Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you were to be placed under a sorting hat and earn points for your appointed house/ Wonder no more! The release of a mobile application called Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery lets you experience the joy of being a Hogwarts student. Gone are the days when you can’t play as your character but ought to face a dilemma on whether you’re more of a Hermione, Ron Weasley or Harry Potter. With this app in question, Jam City, Inc. the company that brought this magical experience right by your fingertips (literally), enables you, yes you, not Harry, Ron or Hermione, to be a Hogwarts student. Granted, it’s only digitally and not a real-life situation. However, better something than nothing!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this app review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author – and, since we are all critically-thinking human beings, these views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time. Please do not hold us to them in perpetuity.
Image Source: Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery
The app design itself features mainly Professor Snape, the renowned protagonist that had been misunderstood as an antagonist by many before all his noble deeds finally came to light in the final book. For those who somehow do not know, Harry Potter isn’t only a game. Its characters resembled those that acted in the ever so favourite Harry Potter movies. The movies themselves aren’t ordinary ones either. Every scene, character and storyline had been carefully crafted by J.K Rowling, the author behind the Harry Potter books. Now that is where it all began. Books.
Image Source: Metacritic
J.K Rowling first wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1995. It was finally published in 1997 under Bloomsbury. A year later, this book was published in the United States by Scholastic Corporation under a slightly different title; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The reason behind the change in title remained a mystery.
Nonetheless, it was this book that first opened the doors to a whole other world that seemed foreign albeit with tinges of familiarity. It was written in such a captivating yet comprehensible manner that it became no struggle at all to visualise this elaborate foreign world that J.K Rowling seemed to have cast out of thin air overnight. J.K Rowling penmanship could make others get familiar with what was previously unfamiliar.
It wasn’t a smooth sailing journey for Harry Potter to reach its current stratospheric success. It’s hard to imagine that what is now one of the most iconic books of all time had been rejected aplenty before it settled in the hands of Bloomsbury. Agent after agent dismissed her manuscript of Harry Potter upon reading it. One even had the gall of rejecting it via a slip of paper. She probably has been continuously recoiling in regret the moment she realises how Harry Potter keeps getting more significant and more significant regarding scale, success rate and fame. Heck, it’s still popular today, seven years after the final Harry Potter movie was released and a whopping 11 years after the last Harry Potter series; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was printed. For those who are doubting my claims on how Harry Potter is still relevant today just as it was 7 or 11 years ago, merely look at the amount of interest this app had garnered. Yes, this app. The 2018 app of a game that involves characters that are more than a decade old.
A Facebook page dedicated for this app called Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Yes, just like what the app is called too), released a video trailer involving what the app has to offer on 1st March 2018, several weeks ahead of its release. This video generated buzz aplenty. It got reacted by 10.8K Facebook users. 4415 people shared it. The footage itself reaped a whopping total of 1.8 million views. So how does the app work and is it just as good as it portrayed itself to be via the video trailer?
Based on the video trailer, the characters looked polished and well-made with hair glistening like it had been shampooed by Lumos every day. The characters movements seemed fluid and looked at the eyes on those characters in the video trailer. It’s safe to say that the effort to make those eyes could deserve a round of applause. The size of those eyes would have probably made the owl that played Hedwig in the Harry Potter movies shudder and quiver its beak in intimidation upon seeing a human with eyes that are similar in size to the owl species. Size aside, intricate details placed within the iris in the video trailer is commendable. However, this is no article that spurns sentences involving eyeball inspections. It’s about the app. Is the app just as good as the video trailer depicted? The video trailer did manage to set up high expectations for it sounded promising from start to the 1 minute and 22nd second. However, is it an app worth gracing your mobile devices?
First and foremost, one would have expected that this app would take up gigabytes of space judging by all the graphics and animations seen in the video trailer. Much to the delight of many, especially those who are always plagued by the woes of insufficient storage space, this app only takes up 137.6MB. Those below the age of 4 are not permitted to download this app. Otherwise, feel free to do so. It is a free app after all. It can be download across both IOS and Android devices.
The game kick-starts with a customizable avatar. Think Sims or any other similar games along that line. You’re able to change almost every single facial parts of that avatar to make one that resembles you the most. Although I did mention that this customizable portion of the game is a tad similar to Sims, I must say the options provided to customise still seems light years away from being as advanced as Sims. However, it’s not too shabby either.
Image Source: DroidVendor
Speaking of shabby. Frankly, I had expected that the animations would look exactly like how it’ll be in the video trailer. Alas, it isn’t. Yes, it’s not too amateurish looking, but the quality seemed somewhat anticlimactically low as compared to the said trailer. The movements seemed calculated. There were some scenes where it looks slightly like it was made using a stop-motion format. Don’t get me wrong, stop motions are amazing, but they’re not what I expected within this app especially with a trailer of that quality. I expected an app full of pleasant graphics. An app that injects magic within the users’ experience. Not just literally with wands and brooms flying here and there but also regarding how the app works. I’d thought that users who had completed the entire app would strut away from their mobile device with a smile across their face and mutter the words “Ahh now that was a magical work of art.”
Unfortunately, the “experience” wasn’t as magical as I thought it’d be. Yes, I did start off with a smile but fast forward to a couple of minutes later, and you’d spot my index finger tapping furiously across my iPad with brows furrowed. The smile had been wiped out of my face too. A frown replaced it. My lips pursed and unleashed several bouts of groans alongst with the occasion “tsks”. Yes, it is that sort of game.
The game that lets you tap and wait. And wait. Then tap again to complete some mission. Wait. Tap. Wait. And on and on. I don’t know about you, but this format irked me. It became more about the tapping than the storyline. Ask me what the storyline within the app was about and I’d tell you straight in the face that all I can recall are vigorous taps. What’s more, the reactions gained upon completing a star became repetitive. I’ve seen Professor Flitwick glancing adoringly at me after answering a question of his, for what seemed like the ten billionth time till he even made an appearance in my dream. Doing what you might ask? Gazing adoringly at the owner of the finger that had been tapping her iPad screen countless times of course. Me.
Image Source: iMore
Frankly, the magic of this game seemed lost the moment I was asked to tap to gain stars. I could have sworn that that index finger of mine may have shrunk in size to one that’s almost similar to my little finger. The game is like a gym veiled in an arm format. A gym for your fingers. Particularly your index finger. So for those who’d like to shrink their fingers, I’d highly recommend this app. But do remember that for every tap that you’ve made using your fingers on the right, do tap the same amount using fingers on the other hand too. Why? Oh you know, to make it all physically balanced.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Rating: 2.5/5
Hence, it comes as a no surprise when I rate it a 2.5 out of 5. An app that seemed promising but the novelty of it strips away the longer you play it. Yes, it’s still playable, but you’d probably get tired of it after all those taps. Unless, of course, if you’re on a mission to shrink those fingers of yours. Otherwise, it’ll probably sit in my gaming folder. Untouched. Till the day when I am somehow spurred by the mood to duel somebody with wands. Then, tap it shall be till the duel segment appears. So yes, you might not want to delete the app just yet. The duel in the game is somewhat satisfying, but it also feels slightly like a game of rock-papers-scissors whereby you’d have no idea if what you chose will grant you victory or defeat. It’ll also make you go “Ahh this isn’t that bad, but it could have been better”. Oh wait, that sentence can also be applied to the entire app apart from the duel portion! Decent try then. I will not recommend those who had downloaded it from deleting the app in case the app developers decide to sprinkle the app with a little or loads more magic.