Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery is finally out!
A soft release of the highly anticipated mobile game, Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery was released on Android/Google Play* stores this week, so obviously I downloaded it straight away. I decided to download it on my Samsung tablet, so I could get the biggest possible screen that I had to play the game, and I’m definitely glad I went in that direction, rather than my smart phone. It’s been about a day now that I’ve had it, so I thought I’d share with you a little about the game so you can decide whether it’s worth it or not.
*Apple will be released soon I believe
This post has been updated. Please see update at the end of the post.
Welcome to Hogwarts!
As you begin the game, you’re asked if you’re a witch or wizard, and then to create a character. There are limited options as to what you make your avatar look like, however some elements are locked and are accessible when you move up the levels, or earn enough money, energy and gems. When you’re ask to create an avatar like this, you have two options really: create a random person that just seems cool, or try and make it look the most like you that you can. Because this is Harry Potter, I went for myself (or rather, as close to) so I could feel like I was going to Hogwarts.
You’re a student who is beginning their first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While you hope to go to classes, learn as much as possible, make friends and join in on Hogwarts House related shenanigans, you can’t escape your family. Much like Harry, everyone at Hogwarts already knows who you are: you’re the sister (or brother?) of a past student who caused mischief at Hogwarts, got expelled, and ran away. He believed there were secret vaults at Hogwarts and was adamant that he was going to find them. While there are various rumors about why he was expelled, you know the real story. Or at least you think you do.
As you begin your first year at Hogwarts, your brother’s reputation precedes you, you already have enemies in other students, and some of the teachers don’t like you. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? That’s how the story begins, and I’m sure it unravels and unfolds from there as you play out Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.
Beginning Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery
You start the game in Diagon Alley, and venture to Flourish and Blotts to pick up your school books. On the way you meet another Hogwarts student. I met Rowan, whom I assume is similar in all games (perhaps she’s a boy if you create a wizard? I’d love it if someone can confirm this for me!), and you can choose whether to make friends with her or just walk away. I went for the friend option, and then went and got my books.
Eventually you get to Hogwarts and are in the Great Hall with the other first years, waiting to be sorted. Much like the actual Sorting Hat, you have some say in what House you get into. Because I’m never really sure if I’m Gryffindor or Hufflepuff, I went with Gryffindor because it was the most familiar in regards to the Harry Potter series. I slightly regret it, though, because I’d love to know what the Hufflepuff common room looks like. If anyone is in any of the other Houses, feel free to send me a screen shot of the other common rooms.
Now that you’re in a House (and your robes have changed into your House colours), you can start life as a student.
Attending class and earning rewards in Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery
Like Harry, Ron and Hermione, you attend various classes around the castle. Potions, Charms and Flying Lessons are all in first year, and as you complete the challenges you earn yourself XP, money, gems and energy. You need energy to complete the challenges, but once it’s down to zero, you have to wait for 5 minutes to gain 1 energy. This is a slow moving game, for sure. Gems are used to purchase more energy, and coins are used to upgrade you wardrobe (and probably other things as the game continues).
Once you’ve completed your challenge, you move on to the next one in the chapter. Chapters make up each year at Hogwarts, and various challenges must be completed before moving onto the next year in Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery
The challenges take a long time; some are little ones such as ‘go and talk to Rowan about this book’, and others are longer, such as ‘go and learn a new potion in Potions Class’. The class challenges in Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery can take anywhere from 1 – 8 hours, depending on how much energy you have. To complete the challenge you click on the blue illuminated items and people in the class, and each click takes one energy. You get a limited supply of energy, which only replenishes by one every 5 minutes. If you start a challenge with only 10 energy, then you’re going to have to come back to it later, as you can’t complete the challenge all at once.
My concern with this is I can feel like this would get boring after a while. As I entered Flying Lessons, I did what I could with my energy, and then had to wander around the castle trying to find out energy orbs (of which there are a few here and there – try clicking on empty picture frames in the hallways), and just wait for time to pass before I could go back and complete the Flying Lesson. It would be cooler, therefore, if there were other challenges or mini games you could play around the castle that didn’t involve a time restriction. If you don’t make it back and finish you challenge before the timer runs out, then you on’t get your reward and you lose House Points.
Various challenges, interactions and encounters with other students in Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery gain you House Points for your House. Much like in Harry Potter, the House at the end of the year who has the most points gets the House Cup and gains various rewards. You can lose points too, if you lose a challenge or you annoy a teacher.
Moving up a level
When completing challenges, you gain XP which boots your level up. You can also gain additional level points in the form of Courage, Empathy and Knowledge (and perhaps something additional for the Slytherin House? Unsure). Some challenges and classes won’t let you in until you have gained a certain amount of e.g. courage. For example, there was a challenge I couldn’t do because I needed to be level 5 courage. To gain courage, I have to go and take a Flying Lesson. Once I’ve completed the Flying Lesson, I can gain Courage, then go back to the previous challenge and complete that.
When you move up the levels you gain extra money, gems and energy too, but you can’t move on to Year 2 until you’re up to level 30. As I said, it’s a slow going game.
So far so good! Everything has been running really smoothly and really fast. There were a couple of moments when my student had blonde hair when she actually has brown hair, but other than that, I’ve found no major glitches or faults.
In App Purchases
Like many mobile games these days, the app is free but there are in-app-purchases. You can disable this, or leave it on and hope you succumb to The Man by buying your way through the game.
I have to admit that I have bought several lots of energy, as I wanted to get a good feel for the game quickly so as I could share this with you. Now that I now how the game works, and that it just requires patience, I won’t be buying anything more.
Final verdict of Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery mobile game
So is it worth downloading? I would say yes, try it out. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter and the wizarding world then Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery really is a fun (but slow) game. You even get your own Hogwarts letter!
Where are still things which I think could be better (other things to do to gain energy, for example, rather than just waiting for time to pass), and there are still a few glitches here and there, I do see myself playing this for a while. It may be like the Pokemon Go craze, in that it might be all everyone’s playing for a month or so and then people sort of drop off here and there. Or it may rock on for years. We’ll see how it plays out (pun intended).
Last comments on Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery mobile game
While I obviously haven’t gone into the real nitty gritty aspects of the game, I hope this overview has informed you and is useful for you deciding whether or not to download it and have a play.
Whether you end up playing Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery mobile game or not, it is a really fun addition to the wizarding world we already know and love.
Leave a comment and let me know how you’re finding it, any tips for people, and especially if you’re in any other House so I know how different it is.
Have you downloaded it yet? What do you think?
Disclaimer: Jam City did not ask me to write this, it is simply my opinions and thoughts on a game that I have downloaded myself.
Update: 19 February 2018
So it’s been about a month now, and as you can see in the comments thread, there has been some progress. Overall, I think the general consensus is that it was great at the beginning (as per my excitement and this review), but after we really got into the game, we came to realise that everything takes an age to do, and to be blatantly honest, it gets boring.
There’s very little story line to keep you going, and it takes hours – literally hours – to complete any of the challenges. Recently we got a notification that the first update was going to be released soon. If the update hasn’t improved the game play and the speed at which you can progress to the next level or challenge, then I don’t know if I’ll continue playing.
It’s a great concept, and as you’ve read, I was super excited about it when it was released. The slowness of the game is insane, and real bummer. I’ll update you when/if the update eventually comes out. Keep an eye on the comments too, as we’re chatting as we go!