Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the Pokémon Go-style mobile game based on J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, has a special surprise for Muggles and sorcerers-in-training: it’s now live for your downloading pleasure!
The game arrived one day earlier than expected ahead of what was promised to be a global launch through iOS devices on Friday, June 21.
As revealed in the game, Wizards Unite is set after the defeat of Voldemort in the later years of Harry and the gang’s lives. But, the Ministry of Magic is super paranoid about protecting the Statute of Secrecy, that wizard law that says all magic must be kept out of sight of Muggles.
An adult Harry (working at the Ministry as an Auror from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement) and adult Hermione Granger are some of the characters who pop in to guide you through the mess left behind by magical creatures and phenomena. The first character you meet, however, is Constance Pickering, a colleague of Hermione’s on the Statute of Secrecy task force, the ones charged with containing the disaster of “The Calamity,” and she’s recruiting you to help.
What’s The Calamity? “Everything that anyone has ever feared, revered, or held dear in the wizarding world — people, things, even memories — have been stolen and displaced, tossed about across the world,” Constance says in the game. “We’ve got to return what is lost, and quickly. The Statute of Secrecy is in danger of being broken.
Wizards Unite works similarly to Pokémon Go — probably because Ninantic, Inc., the makers of Pokémon Go, are also behind Wizards Unite. As you walk about the world, your wizard avatar moves about the map, allowing you to find “Foundables,” the aforementioned bits of displaced magic.
Some of them are characters, like Hagrid, whom you must save from an Acromantula web with the “Diffindo” splitting charm in one playable scenario. (Swiping your finger across the mobile screen in the designated motion will perform the spell.) Others may include creatures (like the Boggart) or objects (like a Portkey).
In lieu of Pokémon gyms, players in Wizards Unite can visit multiple “Fortresses” indicated on the map. These locations feature live multiplayer “Wizarding Challenges” against dark creatures and Death Eaters.
As the game progresses, players will also get the opportunity to choose a specific profession, which will afford unique skills and abilities. Harry re-emerges as the guide for anyone choosing to become “Aurors,” Hagrid will be your guide to “Magizoologists,” and Professor McGonagall will pop in should you go the “Professor” route.
Niantic teases additional updates and additions to the game after launch, which isn’t surprising given all the evolutions of Pokémon Go. So, keep your wands at the ready.