Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is More Than Just a Magical Pokémon Go

Look! Another Pokémon. Whoops, wrong game.

Niantic is back at it again with another game to force us lazy folks to get off the couch and walk around in “the real world.” Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a new free-to-play mobile game in the vein of Pokémon Go – but instead of collecting Pokémon, it turns players into wizards and witches tasked with finding magical objects. Launching on Friday, it’s already earned around $300,000 across iOS and Google Play during its first 24 hours according to data from SensorTower. While not as insanely popular as Pokemon GO was during its first day, it still looks like Wizards Unite will be another popular entry.

I, afraid of experiencing FOMO as I watched many of my friends and co-workers try out the game, decided to give it a shot for myself. Here’s some first impressions of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

That’ll do, Harry

Those that have played any of Pokemon Go will basically know the drill when they download Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. There’s a story involved so you’ll read through a lot of dialogue at the very beginning to set up why you’re doing in game. Your goal is collect magical objects, people and creatures that have been released into the world and recover or return them to their rightful place before the magical world is revealed to the muggle world.

In order to do this you can walk around real-life locations collecting items that fans of the wizarding world will recognise. You’ll pick up energy (the game’s version of Pokéballs) which you use to cast spells to attempt to catch confoundables (the missing magical items you’re trying to collect). You can also use potions (like berries in Pokémon Go) to make it easier to take out confoundables.

Catching confoundables isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing in the game: you’ll also come across Wizarding Challenges (Pokemon Go raids), you’ll create your own profile, add friends and unlock portkeys.

Bloody hell, what fun!

It’s difficult to not compare Wizards Unite with Pokémon Go as it follows a very similar formula – but there are enough differences for Wizards Unite to potentially carve out its own place in the AR gaming space. I’ve definitely enjoyed my first few hours with the game; as a Harry Potter fan, anyone from the fandom is going to absolutely love picking up and discovering confoundables in the familiar wizarding world. And being able to speak with Harry himself on occasion and see other characters from the franchise is a great addition.

So far, it feels like confoundables tend to show up more often than Pokémon do in Pokémon Go, so you don’t necessarily have to walk around the get special things (though you will have to walk around to unlock portkeys). And by walking around you’ll discover “Legends of Hogwarts traces” as well as inns (the equivalent of Pokéstops) where you’ll be able to grab more energy.

One other thing that you’re able to do after level six is choose a profession. You can be an auror, magizoologist or professor. An auror specialises in combat against the Dark Arts, a magizoologist focuses on caring for creatures, and a professor is able to buff teammates and debuff enemies.

So far, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is shaping up to be a great alternative to Pokémon Go for people who prefer their hippogriffs to Hoothoots. It encourages you to get up and immerse yourself, and it does a pretty great job. The graphics are lovely and there’s nothing forcing you to spend actual money on the game. Plus the addition of a real story actually encourages to keep it going.

I’m excited to see where Harry Potter: Wizards Unite goes in the future in regards to keeping it fresh and interesting. I’ll definitely be continuing my magical career over the next few weeks.