- On Friday, you’ll be able to play “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” the new game co-developed by the creator of “Pokémon Go.”
- I got the chance to play the game early at an event this week at Universal Studios Hollywood, hosted by comedian Tiffany Haddish.
- The game is really well-designed, has tons of details, and sports a surprising amount of depth — in a lot of ways, it’s a major evolution past “Pokémon Go.”
- You’ll be able to play it for yourself when it releases for iPhone and Android on Friday in the US and UK.
- In the meanwhile, here’s the breakdown.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
On Friday, muggles, witches, and wizards alike will finally be able to play “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” the new game co-developed by Niantic — best known as the creators of “Pokémon Go.”
I was lucky enough to get my hands on the game early, at a special event hosted by Niantic and co-developer WB Games down in the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, featuring a guest appearance by comedian Tiffany Haddish — who, incidentally, said she’s a big fan of both Harry Potter and “Pokémon Go,” and used the event to get her own first go at the game.
(She said she’s a Ravenclaw, in case you were wondering.)
I was already on board with “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” thanks to the time I got with an earlier version of the game back in March. But getting to run around the park’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter area with the game in tow really brought home what “Wizards Unite” is going for — and why it’s going to be a big deal to a lot of people.
For those, like me, who have played a lot of “Pokémon Go,” there’s a lot here to love — the basic gameplay is similar, but speaking strictly in terms of gameplay mechanics, “Wizards Unite” is the closest thing we may ever get to a proper “Pokémon Go” sequel. It offers all kinds of smart upgrades and tweaks to the core experience that left me impressed.
And then, there will be those Potterheads, young and old, who come to this game fresh. For them, “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” offers nifty graphics (including the clever use of augmented reality), an interesting story, and a lot of different things to see and do. The developers have said that the goal is to suck you into the universe of author J.K. Rowling’s book and movies, and in many ways, it’s a success.
At the same time, I have some concerns: All of those new gameplay mechanics, from potion-brewing to magical dueling, introduce some complexity that may make for a steeper learning curve than you might expect.
Still, the sheer amount of love for the Wizarding World that went into this game, and all the care and attention to detail given to every aspect of the gameplay, make me think that this is going to be big.
Here’s what it was like playing “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” at Universal Studios Hollywood, with (or at least, near) Tiffany Haddish: