Over the length of seven books, eight movies, and countless other adaptations, Hogwarts Mystery Hack and his friends have defeated those who seek to use magic’s dark arts for villainy. So when the mobile game Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery Hack was announced, touting the interesting hook of being able to create your own character and carve out your own personal path within J.K. Rowling‘s beloved world, I was immediately on board. Sure, the graphics were only a little clunky and outdated, the voice acting from principal cast members was quite limited despite press releases to the contrary, and the “tap this thing a bunch of times to complete your objective” approach was pretty weak, but those shortcomings were easy to brush aside because the story rolled on. But after more or less a 30 minutes of playtime today, microtransactions stopped my progress in its tracks.
Microtransactions in Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery Hack (essentially, small “opportunities” for you to spend real money in a “free” or “freemium” game) are only as unavoidable because they are, when improperly implemented, inexcusable these days. There’s a place for mtx to be sure and they’re great ways for developers to recoup a few of the massive costs of producing games, particularly when the game itself is initially offered for free. They’re great ways to add fun elements to a game like cosmetic changes or other customizable options. They’re even perfectly fine for those players, flush with cash, that are impatient enough to get to that next level that they’ll happily purchase power-ups and upgrades to be able to do just that. However, microtransactions shouldn’t be impediments to the game’s core story itself.
As for the remaining portion of the game itself, from what little I obtained to play of it, it had been fine. There are always a decent level of options available for customizing the look of one’s character; more are unlockable through, you guessed it, microtransactions–this is one area where I’m totally fine with the model. The story adds some interesting twists as an older trouble-making sibling who went missing and other students who will become friends or enemies based on your own multiple choice responses and interactions. The magic elements themselves may also be fine; I basically got to master one spell and one potion before the cooldown timer stopped me dead in the grip of a Devil’s Snare.