The Harry Potter Game, the World Is Trying to Forget
We are pleased to inform you that you have been granted a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. These are the words that every child who grew up with stories about Harry Potter dreamed of hearing. The joint journey with the heroes of books and films lasted a total of 14 years, and during this long period, fans of the universe managed to study all the materials of the popular franchise from interviews of the writer and collectible lorebooks to interactive books on Pottermore and games. Despite the declining ratings of new films, Wizarding World is a huge universe with potential for development and an inexhaustible source of profit for Warner Bros.
Games brought a significant share of the income. Readers and spectators from observers became participants in events, relived adventures with Harry, conjured, attended lessons and, on behalf of the young wizard, communicated with their favorite characters. It would be foolish to end the story on the murder of Voldemort, especially since thousands of interesting plots can be realized on the basis of such a flexible and large universe.
And while Avalanche Software is developing a big-budget RPG set in the Wizarding World universe, let’s focus on another Warner Bros project. Games, about which you, if you have heard, are extremely bad. We are talking about a game for mobile platforms called Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.
A lot has changed over the years: now the mobile phone has more than 50 million downloads on Google Play, good reviews and a large fan base. Was the rating an undeserved stigma that discouraged fans of the magical world from a good game?
The Boy Who Isn’t Here
It has always been interesting to watch the adventures of a young wizard from the perspective of a viewer or reader. But participating in adventures thanks to games is much more fun. It’s even better when the developers stop chasing the plot of the books and explore other eras of the big world, introduce new heroes and put them under the control of a wizard who can be associated with themselves.
Hogwarts Mystery takes place after the First Wizarding War and the defeat of Voldemort. Harry Potter, not yet realizing his popularity, lies in a cradle in the Dursleys’ house, and the world is gradually recovering from the invasion of the Dark Lord and his minions. Upon reaching the age of 11, the main character or heroine arrives at Hogwarts, dreaming of learning magic, and at the same time finding a long-lost brother. Jacob devoted many years to finding the mythical Vaults, which, according to legend, are hidden in the school, then was expelled and soon disappeared.
The famous meme about the safest school, where children are sent to the forest as punishment, and Harry now and then found himself on the verge of death, here takes on new facets of madness. Trying to find and open the Vault, the main characters realize that because of their intervention, it only gets worse. And the caches contain not only forgotten knowledge, but also dangerous curses that are ready to fall on curious researchers and innocent schoolchildren.
It all sounds like the perfect adventure within one of the most popular universes, but there is one thing. Under the wrapper of a much-touted mobile RPG in the world of Harry Potter lies… a very advanced visual novel.
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Good Example Of a Visual Novel
Hogwarts Mystery is an excellent representative of visual novels with RPG elements.
Despite the large number of cutscenes, animated characters, and voluminous interactive backgrounds, reading remains the main type of gameplay in Hogwarts Mystery. In an attempt to dilute the book with additional mechanics, developers often create hybrid novels that combine text quests, simulations, and RPG elements. Good examples are Coffee Talk and VA-11 Hall-A with mechanics for making coffee and alcoholic drinks. Or Always Remember Me with the need to earn money, upgrade skills and relationships with characters. Or even StopGate with an unexpected rhythm game!
The search for Jacob’s footsteps takes several academic years. During this time, the heroes manage to get comfortable in the magical world, find new friends and enemies, learn magic, join the Quidditch team, have many duels and uncover countless school secrets. By the seventh year, the story about the Vaults and the search for a brother has grown into a large-scale confrontation with an organization of dark magicians who are looking for the secrets of immortality, do not shun murders and … want the hero to lead them.
Character Customization and Other Mechanics
The developers of Hogwarts Mystery also did not keep themselves within the framework of classic visual novels. So the game acquired a number of mechanics. First of all, the extensive character customization catches the eye. Looking ahead, it should be noted that the game adjusts the appearance of the hero’s relatives to his own. This applies to the color of the skin, hair and eyes.
Personality doesn’t end with looks. Thanks to the three branches of development (courage, empathy and intelligence), you can endow the wizard with character. Subsequently, pumped attributes open special replicas that allow you to stand up for friends, take pity on enemies, or show off knowledge. At the same time, there are no large-scale ramifications of the plot and replay value. Only reactions and dialogues differ.
Other mechanics include learning spells in class and in a dueling club, Quidditch, which later grew into a whole chain of quests and became a separate “career” with its own achievements, side quests, the obligatory delivery of OWLs, taming magical creatures, collecting various collectibles and weekly events with customization items.
A Game That Will Get You a Pleasant Time
There’s no denying the fact that Hogwarts Mystery’s monetization is bad, and it’s a pity that even after four years Jam City didn’t dare to remake it.
And under the mountain of events and layers of timers lies a visual novel with an interesting plot, in which you will find unexpected twists, favorite characters from the franchise and references to books, films and games. It’s a good way to pass the time when you already played a thousand times with Hogwarts Legacy.