Harry Potter: Magic Awakened

It is supposed to be a boy!

Overly pretty boy Itlandm lounging in his room at Hogwarts, waiting for the game’s time lock to open again so he can earn more cards.

I am vaguely sorry for not posting anything at a time when people my age die in droves from the ongoing pandemic. Or as I call it, the Longevity Nerf patch to Real Life. It seems the Developer has decided that human lifespan has become a bit too long, and has taken steps to adjust it. Anyway, my hour has not yet come, though it may draw nearer now that the Norwegian government has decided that Covid-19 Omicron is welcome and done away with all restrictions.

But on a more upbeat note, since most people out there are much younger than me and probably more playful as well, let’s talk about the newest game I have found. This is not something that happens often, but this is actually so new that it is still in beta. Well, actually it is already quite successful in China, but the English version is in beta during February 2022. If all goes well (for the game), the servers will be taken down at the end of February and new servers will be set up later this year. I may play it again then, if I’m still around.

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Harry Potter: Magic Awakened is another Portkey game, but unfortunately it has no exercise component like my previous Harry Potter mobile game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which unfortunately closed at the end of January. It was awesome and wholesome. This one is just awesome, I guess. It does not encourage exercise, quite the opposite. Well, except for your fingers I guess.

The game is set in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, starting around 10 years after the final book in the series. You play as a young and way too androgynous student getting a surprise letter of acceptance from the school, and working your way through a long storyline spanning years. Probably. I am still in the first year and there’s barely a week left of the beta. But there is supposedly a lot of story content in there, and what I have seen is pretty fun, at least if you can identify with teenagers.

During the introduction, you select some things about your character, like gender and dress code (within limits). You are led through the sorting hat ritual and get to know a few students: A female potential love interest with a dark past, a male potential love interest who probably also has some personality, a couple of helpful friends, and the haughty and naughty female antagonist and her twin lackeys. You can play as either gender, but both the looks and the choice of antagonist imply that girls are particularly welcome to play. Unsurprisingly, the game encourages socializing and making friends, although you can socialize without friends too, or bring your own.

The game has RPG elements, but is really a collectible-cards game. You get some cards through the storyline, but also you get cards and gold from daily activities like participating in class, friendly duels, or exploring the Forbidden Forest. Unfortunately, the Forbidden Forest is the only purely single-player activity (except the storyline) and then only at the lower difficulties. Luckily the game will just throw you in with random strangers for your class activities and there is no need to talk to them, yay! If you pick a time of day when there are too few volunteers for classes, your AI friends from the storyline will join you instead, which I find a lot more relaxing. Duels are always against other players, unfortunately.

Most classes are combat-oriented. Combat requires you to play cards from your deck. The deck is limited in size, so it is smart to make several small decks for different occasions. I mostly use the same deck all the time though, one focused on protection, healing, and summoning creatures to fight for me. So far it works well enough, but I am still early in the game and will probably always be.

The classes vary from day to day, but one common class is History of Magic, which is actually trivia from the books! No combat needed. You just pick the correct answer out of four, your two friends do the same, and you get rewarded based on the sum of your effort. How very Asian. Luckily I am doing surprisingly well, given that I stopped after the first book where one of the kids was killed. (I really hate it when people kill kids.) I picked up more than a little lore from the previous game I played, though, and from friends elsewhere gushing about characters.

Another fairly non-violent task you can do daily is dance in the ballroom! The worst that could happen is that you step on someone’s feet. You control the dance by pressing circles that briefly appear in various directions around your character, in time with the music. My sense of rhythm is horrible, so stepping on toes is sure to occur. And despite Ivy saying she wanted to dance with me again, there are always just strangers when I come there. (Ivy is the artificially intelligent puppy-love interest.) I hope our future AI overlords don’t take this badly, but I would rather step on artificial toes than those belonging to fellow humans.

Successful classes, duels, dances, and explorations reward you with baskets you can open. But you cannot do this all day long: It takes a couple of hours from you open a basket till you can open the next. However, if you don’t play for some hours (for instance while working or sleeping) the baskets will pile up. You still need to do your dailies to unlock the baskets, and then you can put the game aside and do other things. Thank you, Chinese dictatorship, for forcing kids to not play the same game from dawn till dusk (or worse yet, the other way around).

And on that note, time for my evening walk. Even without Harry Potter, I will walk while I still can.

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