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Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery Game-Review

Developer: JAM CITY
Genre: RPG Mobila App Game
Plot:
You are a first year Hogwarts student about to embark on the magical journey of becoming a full fledged Witch or Wizard. You get the excitement of going to Diagon Alley for your books and supplies. You speak with Ollivader about your wand and go through the Sorting Hat ceremony. All the things a young wizard looks forward to their entire lives! However, your older brother has already made things hard for you by being recently expelled due to his looking for forbidden chambers and endangering Hogwarts. He’s since gone missing but that just adds to the ammunition the bullies at Hogwarts have to use against you. And in typical Hogwarts fashion, your bully is a Slytherin. You’ve got to balance school work plus training to defend yourself from said bullies all while avoiding Snape’s ever watchful eye while you secretly search for clues as to where your brother might have disappeared to. Wizard life isn’t all magic and fairytales but with the help of your housemates and the helpful witches and wizards at Hogwarts are there to help.
Game Play & Character Customization:
Students are allowed to create their look from a wide selection of starter looks. More are available for purchase with either gold coins earned in game or gems which are both earned in game or available for purchase. JAM CITY missed an opportunity for more fandom identification here by not naming them Knauts or Gallions, oh well, maybe in a future update.
As a student the player must attend lessons to expand their Wizarding knowledge. These lessons reward the player with experience that goes towards one of three character traits: Courage, Empathy, or Knowledge. If you do well, you also reward your house with points
for the coveted House Cup! A wizard can also win, or in some cases lose, points for their house. Students can also compete for rank within their respective houses. Although the houses and students have the appearance of online leaderboards they are only AI. Again, more room for improvement in gameplay here too.
There is a set amount of “energy” a player gets, which replenishes to full strength every 1.5 hours. Lessons must be completed in the allotted time or you have to repeat the lessons. some are 1, 4,  6, or 8 hours. This is one of the biggest draw backs of A Hogwarts Mystery. A player momentarily can get stuck in a part of the storyline because you don’t have time to check in on the game every couple of hours. Of course the option to purchase more energy is available. I feel that the “energy crisis” is going to be the downfall of the game. It doesn’t give the player enough time to get immersed in the game and feels almost like they are forcing players to purchase more items. Granted, having to wait is a small annoyance. Not that big of a problem for hard core Potterheads like myself, however, the overly sensitive “pay-to-play” critics might take issue with.
Between lessons there are mini-games that students must pass. Focus, is a timing game where a student must stop a ring within a designated circle. Its pass or fail.
Spell casting has the student trace a spell on the screen with their finger to simulate the “Swish and flick” of spell casting. This also comes into play in dueling.
Dueling is probably the most entertaining aspect of Hogwarts Mystery. It’s a rock, paper, scissors type breakdown, represented in “stances”. Aggressive, Defensive, and Sneaky. Choosing one over the other effects who will take a turn first and the type of spells a player can cast.
The storyline presents the player with options in how to respond to certain situations or characters. These choices effect what attributes if any are rewarded.
Graphics and Sound:
Decent and solid. The side scrolling through the halls is smooth. Dobby, the house elf, stalks the halls and catching him restores some energy. It looks like the teachers are modeled after the actors from the movie and are done well. Random ghosts float through the halls as are random students, but are nothing more then pretty animations at this point. Again, another missed opportunity for some fun Wizard World facts, Hogwarts History, Lore, or interaction.
Pay to Play:
You may need to take out a student loan to pay for your Hogwarts education if you want to finish in the 7 years it normally takes…Players run out of energy rather quickly and as I stated earlier, if you don’t finish the the lesson in time, you will have to repeat it. It’s worse than Summer School. “Please sir, can I have some more?” Jam City?

 

Overall: 
If you’re a hardcore “Potterhead” you’re going to love the game and playing in the halls of Hogwarts. If you’re a casual gamer, you’re probably going to get board right away and not want to pay to get further along before interest fades. Jam City is going to need to do some adjustments in the energy allotment if they want to catch more casual gamers and keep the Potter fans from dropping out of school before they reach their O.W.L.’s.
Over All: