PLOT Why did your brother vanish from Hogwarts?
RATED 4+ (ages 4 and older)
DETAILS Free with in-app purchases starting at 99 cents.
COMPATIBLE WITH iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, requires iOS 10.0 or later; Android 4.4 and up
BOTTOM LINE The actual game is fine, but the waiting game isn’t.
Harry Potter seems to be spreading his magic everywhere these days. The smash hit “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is the toast of Broadway, even with its roughly five-hour running time. And now comes Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, a new mobile app from Jam City that puts players in the wizarding world of Potter’s alma mater.
The game, which takes place in the 1980s, opens with players getting their acceptance letter to Hogwarts and then creating their character (witch, wizard) as well as their physical features and name. At school, you’ll encounter new friends (a bookish student named Rowan will become your best bud) and familiar faces (Professor Minerva McGonagall and headmaster Dumbledore) as well as the familiar voices of Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon, who played them in the movies. You can also choose which house (Gryffindor, Slytherin) you want to join.
But not all is bliss at Hogwarts: It’s up to you to find your older brother, Jacob, who has gone missing after being expelled from the school. As you learn spells, find objects and engage in duels, you’ll also uncover secrets about Jacob’s expulsion.
In the duels, players make decisions about the type of stance they want to take (defensive, aggressive, sneaky) and also use potions to heal, charm or disable their opponent.
The choices you make throughout the game have an impact on earning points for your house. Through duels, you’ll earn coins to increase your character’s energy to manage difficult tasks like an encounter with Devil’s Snare, a lethal plant. If you don’t have energy to battle the plant (a distinct possibility) you have to either purchase more energy or endure a lengthy wait (you probably have enough time to see the Broadway show) before trying again.
If you’ve ever dreamed of attending Hogwarts, this may be as close as you’ll get. Just don’t expect to solve the mystery of the title in a hurry.