Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a story-driven mobile game released in 2018 by Portkey Games.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery doesn't have any mechanics involving combat or management. It's a visual novel that takes your avatar and inserts it into a pre-Harry Potter Hogwarts. After starting the game you grab your supplies, ride the train, pick your House, and you're off. You are given a series of linear quests/missions that require only but a tap of the screen(sometimes in succession.) Tapping on the objectives costs energy and you start with very little, and it ticks up at a rate of one per every five minutes. This limitation hits you at full force when the gameplay is simplified to tapping a highlighted object on the screen. This is the core gameplay in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.
I did also encounter a mission that required me to pick the correct dialogue option when interacting with a friend, but these were the only deviation from this style. Selections also contributed to your characters attributes, of which there are three: Courage, Empathy, and Knowledge. Certain dialogue selections in the visual novel cutscenes will grow one attribute and unlock new dialogue selections later.
After progressing past certain sections in the game the "year" ends and the House Cup is awarded, which rewards Gems(about $5.00USD worth) if you come in first. It's entirely possible to miss this reward.
Rewards for completion of these missions are experience, Gold, and sometimes you'll learn a spell or how to make a potion. Spells and potion recipes are required for achievements. Spells are the other facet of the "gameplay", and that involves tracing a line with your finger on the screen. There's no time limit and there is no challenge.
In between missions you can explore Hogwarts by scrolling through the pretty rooms and hallways. You can also customize your character, a feature that the developers most likely wanted the players to care about. It's incredibly difficult to care about this game. There may very well be more diverse gameplay further past Year 1, but there's very little fun to be had to get there.
The two currencies in this game, Coins and Gems, are given out at a fairly low rate. Gems are the premium currency and are used for cosmetic items and refilling your energy, which you will want to do a lot if you don't want to wait a really long time. Coins are spent to do certain missions and to buy cosmetics.
The Coin cost for mew missions is fairly arbitrary. The Gem generation, however, is non-existent. You'd be lucky to get ten, and the cheapest energy restoration purchase is 20 Gems(a little less than a dollar). The cost is negligible if you're patient enough, but how could you stand to be patient with this style of gameplay?
I will contend that the art style is appealing, and the orchestral soundtrack does suit the Harry Potter theme of the game well. McGonagall, Snape, Dumbledore, Hagrid, and all other included familiar characters are well modeled and look fine. It's disappointing to know none of the student characters are around. The stand-ins do not hold the same charm, but there's some substance there. The story hinges on your character's mysterious sibling who vanished after withdrawing from Hogwarts some years ago. Everybody knows about it and makes sure to bring it up when it's available. You know nothing about your sibling at the beginning of the game so your dialogue options fill in the details for you. It feels a bit forced on the player, and you only have a maximum of four options at any time which is restricting.
There's no daily login bonus. Just log in every time your Energy is full to click some more. No currency rewarded at all, only for achievements and only in minor amounts.
Jam City, the developers of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, have been around since 2012. One of their most popular apps is "Cookie Jam", a match-3 puzzle game. In fact, a lot of their games are match-3 puzzle games. They have a Family Guy and Dreamworks' The Book of Life-themed match-3 games. Their games do receive frequent updates and patches.
The other attributed developers, Portkey Games, has no other released games and is involved in Harry Potter: Wizard's Unite, the upcoming Harry Potter-themed AR game.
It is worth noting that the game has been reviewed during it's Early Access release. As such, new content or changes will most likely take place in the game's near future.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery's substance lies in its Harry Potter tie-in. Without the familiar teachers and Hogwarts staff and the castle, this game would be almost barren of content. Those looking to enjoy a Harry Potter video game may want to try this since it's free, but it's easy to argue that your time could be spent elsewhere. Maybe there's a big feature unincluded in the early access, but without that, there's little to recommend.