Wizards Unite: Is This 'Harry Potter' Game Worth The Hype?

10k steps per day for Wizards Unite? No problem—just don’t forget to look up!
PHOTO: Harry Potter Wizards Unite

If you're a fan of Pokémon GO, then we're pretty sure you've heard of software developer Niantic's newest mobile release. Potterheads, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is the game we've been waiting for (no shade to Pottermore.com). Witches (and wizards!), now's your chance to meet the iconic characters, cast spells(!), and find those fantastic beasts. 10k steps per day? No problem—just don't forget to look up!

What Is Harry Potter: Wizards Unite?

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is an augmented reality mobile game for Harry Potter fans—it uses your phone camera to showcase the best of the Wizarding world, overlayed on top of real-world locations.

How do you play Harry Potter: Wizards Unite?

All players start by creating their own avatar or character in the game. Your avatar is then introduced to Auror Harry Potter, who gives you instructions on how to return "Foundables" back to the Wizarding World. These "Foundables" are lost items, and therefore a threat to the Statute of Secrecy; they risk exposing magic to the Muggles.

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Along the way, you'll encounter familiar characters like Hagrid or random Wizards you've never met. These characters are trapped by "Confoundables," manifestations of chaotic magic. Make use of your spell knowledge to free them! Simply trace the form of the spell and hope it only takes one try. Take note of the Threat Meter—the higher the danger, the more difficult it'll be to remove the Confoundable. Once freed, characters are placed in your suitcase, ala Newt Scamander style, and added to a Registry so you can keep track of things.

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TL;DR: You have to free Foundables (lost items) from Confoundables (chaotic magic), in order to return the Foundable to the Wizarding World. Confusing? A bit, yes, but it's easier to play the game than read a how-to instruction manual. Just watch out for those magic stars—it signals that a Foundable is nearby!

The Ministry of Magic will provide you with a map of your surroundings. Can't find yourself? Simply look for the phrase, "Magical ME"—don't worry, a certain blond professor won't suddenly appear! Use the map to discover more Foundables or to add to your supplies. Inns provide you with food to replenish your spell power, while Greenhouses are a source of potions ingredients. Make sure to collect all the random plants you see to brew your own potions—it's a cheaper alternative to buying them! If you're feeling bored, head towards a fortress to test your spell knowledge against more magical creatures!

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If you notice random locked trunks on the side of the road, don't hesitate to pick them up! These portkeys act as instant transportation devices to locations where you can find and return Foundables—a big help if your surroundings are suddenly empty of all magical traces. 

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If you didn't like the trivia quiz and Sorting Hat decision on Pottermore, then this game will let you rewrite your story. Fill in your Ministry ID and choose your own Hogwarts Hat! You can also design your own wand, based on wood, core, flexibility, and wand length.

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As your character advances, you'll be expected to choose a Wizarding Career: Auror, Magizoologist, or Professor. Each career path provides you with a different set of capabilities, and you take "lessons" to power up. Certain enemies are easily defeated depending on your skillset, so if you have friends playing the game, make sure to create a well-rounded team before going into battle! The best part? You can freely change careers (if only the real world were that simple), and any skills you've acquired along the way will stay with you!

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Tips and tricks

  1. When following along the casting shape of your spells, be as exact as possible—a higher accuracy rating means you end up casting less spells (and using up fewer potions)!
  2. Designing your own wand? Tap on the gray "i" icon on the upper right corner of each section. Explanations on each type of wood, wand core, flexibility type, and wand length will appear, so you can properly decide what would suit you.
  3. Need more coins or potions? Try checking your Daily Assignments! No, they're not homework. Once you've accomplished a task, you'll be rewarded with bonus items, a big help if your money stash or potions stock is running low. Tip: These tasks reset within a certain time frame, so it's best to accomplish them quickly!
  4. If you manage to find a Silver Key, congrats! They work just like the regular Golden Keys, but using one Silver Key will allow you to work on multiple Portkey Portmanteaus at the same time.
  5. If you don't feel like walking around just to find a Foundable, or to complete your current task, use a Porkey to play without the location geotag—it'll transport you to a Wizarding location like Ollivanders right away!
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Harry Potter Wizards Unite

Our Honest Reviews Of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

 

"TBH, I didn't want to get my hopes up with this game. I've been a huge Potterhead since forever, and I actually stayed up till 3 a.m. to answer the entry questions in order to be a Pottermore beta-tester (raise your hand up if you remember those days!). But Pottermore (or at least, its initial version) was a bit of a letdown. After its first big redesign, the platform became less interactive and more of a catch-all encyclopedia for all Potter-related trivia. Basically, I was expecting a virtual Hogwarts, and instead I was left with a cross between Wizarding Wikepedia and BuzzFeed.

