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)Portkey Games
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 inspired by J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World. The game was developed by Jam City and published by Portkey Games, and 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 was praised for its use of the Harry Potter licence, but widely criticised for its aggressive microtransaction technique.

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.[1] The game is set between Harry's birth and his enrolment to Hogwarts.[1] Players can create and customise their own personal avatar who is a student attending Hogwarts, a British school for magic.[2] They can attend magic classes, learn spells, battle rivals and embark on quests.[2] Through the game's encounter system, players are able to make choices that affect the game's narrative (and sometimes these choices are locked if the player's statistics are not high enough).[2] Players can interact with notable characters from the series such as Albus Dumbledore, Rubeus Hagrid, Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall.[1]

The game features a system with tasks costing energy to perform.[3] Players tap on screen to move the character between places, and level up revealing new outfits, and other unlockables.[3] The player also gains different levels of courage, empathy and knowledge by choices in game, with higher levels of a particular attribute allowing the player to choose some different dialogue options in game and change the interactions of other students and staff.[4] Players also have the ability to create friendships with non-player characters, by eating in the great hall, drinking in the Three Broomsticks pub or playing "gobstones" with them.[5][6]

Plot[edit]

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

Upon visiting Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore announces that Harry Potter is safe and 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 in Hogwarts starts. During a Potions lesson with Professor Snape, the player character is docked house points, after a Slytherin called Merula Snyde sabotaged the character's cauldron. A fake letter is sent to the House, supposedly by Snape that an errand run would win the player back their house points; however, it is in fact written by Merula and leads the player into a room with a Devil's Snare, forcing them to escape from the snare. Following this, the player character attempts to learn how to duel by searching for a book on duelling and hears voices, and premonitions of the Cursed Vaults. Later on, the player character confronts Merula when she starts to harass Ben Copper, a first-year Muggle-born Gryffindor boy, and challenges them to a wizard's duel. The duel ends with Snape and Professor Flitwick finding them fighting.

The player, along with Merula, overhears Argus Filch and Snape discussing the Cursed Vaults. The player attempts to investigate but is caught by Mrs. Norris, Filch’s cat. This prompts the player to hatch a plan to slip Mrs. Norris a "sleeping draught" potion in order to further investigate the vaults. To do this the player enlists the help of Penny Haywood, a popular Hufflepuff first year who specialises in potions making. The trio gain entry to the corridor, but are bested by Merula, who proceeds through the door first, but is trapped by enchanted ice, which the player destroys and helps everyone escape. Later, the player is summoned to meet Professor Dumbledore. Dumbledore reprimands the player for breaking school rules, but congratulates them on their bravery. The player then ends their first year, and promise Rowan to do further research on the Cursed Vaults over the summer.

Second year begins with the mysterious disappearance of Ben. The player is tasked with asking students and faculty for details on his whereabouts. After finding out that the disappearance is connected to the Cursed Vaults, the player and Rowan enter the vault where Rowan is attacked by the ice. Rowan ends up in Hogwarts Infirmary. Another duel against Merula and the player occurs when again she is defeated. 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 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 finds out about the presence of other vaults through the voice of the player's brother. A broken wand and a book are also discovered in the vault which belongs to Jacob. When Professor McGonagall finds out about the player's entry in the vault, the player is sent to Professor Dumbledore's office but is once again commended for bravery.

Professor Dumbledore announces that he forbids the students to open the Cursed Vaults during the third year welcome speech. A boggart attacks Penny in the Herbology class. Merula lures two Slytherin students to accompany her in the search of the other vaults. To find more about the disguised quills, the player tries to contact Madam Rosemerta in the Three Broomsticks and finds another clue through the quill. The player finds out about a corridor where Jacob used to hide some secrets and tries to open but finds it locked with a name, Tulip Karasu upon the lock.

After befriending her, 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. Merula again gets defeated in another duel by the player and gives the key to the player. The second cursed vault is located within in the Restricted section of the library, and with the help of Merula's ex-bodyguard Barnaby Lee, the player duels against Boggarts within the vault that have taken the form of Lord Voldemort, defeating them with the riddikulus jinx. Using the broken wand found in the first vault to open,[c] the player finds 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.

Dumbledore introduces Patricia Rakepick, a famed Cursebreaker,[d] who is brought in to find the next Cursed Vault on behalf of the faculty. Tulip and other students are later discovered sleepwalking towards the Forbidden Forest, which appears to be the location of the third cursed vault. Asking the care for 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.

Development and release[edit]

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery was developed by Los Angeles-based mobile video game developer Jam City.[7] The game was published by Portkey Games, a label established by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to create games based on Harry Potter.[2] Hogwarts Mystery was Portkey's debut game.[2] 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.[8]

The game was announced on 18 January 2018.[2] The game was scheduled for release on Android and iOS mobile devices, and was later released on 25 April 2018.[8][9] The game's release featured many components found in freemium (free-to-play) games, such as microtransactions.[9] Following backlash from fans, many of these microtransactions were reduced in price.[10]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic43/100[11]
Review scores
PublicationScore
IGN3.5/10[12]
Gamezebo4/5 stars[13]
App Advice7.9/10[14]
Pocket Gamer2.5/5 stars[15]
The Guardian2/5 stars[16]

According to Metacritic, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery received "generally unfavorable reviews".[e][11] Marc Hewitt from Gamezebo praised the concept of a Harry Potter mobile game and stated that Hogwarts Mystery "largely lives up to the hype".[13] 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".[14]

However, the use of "energy" and frequent enticements to pay for microtransactions in the game was widely criticised. One notable example highlighted was an early scene where the player character is subject to being choked by a Devil's Snare, upon which their energy is immediately depleted; the player must then either wait around half an hour for enough energy to replenish in order to continue, or otherwise pay to receive immediate energy instead.[17] GameZebo commented that the "[r]estrictive energy system rears its head early", and called the game "slow".[13] Christine Chan from App Advice said that the timers and energy system "left a sour taste in [her] mouth".[14] Emily Sowden from Pocket Gamer called the use of free-to-play mechanics "maddening", and described the experience as being "behind a paywall".[15]

Kotaku also commented on the game's use of these mechanics, saying that "where the game falters, is how it implements its free-to-play elements".[18] Kotaku interviewed one user that even took up writing Harry Potter fanfiction because it "kicked me out so frequently."[19] David Jagnaeux from IGN Africa called it "awful", describing the microtransactions as "gratuitous" and stating that they "actively prevented" him from enjoying the game.[12] The Guardian called Hogwarts Mystery "a dull game with a great concept, made unplayable by its hyper-aggressive monetisation".[16]

The game was awarded Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game during the 2018 Dragon Awards.[20] As of August 2018, the game has grossed $55 million.[21]

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. ^ Review score based on 14 critic reviews

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Cooper, Dalton (30 May 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Update Adds Friend Encounters". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  6. ^ Cooper, Dalton. "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery – How to Level Up Friends". Gamerant. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Arif, Shabana (3 May 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Discounts Its Microtransactions Following Heavy Criticism - IGN". IGN. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  12. ^ a b Jagneaux, David (4 May 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Review". IGN Africa. Retrieved 4 May 2018. l
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Phillips, Tom. "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery forces you to pay - or wait - to save a kid from being strangled". Eurogamer. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "Hogwarts Mystery Player gets bored waiting for energy meters writers fanfic". Kotaku.
  20. ^ "Jam City". www.jamcity.com.
  21. ^ "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery hits $55 million revenue in just over three months". Pocket Gamer. August 9, 2018.

External links[edit]