The most important question in people’s mind when they read reviews about a new game is probably “Is it fun?” So let us answer that right away: Yes, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite IS fun – when you can get it to work.

Within our first 24 hours playing the latest game from Niantic, we’ve encountered freezes, crashes, and connection issues more times than we can count. And that’s not even mentioning the myriad of features that are currently unavailable. Yet despite that, we’ve got to say this magical experience has a lot of potentials, provided that its massive collection of bugs can be ironed out.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite trailer

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite stays close to the formula established by Pokémon GO, which is both good and bad

At first glance, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite appears like a Pokémon GO reskin, and in several ways, it is. That is both a praise and a complaint. Pokémon GO’s massive success has proven that the formula works, so Niantic took the right approach by not trying to fix what isn’t broken.

However, the magical universe of Harry Potter is not a perfect fit. While putting us in the role of members of a special task force under the Ministry of Magic whose responsibility is to protect Muggles from magical misconducts hits the right spot, the collectibles are an absolute miss.

Harry Potter Wizards Unite 1 0 0
Track down the Foundables and bring them back to the magic world

Pokémon GO has a huge collection of Pokémon for you to catch. Meanwhile, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has Foundables, which are basically magical objects or creatures that have escaped into the “normal” world where they don’t belong. Naturally, it falls to you to restore order.

So far, our experience has mostly consisted of rescuing various characters from the Harry Potter universe that have been entangled in ravenous man-eating plants or frozen in ice, with some occasional battles against magical foes. They all play out in a similar way, though: You have to draw certain patterns on the screen of your phone to cast spells.

Hp1 Noscale
Draw patterns to cast spells

Just like with Pokémon GO, your chances of pulling off an enchantment is decided by how accurately you swipe. However, this time there are several patterns to draw, adding a certain degree of variety to the usual “flick to throw a Pokéball” thing.

The stamp collection part makes no sense

If you successfully cast your spell, you’ll complete that particular Foundable and obtain a stamp to add to your collection. And this is the part where we think is a lot less satisfying compared to filling out a Pokédex in Pokémon GO.

The idea is not bad by any means – after all, who doesn’t like a stamp collection - it’s just that it doesn’t make sense. Think about it, you are trapped in ice, then a dude comes, casts a spell to free you, and you just give him a… stamp of yourself? It’s just bizarre.

Harry Potter Wizards Unite
Explore the world and engage in magical duels

Thankfully, Inns – the equivalent of Pokéstop – do work better. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite doesn’t have that many items, so these Inns mostly serve as a place to recharge the energy you spent performing spells. It makes sense from a realism standpoint too: Grabbing a nice drink to refresh yourself and regain energy sounds quite reasonable.

Filling out the Ministry ID is extremely fun, though

Another thing about Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is that you get to fill out your Ministry ID, which is basically creating a character. You can pick a photo to put on the ID, create your own wand, choose the Hogwarts House you like, and more. A minor disappointment is that you don’t get to take a quiz or go through some sort of sorting process to determine which House you belong to, so it’s just basically picking whichever you want.

Hp Wizard Unite
Create your own Ministry ID

We’re still not a long way into Harry Potter: Wizards Unite yet, but we’ve absolutely enjoyed what little of it we’ve experienced. It’s made great use of the idea of Pokémon GO to bring our beloved magical world to life.

The experience is hampered quite a lot by tons of bugs at the moment. Still, it was the same for Pokémon GO when it first came out, so we can expect Niantic to iron things out in the near future. We have high confidence that it will become a title that will stay on your phone for a very long time.