“Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery” Magical or Mundane?
Just over one month after the release of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery users seem to be equal parts enthralled and irritated by the game as they eagerly await the update for Year 4. I myself am a huge Harry Potter fan, and check daily for the new update, but I cannot ignore the game’s many issues.
Perhaps one of the most noticeable problems is the avatar design system. Players are given minimal hairstyles to choose from, most of which are straight hair. Want your avatar to have curly hair like you? That will cost 200, 250, or 400 gems depending on the style you want. Do you wear glasses? Those cost 100 gems or 6,000 coins. The clothing options are also extremely limited unless you decide to select coins as your reward during the various gaming tasks. Even a simple pair of jeans and sneakers will cost you 1500 coins.
While the game does present a fresh take on Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the Wizarding World as a whole, we see some cliché Harry Potter plot points almost immediately. Professor Snape is painted as the villainous teacher intent on ruining the players grades. This presents an interesting turn of events for those who are sorted into Slytherin house. Snape would surely not treat a member of his own house as he treats the main character.
Secondly, the player’s archenemy, Merula Snyde, is also a Slytherin no matter which house you select. This harkens back to the typical ‘all Slytherins are evil’ mentality of the Harry Potter series, which Pottermore.com’s sorting quiz attempted to put to bed. Ambition and cunning does not equal evil villain.
Beyond these two predictable characters, players must uncover the mystery of the Cursed Vaults and what happened to their expelled older brother. The intrigue of this storyline has been enough to keep many players engaged on this unique Hogwarts adventure. We are also greeted with a mix of familiar and unfamiliar characters, which perfectly marry the old Harry Potter story we love with a new adventure that is all our own. Players also have a chance to explore the Hogwarts castle and grounds in their free time.
The biggest issue with the game has to be the easily depleted energy level. Players can barely complete a single task or class lesson without expending all their energy. This results in the all too familiar prompt to wait for energy to replenish at the agonizingly slow rate of 1 point every 4 minutes or purchase 30 more points for 55 gems. Suspiciously, gems are the least awarded prize for completing tasks but the only way to quickly replenish your energy.
There are a few hidden interactive items to replenish energy points throughout the game. For example, clicking on the stick on the castle grounds will reward you with one energy point and a puppy Fang to fetch the stick.
The game also offers some mental challenges for its users in the form of dueling, where players must choose a style of attack. Here there is an element of chance because there is no hint as to what your opponent has selected. Unfortunately, classes are primarily dialog and don’t offer much in the way of ‘learning’ about spells, potions, or flying.
Despite its obvious negative points, the game has inspired some seriously relatable memes from players.
Even with the various issues users are eager for Year 4 to begin. The new update promises more adventures, new areas of the castle to explore, and the option to date other characters in the story. As the game continues to develop we are eager to see where the Cursed Vaults actually lie and how the main character’s brother is involved in the mystery.