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Wizards Unite is the latest mobile game set in the Harry Potter universe, developed by the guys behind Pokemon Go, Niantic.

When the game was announced, my mind began to race. Wand duels in AR (Augmented Reality)? House Cup Competitions? Hunting Collectibles? Playing Quidditch to catch the Golden Snitch?

The possibilities were endless!

However, things aren’t always what you wish them to be. In this case, that phrase rings true to my experience of this game.

Yer Somewhat Of A Wizard

After a brief tutorial of the game, I was off to the races. The game doesn’t do anything wildly different from what we’ve seen before.

It plays quite similarly to Pokemon Go (PoGo) aside from a few key differences. You can see your avatar walking around or in this case, sitting on a broom if you are travelling fast.

Encounters in this game require you to defeat the enemy and recover the “Foundables” they hold hostage. While the whole process sounds intimidating, it’s not as vexing as it seems.

For example, the Arresto Momentum spell simply requires you to trace the letter “M”.

Same Ron, same. I’m terrified of spiders as well.

The success rate is affected by your tracing speed, accuracy, and the enemy’s threat level.

Once you’ve defeated the enemy, the Foundables are automatically returned to the Ministry and all you have to do is strut away with a job well done. Your registry will also be updated to reflect your magical prowess.

It’s a world of magic, after all, you don’t need to clean up after yourself.

Yikes. Not something I’d ever imagine.

Why Is It Always Energy

Casting a spell requires Energy, and Energy in this game is likened to a Pokeball for PoGo. This means that your Energy will not refill over time.

You can get more Energy by visiting inns or clearing daily missions but that’s very limiting now, isn’t it?

The Inns refresh every 5 minutes, so you can “dine” again

This is one of the more annoying parts of the game to me. Imagine trying to save Harry from a Dementor and you run out of energy. (Sorry Harry! I wish you the best!)

Of course, you can pay real money for Gold which can be converted to Energy via micro-transactions. Woohoo….

For those of you living in rural areas, you might find it difficult to regain Energy if you do not have many landmarks around you.

Conjuring Up A Costume Change

Even with the inclusion of micro-transactions, there are still plenty of customisations available to you without paying a single cent.

Turning into the son of Harry & Hagrid.

For the HP fanatics, there’s an in-game camera with a filter that can dress you up in a few wacky ways through house scarves and outfits.

Levelling up will grant you access to more filters.

You can then save the pictures you take and use them as your profile picture in the game, or use the pictures elsewhere.

However, the in-game avatar is not customisable apart from the fact that you can change its colours according to what house you choose.

For example, if you choose Gryffindor as your house, the avatar will be red, and that’s about it. It’s a little lacking, if you ask me.

Flying To Almost A Stop

Another fight I had to pick with the game was with its generally slow and somewhat laggy gameplay.

For someone that has a fairly new mobile phone, I sometimes struggle with the stutters in the game. Some of the animations in the game are long and drawn out.

Capturing a Foundable could possibly even take a few minutes because you have to wait for the animation to end before you can trace the spell again if you failed to capture it the previous try.

Failing a cast will still cost you energy.

It’s almost as if the game favours flair more than actual gameplay and that simply just spells disaster for people with older generation mobile devices.

Turning off “Battery Saving” and “Download All Assets” in the settings will reduce the lag, but at the cost of space and battery.

Let’s Storm A Castle

Raids are also available in Wizards Unite in the form of Fortresses and can be taken on by up to five people.

However, to access the fortress, you will need to sacrifice runestones that are received from levelling up your registries.

The giant building is a fortress.

Fortresses are defended by enemies and monsters, and fighting against them is similar to capturing⁠—but with an additional step.

You will first have to aim your in-game wand at the enemy, and that means moving your phone around, looking like a dolt.

Once you’ve done so you will have to wait for the bar to fill before being able to cast a spell to attack the enemy. The enemies don’t just stand around either; they slink around, making it hard to aim at them.

You can also defend from their attacks by performing a trace⁠—but you will have to be fast, as their attacks will hurt if you fail to defend!

How Does It Compare?

As mentioned, the core gameplay is still quite similar to Pokemon Go⁠—battling, capturing, raiding and collecting are done with more of a magical pizzazz.

If you’re not a Harry Potter fan (why wouldn’t you be?) then you should give this a skip. As for the fans, I’m sure you’re already playing it, just like me.

Since I started distancing myself from my favourite mobile game, I’ve been itching to try out something new.

However, I find it a little difficult to imagine myself playing this for a long time as the Energy mechanic just strikes a nerve.

If they changed how Energy worked—maybe regenerating 1 Energy every 15 minutes—it would be a good start to keeping me in the game.

Categories: Malaysian, Gamer, Reviews

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(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)