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Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, on the other hand, was a ~magical~ discovery (pun intended). There is a little bit of everything to satisfy most fans: potion-making and lesson plans to accomplish for those who prefer the magical lore, battles in fortresses for thrillseekers, and enough swishes-and-flicks to make you believe you really did receive your Hogwarts letter at age 11! I admit, I was hoping that you'd be able to cast spells by saying them out loud and using your phone like a Wii remote control. Tracing out spells onto your phone screen doesn't sound as fun, but the sense of achievement you get when you "cast" a spell on your first try is still amazing. The shape of the spell disappears the moment you touch your screen, so you get pretty good at memorizing spells quickly, too!

I haven't yet advanced to a level where I'd feel the need to make in-app purchases (like coins to buy more potions ingredients, for example). But overall, I would say that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a mobile game worth trying. For HP fans, it's a chance to finally experience that Pokemon Go fever, centered around a storyline you love. It's now your turn to have to keep an eye out in malls, so make sure you don't accidentally bump into someone while chasing a Foundable!

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Not a fan of Harry Potter? Try it anyway! It's a fun way to pass the time you spend commuting, plus you get to immerse yourself in the Wizarding World and ~finally~ understand all those Potter references. It's a definite conversation starter if someone peeks at your phone screen, that's for sure!" -Andie

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"When I first heard about Wizards Unite, I was so excited! The whole idea that I would be able to have magic in my everyday life was so thrilling. I immediately downloaded the app as soon as it was available. At the time, I was in Europe on vacation. I remember walking around the streets of Belgium with my phone (which would act as my wand) at the ready.  

The whole plot of Wizards Unite and how fragments of the Wizarding World were at risk of being exposed to the Muggle world was a good idea in the sense that it, at first, gives you the urgency to go out into the world and find them. My problem with the story was that I didn't understand how this all fit into the "canon" world of Harry Potter that we all know. These fragments that one would capture were sometimes of those who had already passed on before or during the Battle of Hogwarts. It made no sense to me why I would have to go and find them when, in the context of the books, they are already gone. 

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In terms of capturing the actual Confoundables, I found it fun at first. Finding the balance between drawing the spell symbols fast enough and accurately was a good challenge. But over time, I got bored of it. It was the same thing every day. Nothing really changes except every once in a while, you'll find a more rare Confoundable to capture.

When it comes to retrieving ingredients for potions, spell energy, and retrieving portkeys it wasn't exciting or anything special. You can get ingredients from a Greenhouse or spell energy from an Inn; and you can only go back to that specific Inn/Greenhouse after four minutes. You can also grow ingredients in a Greenhouse and add dark detectors (which act as a magnet to attract more Confoundables around that area).

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Having a Wizarding duel is fun but definitely more exciting when your friends are in on it. The only thing with the duels is that you and your friends have to choose the same "grade" to be able to fight together. Overall, Wizards Unite, much like Pokemon Go, was something that truly catered to the masses, but its novelty and excitement died down pretty quick. I played the games because I am a die-hard Potterhead, but the game is a slow progress and I wanted something more exciting to look forward to each time I opened the app. I love the concept of a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go, but I feel the story and the actual game itself can only be enjoyed for a limited time before you just get tired of it." -Barbara

"Who hasn't had the desire to peel off the edge of reality and explore a new world? In Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, every one of us is finally given a chance to visit an oddly familiar realm where magic and mystery abound. During the first few moments of the game, you are whisked away and brought to the Ministry of Magic in the midst of an in-game calamity. The Ministry needs your help in finding certain objects, which must stay hidden, before the Muggle (non-Magical) populace uncovers the secret of the Wizarding community.

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After fashioning your own wand and choosing your unique moniker (and profession in later levels), you are then free to explore the world [and run into] familiar characters (helloooo Hagrid!) and [make] new friends (dragons!) as you seek rare objects to place in the Registry. In the middle of chasing down these elusive objects, one can even team up with wizards and enter a fortress where you face challenges for Foundable rewards as you ascend floor after floor, increasing your spell casting prowess (keep on swiping!). These encounters breathe new life in your adventure—the game showcases some nifty visual effects as spells crackle and bonds are made between players. Those wishing for more adventures can take Portkeys to traverse time and space to bring you to new and challenging locales where quest items are to be found. 

As an avid Harry Potter Fan and budding Magizoologist, I can say that Wizards Unite is a fun-filled and colorful visual and auditory experience which will literally keep you on your toes are you race around town faster than a Nimbus 2000. Just make sure to pack your Invisibility Cloak and some Chocolate Frogs, just to be safe." -JP

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Harry Potter Wizards Unite

"I really love it! The nostalgia it gave is surreal, because it reminded me of the Harry Potter books and films. I think that setting the timeline around the period after Deathly Hallows and Cursed Child was a good idea. The game's graphics and music are so on point! The ways of casting spells reminded me of the early days of Pottermore. The only thing [I'd prefer] is if Pottermore accounts could be linked to profiles in this game, but overall, I'd rate it: 10/10!" -Iana

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