Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, one of the most-anticipated mobile releases of all time, finally launched in June 2019. While the game dominated headlines on the weekend of its release, perhaps you’re still not completely sure what Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is about.
We’re here to explain what the game is, what it’s about, and how to play it. Here’s everything you need to know about Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
What Is Harry Potter: Wizards Unite?
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is an augmented reality (AR) game from Niantic, the developers of Pokemon Go. The game takes place in the Harry Potter universe, several decades after the events of the original Harry Potter series.
In the game, players help the Ministry of Magic during a crisis which sees wizarding objects and memories appearing in the Muggle (non-magical) world. In order to protect the Statute of Secrecy, players are tasked with collecting these objects.
Familiar characters from the Harry Potter books and movies appear in the game, either as NPCs or collectible memories. This includes Hermione Granger, now the Minister For Magic, and Harry Potter, a Ministry Auror.
Which Countries Is Wizards Unite Available In?
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite launched on June 20, 2019. This limited release launched the game in the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
However, by June 22, the game had been rolled out to a total of 140 countries across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas. There’s a full list of countries where Wizards Unite is available on the game’s website.
The game will continue to be rolled out to other territories over the coming weeks and months. A few notable territories where Wizards Unite was not made available on its launch weekend include Japan and South Korea.
How to Play Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is available on Android and iOS. The game is free to download and play but contains a variety of microtransactions. These microtransactions are promoted frequently, so this may be off-putting for players who prefer mobile games with no in-app purchases.
To play Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, you will need to create an account with either your Google or Facebook login credentials. Other details needed to create an account include your first and last name. Luckily, the game doesn’t share this information with other players. You then create a profile nickname, which other players can see when you add them as friends.
You will also need a working internet connection to play the game since it is based on your location, with items spawning on the map regularly.
In terms of device compatibility, Wizards Unite requires a device with Android 5 or later or an iPhone/iPad with iOS 10.0 or later.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Mechanics Explained
Wizards Unite shares some characteristics with Pokemon Go and other AR games, but it definitely differs in terms of its mechanics and gameplay. Here are a few of the core mechanics of the game that you should know about.
Traces, Foundables, and Confoundables
When playing Wizards Unite, a variety of Traces (depicted by shining icons that look like badges) will spawn on your map. These Traces show the spawn locations of collectibles known as Foundables, which are magical items or memories that have appeared in the Muggle world. To collect the Foundable, you will need to defeat a Confoundable—chaotic magic that traps the Foundable in the Muggle world.
To do this, tap on a Trace to open an encounter. This encounter will show you exactly which Foundable and Confoundable have spawned. To defeat the Counfoundable, you will need to cast a spell by tracing it on your screen.
Depending on the difficulty of the encounter, you will either defeat the Confoundable or the Confoundable will resist your spell. Confoundables also have the ability to flee the encounter (preventing you from collecting the Foundable), depending on their flee chance rate.
Once you save a Foundable, the item appears in your registry.
Fortresses and Challenges in Wizards Unite
Players can work together in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite to defeat Wizarding Challenges. You can find these challenges in Fortresses—large buildings located at points of interest on the Wizards Unite map.
If players join the same chamber, they will be able to fight off foes together. Depending on the level of the challenge and other factors, multiple enemies will appear for each player to take on individually.
Each enemy spawns a combat encounter, meaning that you will need to cast offensive and defensive spells to defeat it. Once you defeat all of the enemies, the challenge ends and players receive a variety of rewards.
Energy in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
To cast spells in Wizards Unite, you use a resource called Energy. You spend Energy whenever you cast a spell to fight a Confoundable or Fortress enemy. If you run out of Energy, you will not be able to complete encounters or cast spells.
Players can restore Energy when they visit Inns. When you select an Inn, you need to trace a pattern to interact with it. Based on a random roll, you will either get three, five or 10 Energy.
You can also occasionally restore Energy with Greenhouses, but there’s no guarantee. Other ways to restore Energy include buying it from the in-game store or completing a specific daily mission which awards 10 Energy.
The Energy resource in Wizards Unite does not restore by itself over time, nor does it appear as a collectible item on the map (as is the case with potion ingredients).
Portkeys and Tracking Steps in Wizards Unite
Walking is a gameplay mechanic in Wizards Unite, but not to the same extent as in Pokemon Go. In Wizards Unite, tracking steps and distance traveled is used to unlock Portkeys.
If players want to unlock a Portkey, they need three things: a Portkey Portmanteau (a decorative box), a key, and distance traveled. Portkey boxes spawn on the map around the player, who will need to pick it up.
You begin the unlocking process by combining this box with a golden or silver key. Combining these items begins the distance tracking process. Once you have traveled the required distance, the portkey box unlocks.
This spawns an AR instance with a hidden object mini-game. To collect the items, move your phone around and tap on the small, sparkling lights floating around the room. Each item collected provides you with a reward.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Professions
Another interesting element in Wizards Unite is the ability to choose a wizarding profession. Players can choose whether they want to be a Magizoologist, an Auror, or a Professor. Each profession comes with different strengths, weaknesses, and team abilities.
For example, a Magizoologist is strong against beast encounters but weak in encounters with oddities. They can also learn different Fortress spells, which let them heal party members during a challenge.
You can switch between professions in Wizards Unite, so you don’t have to worry about the choice being permanent.
Is Wizards Unite Like Pokemon Go?
Many elements of Wizards Unite and Pokemon Go overlap. In fact, the same places you find Pokestops in Pokemon Go are where you’ll find Inns and Greenhouses in Wizards Unite.
Other common mechanics include collecting objects found around you (Pokemon vs Foundables), collecting resources from points of interest (Pokeballs vs Energy), working with other players to defeat enemies (Gyms and Raids vs Fortresses), and completing daily missions or long-term goals.
However, a few things also differentiate Wizards Unite from its predecessor. Firstly, the gameplay mechanics are slightly more interactive. Instead of just throwing an item to catch an object, you have to trace a spell with a certain level of speed and accuracy.
Furthermore, the profession system means that players can essentially choose a class and level up abilities using a skill tree. In Pokemon Go, there are no trainer specializations.
Meanwhile, combat in Wizards Unite is also more challenging and interactive. Rather than simply tapping a screen repeatedly to attack, you will need to trace offensive and defensive spells. Your offensive spells also require you to charge them up first by aligning an aim icon with the target’s moving hitbox icon.
Other Augmented Reality Games Are Available
Now you know what Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is all about, you should try it for yourself. It’s the only way to determine whether this is a game you’re likely to spend the next couple of years playing.
However, if you find Harry Potter: Wizards Unite isn’t for you, you could always go back to playing Pokemon Go. And if you didn’t get on with the other big Niantic game the first time around, here are the Pokemon Go tips and tricks you need to succeed.