Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery has been teased for eager Harry Potter fans for some time now, and the game is finally live on the Play Store for everybody to download. The story surrounds your custom character, who has finally received their very own Hogwarts letter. You'll spend the tutorial section getting school supplies and selecting your very first wand, before you're sorted into your house and the adventure begins in earnest. Once you're sorted, you can begin attending classes, exploring the campus as much as you're allowed, and schmoozing with your classmates, including new characters created just for this game and famous faces like a member of the well-known Weasley family.
The best way to describe this game is a choose your own adventure, but with mini-games and beautifully rendered 3D characters and environments. The main way to advance the storyline is to make choices; you'll choose what to say to other characters, and what to do in situations that call for finesse, talent, and skill, such as brewing potions in Snape's class, making your broomstick fly to your hand for the first time, and even being pitted against the deadly Devil's Snare. Longtime fans of the series will appreciate the extensive range of callbacks, which only makes sense since this game is technically canon within the Potterverse, though it takes place years before Harry, Ron and Hermione attend, and your character's personal saga, at least in what's been released of the game so far, paints them as a side character in the overarching saga of Dumbledore's army versus Voldemort's army, at best. Without spoiling too much, this game brands you with a sort of stigma from the very start, and that stigma comes with a rival. Those two factors will paint most of your actions, and you'll find unexpected factors and consequences you never anticipated come into play with just about everything you do. Which house you choose at the start of the game will also play a big part in your interactions with others.
Like most free mobile titles with large, granular storylines, there is an energy system in play here. You'll start out with 24 units of energy at max, and you'll find that total can burn out quickly. When it does, you'll have to either exit the game and come back later, which you can even do in the middle of class if needed, or pay for more energy with gems, the game's premium currency. Unfortunately, this means that playing for more than a few minutes at a time will probably require money, but the fact that you can play all the way through such a well-made game and captivating storyline for free in exchange for a little patience is likely enough in most fans' eyes to warrant some measure of forgiveness. All in all, fans of old-school point and click adventure games, fans of choose your own adventure books, and of course longtime Harry Potter fans will all find a lot to love here.