In another augmented reality (AR) game from Niantic, the team behind Pokémon Go, the popular franchise Harry Potter is adapted into a real-life mobile-phone game called "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite." The plot: you, a wizard working for the Statute of Secrecy, recover Foundables, misplaced items and people trapped by Confoundables. Relying on your location to interact with the game’s dungeons, greenhouses and inns, you wander around, drawing spells, using potions and spending energy akin to a Facebook game to do these spells until you can collect more energy.
Considering the success of Pokemon Go — did the book franchise make the same mark as an AR game?
While the animations are impressive and Anschutz library being a dungeon for Wizarding Challenges is an entertaining thought, the game lacks the premise and world of Pokémon Go. While battling creatures with friends in the most-used in-between class space on campus seems like an interesting idea — the player base is nowhere close to rivaling Pokémon Go’s.
The issue is perhaps Harry Potter is too rich in story. Unlike the AR game Pokémon Go, where the straightforward idea of running into an elusive Pokémon inspires you to walk a few miles, Harry Potter offers you catching people and objects at the wrong moment in time and returning them to the proper place or timeline — and a plot you’re also supposed to be unraveling through speech boxes from characters that you miss if you tap through too quickly.
The game relies on nostalgia about the book and shows. Collect four fragments of a hippogriff and unlock a sticker in the book, as if this is a punch card or sticker book from when the movies were still ongoing.
While the game didn’t premiere with the smorgasbord of bugs, downed servers and release issues like Pokémon Go, it didn’t attract the same level of attention and interest. Despite its flaws, it did introduce a new AR concept with its version of Pokémon Eggs: Portkeys.
When a Portkey is unlocked, the game advises you to step into a large area before placing it because you’ll be stepping into a virtually created room overlaying your own on the phone screen where you’ll have to turn and walk with your camera to tap on lights in order to get a small prize.
The game is best suited if you’re already a Harry Potter fan as a time-waster while traveling through campus, which is a hotspot for the game’s interactive locations, but it doesn't live up to the standards set by Pokémon Go.