4 May 2018. l
  15. ^ a b c Hewitt, Marc (26 April 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery review". Gamezebo. Archived from the original on 30 April 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  16. ^ a b c Chan, Chritine. "Live Out Your Wizarding Dreams in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery". AppAdvice. Archived from the original on 26 April 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  17. ^ a b Sowden, Emily (25 April 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Review". Pocket Gamer. Archived from the original on 30 April 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  18. ^ a b MacDonald, Keza (4 May 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery review: a shameless shake-down". the Guardian. Retrieved 4 May 2018. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a dull game with a great concept, made borderline unplayable by its hyper-aggressive monetisation.
  19. ^ Phillips, Tom. "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery forces you to pay - or wait - to save a kid from being strangled". Eurogamer. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  20. ^ https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2019-05-30-the-clash-between-storytelling-and-selling-in-harry-potter-hogwarts-mystery
  21. ^ Jackson, Gita (26 April 2018). "Mobile Game Hogwarts Mystery Is Like A Harry Potter Book That Keeps Asking For Money". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 28 April 2018. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Hogwarts Mystery Player gets bored waiting for energy meters writers fanfic". Kotaku.
  23. ^ "Jam City". www.jamcity.com.
  24. ^ https://www.androidauthority.com/2019-google-play-awards-979976/
  25. ^ https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/342193/Marvel_Strike_Force_and_Shadowgun_Legends_honored_at_2019_Google_Play_Awards.php
  26. ^ "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery hits $55 million revenue in just over three months". Pocket Gamer. 9 August 2018.

External links[edit]