Back in 2018 I posted my first impressions of the, at the time, new Harry Potter game for your mobile device. If you’re not familiar with the game, it’s called Hogwarts Mystery and you take on a character who attends the school pre-Potter.
Like so many others that I know I ended up ditching the game, probably back in 2018 to be honest, but with everything kicking off last year I decided to download it again and give it another whirl. For full disclosure, I started from scratch because I didn’t realise that I could just reload my old character and start where I left off. In the long run I think it was actually better to start from scratch after such a long break because it gave me an opportunity to get back into the swing of things and refresh myself on the storyline, but I did blitz through my first year in about a week. That said I only just started Year 4 last week, after taking some time to build up my character’s skills and realising that there is no merit to whizzing through it because the creators (Jam City) still haven’t actually finished the game. There’s still a huge chunk of the later years that just doesn’t exist.
So let’s quickly recap on what I said in my first impressions post, and whether or not these things still stand true.
- Energy takes forever to replenish – yes this is still the case. In reality you need to wait about 2 hours for your energy bar to fill up which then lasts for around a minute and a half of playing time. Sometimes Jam City randomly gift energy, there are secret spots around the castle where you can collect energy every couple of hours and you can earn energy as a reward for completing certain challenges, but overall yes the energy thing is still a big ole problem.
- You’re not sorted, you are put into whichever house you choose – yep, still true.
- Everybody plays the exact same story no matter what they choose – this is pretty much still the case, the only way to diverge from this is the side quests for things like animal care and quidditch. There may be small difference depending on things like friendship levels and which side quests you have completed, but the actual storyline remains the same it’s just that sometimes your character might be a bit more sassy.
So if the game is so annoying, why have I stuck it out for so long this time? Honestly probably because of lockdown. I’ve seen so many people who have returned to the game in 2020 just for something to do, by the sounds of it. Also I’ve become quite attached to my girl Olave Powell (bonus points for anybody who gets the reference!) and find the side quests infinitely more interesting and compelling than the actual main storyline.
So what’s new?
I guess the main thing that’s new is that you can now play up to about the middle of Year 6. When I was playing the first time round the game only went as far as the end of the first year. Alongside this they roll out new side quests every once in a while ( but on the flip side some of the original side quests are no longer available). I think this year my character starts dating, but only from a select pool of characters and not any of the ones which my character (definitely my character and definitely not me) has a crush on. I’m also not sure if not dating is even an option, and if the available partnerships are strictly heteronormative. As well as new side quests they also add new outfits and new animals from time to time to – the outfits are purely aesthetic but the animals are actually beneficial for things like gems, points and energy!
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that the game is perhaps marginally better now than it was when it launched in 2018 but the real reason that people are still playing it and sticking it out is because “it’s Harry freaking Potter”.
I think the world is ready for a new cult now…(seriously, send me recommendations in the comments!)