Harry Potter games to scratch your wizardly itches
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a… how do we say, divisive game.
Released on iOS and Android devices, the free-to-play Hogwarts Mystery enjoyed an initial surge of popularity followed by an onslaught of criticism. Harry Potter fans were naturally excited to see the latest game inside their beloved universe, but were quickly met with excessive disruptions to gameplay that could only be overcome with intrusive micro-transactions.
Because the game is supposed to be accessible for all ages, the micro-transactions naturally caught the ire of fans and pundits everywhere. Even now, after the game has received updates to ease these criticisms, Hogwarts Mystery still hasn’t risen above numerous memes making fun of its monetization.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan and want a traditional gaming experience, perhaps we could lend a hand. Below are stand-out games Harry Potter games that are better than a butterbeer on a hot summer’s day.
3: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Okay, so a little back story here: Harry Potter video games are really confusing.
Back in the day, Electronic Arts had the license to the Harry Potter franchise. They released games based on each book for as many platforms as possible… but different developers handled making the games on each system. In other words, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is completely different on the PS1 compared to the PS2, and even the Xbox and Gamecube versions have key differences despite being “based” on the PS2 version.
I’ll give that a minute to sink in since that’s hella confusing.
Fortunately, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is one of the most well-reviewed titles across all of its various versions. In other words, if you want the best retro Harry Potter experience, get The Chamber of Secrets on whatever platform you can manage. Nothing confusing about that!
2: The Harry Potter RPG trilogy
Now that we’ve clarified the weird cluster truck that is Harry Potter video games, we have to highlight this curious trilogy of games that some fans might not even know existed.
Griptonite Games was in charge of making Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the Gameboy Color. But instead of making the action-adventure style games the others were making, Griptonite made Sorcerer’s Stone into an old-school, turn-based RPG. While this sort of makes sense given the popularity of Pokémon at the time, it’s still really strange that they chose such a hardcore genre for a licensed game. Heck, it even includes a lot of references to Final Fantasy, including the hopping victory dance after battles!
Griptonite continued making Harry Potter RPGs with Chamber of Secrets for the Gameboy Color and Prisoner of Azkaban for the Gameboy Advance. Each of these games is considered am an improvement over Sorcerer’s Stone, with Chamber of Secrets being considered a standout entry. And honestly, when you look at the game, it makes sense: Chamber of Secrets is something of a technical marvel on the system. Sprite animation is generally hard to pull off on such a small handheld screen, but Chamber of Secrets looks incredibly fluid and even sounds great too!
Licensed video games are typically uninspired, but Griptonite’s three Harry Potter games are the exact opposite. Even if the genre isn’t your cup of tea, these games are worth a look for their novelty alone. And hey, if RPGs aren’t your thing but you’d like to give these Harry Potter games a try, we suggest learning the ropes with these 5 RPGs that are perfect for beginners.
1: Lego Harry Potter
Alright, here’s the game we know you’re going to want to play.
The recent Lego video games are like the Funko Pops of gaming. They’re accessible and somewhat predictable adaptations of pop culture staples, but we’ll be damned if they aren’t a lot of fun. Lego Harry Potter lovingly recreates Hogwarts brick by brick, complete with funny cutscenes that recreate memorable moments from the series with grunts and bombastic facial expressions. If you’ve never played a Lego game before, you’ll know what we’re talking about once you’re 5 minutes into it.
Lego Harry Potter is easy to pick up and play, available for cheap on PC / Xbox 360 / PS3, and can even be played cooperatively with two players! The game is split into two installments, Years 1-4 and Years 5-7. Since Years 1-4 is generally considered the superior game, you’ll be able to figure out if the game is your cup of tea before investing in the second title. That said, a remastered collection of both games is available for PS4 if you know you want the full experience.
In short, Lego Harry Potter is one of the best Harry Potter games out there. Even if it has some shortcomings, at least you won’t have to worry about paying money to restore your energy.