Three years ago, Niantic Labs stepped up augmented reality gaming with the release of Pokemon Go. For the first time, users could collect Pokemon and battle each other while exploring the world around them. Now, Niantic has brought that same element of bringing fantasy to life with the new augmented reality mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The game was initially released in Australia and New Zealand for beta in May, but now it is available for download to mobile users in the US, a full day ahead of its scheduled global release.
As may be expected with such a developed world, Wizards Unite is a bit more complicated from the get-go than its predecessor. The game’s official website give this description:
A calamity has befallen the wizarding world, causing artifacts, creatures, people, and even memories to mysteriously appear in the Muggle world. Witches and wizards from across the globe must come together to solve the mystery of The Calamity, overcome the confounding chaotic magic that surrounds these “Foundables,” and return them to their rightful place, keeping them safe from Muggle eyes.
Your journey begins as a new recruit of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force, established by the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards for the purpose of investigating and containing The Calamity.
As you step outside and explore the world, the Map will reveal Traces of magic, highlighting the location of magical Foundables. While these Traces can be found all around you, certain Foundables may be more likely to appear at various types of real-world locations including parks, banks, municipal buildings, college campuses, libraries, monuments, zoos, art galleries, and more. Cast a variety of spells to overcome the Confoundable magic, keep the magical Foundables safe, and send them back to the wizarding world. By returning Foundables, you’ll earn unique rewards that can be tracked in the game Registry.
As you cast spells, you’ll consume Spell Energy. Be sure to regularly stop by Inns, found at Muggle locations around the world, to collect food and drinks that replenish your Spell Energy. While exploring, you’ll also come across ingredients that can be used to brew Potions, which will aid you in different aspects of your Wizarding World journey. These ingredients can be found on the Map, varying by the environment, weather, and time of day, as well as in specially designated Greenhouses.
Make sure to also keep an eye out for Portmanteaus, which can be unlocked to reveal Portkeys that whisk you away to iconic wizarding world locations. For the first time you’ll be able to step into a full 360-degree Advanced AR immersive experience in places like Ollivander’s Wand Shop.
As you travel around, you will have the opportunity to test your combat skills in Fortresses, akin to the Gyms from Pokemon Go. At the Fortresses, you will face Wizarding Challenges, which can include facing Death Eaters, werewolves, and other fearsome foes. You’ll want to have your friends with you to partake in these battles, as winning will help you recover rare Foundables from inside the Fortresses.
Furthering the world-building of this game, you will be able to choose a wizarding profession to specialize in as you level up, such a Magizoologist, Professors, and Auror. You may want to team up with friends of different professions, as each have their own skills and abilities that will help you as you go along your quest.
While Wizards Unite is more complicated that Niantic’s previous ARG game, it seems like this is just the game Harry Potter fans have been waiting for. It allows users to truly delve into the world created by J.K. Rowling and feel like they really are a witch or wizard.