Despite having released its last book over ten years ago, the Harry Potter franchise is still going strong. You can’t escape Harry Potter anywhere — the franchise has its own theme park, spinoffs like The Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, an interactive website– and as of April 25, 2018, a roleplaying game in the app store.
Harry Potter: A Hogwarts Mystery is a story-based game that places the player as a student in Hogwarts right after the first fall of Voldemort. You begin the game by creating your own character, a witch or wizard about to attend Hogwarts for their first year. Here’s the twist– your older brother was expelled from Hogwarts and disappeared, never to be seen again. The story was huge in the Daily Prophet, causing your name to have some infamy when you arrive at Hogwarts.
For those looking to experience the life of a witch or wizard at Hogwarts, fear not– the game doesn’t entirely consist of chasing down your missing brother. You can attend classes like Potions and Charms, as well as learn spells and how to fly on a broomstick. You can also make friends with new characters, such as Rowan Khanna, or those well-known within the Harry Potter universe, like Nymphadora Tonks and Bill Weasley.
The game is relatively simple to play, given that it follows the same format that almost every free role-playing game in the app store does. You have certain amount of energy, and most actions take up that energy– reading a book during Charms, for example could take four of your energy. The energy replenishes on its own at the rate of one every four minutes. Once you have emptied your energy, you can’t do anything else within the game except wait for the energy to be renewed. You can always use in-app purchase to buy energy, but that is not an option for most players.
Set up like these greatly inhibit the flow of the game and can easily frustrated the player, especially if you run out of energy during an interesting part of the story. Other than that, the game is every Harry Potter nerd’s dream– to be a witch or wizard at Hogwarts in a free phone app, to be a part of whatever house you choose, and to have your own Harry Potter-esque adventure– what else could any nerd ask for?