Harry Potter: Wizards Unite…. Wow. Nice job Niantic! If that doesn’t say it all I don’t know what does. Niantic, the developer behind the ever popular Pokémon Go took what they learned from that game and put it all into Wizards Unite. Why haven’t you downloaded it yet? Go now.. We will wait…
It has been a few days since the launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite in the US and UK. We’ve been able to spend a couple of days with this new AR adventure from Niantic starring YOU! Here is what we think….
You’re a wizard Harry!
First and foremost this is similar to Pokémon Go but is by no means a cut and paste job. Wizards and Witches (players) walk around the real world while using their mobile devices as a viewing glass into the AR world looking for stuff. The stuff players are searching for are Traces, meaning Traces of Magic, where players can find Foundables. Finally, using Magic, players free Foundables from Confoundables that take the form of various creatures and beings. To put it into perspective, Foundables are what Pokémon are in Pokémon Go. Foundables are then placed in a Registry like the Pokédex. This is where most of the similarities end.
The AR wizarding world has many different places to visit in the world of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Inns, where players obtain food to fuel their Spell Energy (think Poké Balls), Greenhouses where they can collect and plant seeds, Fortresses (think Gyms) more on that later, and finally Points of Interest (like Parks, Landmarks, etc) where a higher volume of a specific Traces can be found. There are ten different Trace types (Regions in Pokémon Go), some examples are the Care of Magical Creatures, Hogwarts School, Ministry of Magic, Dark Arts, and Wonders of the Wizarding World.
Then there are Portkeys. If you remember from the Harry Potter books/movies, a Portkey looks like a regular worldly item that is magically enchanted to whisk you away to a magical destination. Players will find Portkey Portmanteaus throughout the world which house Portkeys. To get the Portkey you must unlock the Portkey Portmanteau which can be done using magic keys and walking around (think Incubators and Eggs). Once unlocked Portkeys enable players to transport to special wizarding locations like Hagrid’s Hut to collect even more Foundables. Stepping through the portal brings you into a 360 degree AR experience.
Fortresses are where players join up to take on challenges to uncover Foundables. Each Fortress has ten levels of challenges with each level increasing in difficulty over the other. Players can join up with four other players (total of five including yourself) to take on each level of the Fortress. This is where Professions come in handy.
At the time of this writing, it doesn’t seem that there is any other multiplayer aspects, which is a slight disappointment. I say seem because we have not been able to delve 100% into HP: Wizard Unite as there is so much to explore. Do not, however, take this as a negative to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite at all. This is only a minor element.
What would a Harry Potter game be without the ability to choose your wizarding house and wand?
Character customization allows players to choose their wand type and size as well as their wizard house. However, this is only a “cosmetic” effect as it has no bearing on gameplay. After level 6 players can choose one of three professions: Auror, Magizoologist, and Professor. Each have their own special characteristics and skill trees. Players can choose to switch professions at any time depending on their playstyle. Keep in mind that skills do not transfer from each profession.
If you choose, you can use filters to add wizarding world objects like scarfs, robes, hats to your avatar picture. If you don’t want your mug on the screen you can also select something from the stock images. There is a button that allows you to select from a gallery which we assume is your photo gallery. This feature is not enabled at this time.
You can also show off your accomplishments by selecting a unique title and selecting certain badges. These badges and titles are unlocked by completing certain achievements.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a WIN!
Compared to Pokémon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a feature rich game and offers a ton to explore both in game and out. We have barely scratched the surface of potion making which is another feature! Learning how to play and understanding the story is definitely half the fun. Fans of the Harry Potter series will absolutely be sucked into the wizarding world. Music and characters from the books and movie will draw you in.
Niantic created a beautiful AR experience, but also ironed out the technological issues that plagued Pokémon Go early on. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is becoming available in more countries each day so there is no reason to wait. So, go to the Google Play Store or the Apple App store and download it now and protect the wizarding world from muggles!