Harry Potter Wizards Unite: A beginners guide to this Pokemon Go-based AR game

Could Niantic's Harry Potter: Wizards Unite be as big or bigger than Pokemon Go?

By now you might have gotten to know the developer of the once insanely popular AR game Pokemon Go, Niantic. Pokemon Go was a success not just because it catered to a massive, Pokemon-loving community, but also because it offered a unique and fresh experience that involved the real world, something that fit with the idea of Pokemon.

Their latest game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, is attempting to replicate that same success with a game that caters to yet another massive community, Potter fans.

Harry Potter Wizards Unite.

Harry Potter Wizards Unite.

As with Pokemon GoWizards Unite will also have player roaming around outdoors to complete missions, battle enemies and collect rewards. If you're itching to get started, here's your one-stop guide for everything you need to start out.

What is the story behind Wizards Unite?

The game is set in a world after the events in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. An unexplained 'Calamity' has scattered magical objects around the Muggle world and as part of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force, you will need to find out what exactly this Calamity is, find traces of magic and piece together the items you find along the way to uncover secrets surrounding this mystery. That is currently all the information available on the storyline behind the game, but quite frankly, you don't care about that, do you?

How can I download and set up the game?

The game is available on Android and iOS. The initial setup process is quite straightforward and you'll just need to follow the on-screen instructions.

You can head here for a complete guide on what you need to do for setting up the game.

How does one play the game?

As mentioned earlier, the basic premise of the game is that you discover items in an augmented world and uncover information on the Calamity. Essentially you need to take your phone with the game on and roam nearby places and locate any sign of "magical disturbances". Encountering these disturbances or magical 'traces' is mainly what the game is all about. When you do encounter one, the trace will be one of two things (or both): Foundable' and 'Confoundable'. For example, when I first started the game I encountered Hagrid, who was a Foundable, and was under attack from a dementor, which was a Confoundable. Upon tapping on Hagrid a magical-exposure clock gives us the threat-level of the confoundable and how difficult it will be to defeat. You defeat the confoundable to free Hagrid.

Wizards Unite UI.

Wizards Unite UI.

Wands are obviously one of the most essential tools in the game and at any time you encounter signs of a Confoundable, you will be asked to position three stars on your display and the spot for those stars will be present on the magical entity's body. You can do this by moving the phone so that the stars are aligned. After that, you will be prompted to cast a spell for which you would need to trace a spell hint with your finger on your phone's screen. Think of it as waving a wand in a particular pattern to cast a spell. In this case, your finger is the wand.

Once you have freed the Foundable, it or they will be returned to where they originally belonged. As I had freed Hagrid, he returned back to the Hogwarts grounds. This will earn you rewards and also level you up.

Wizards Unite takes a lot from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

Wizards Unite takes a lot from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

Dark Wizards can also be encountered alongside Confoundables and you will need to duel them. While I've not encountered any dark wizard to duel yet, a report by CNET has said that the fight is extremely fast-paced and the player has to constantly switch between offensive and defensive spells. You could also get penalised if you are not able to cast spells properly.

Like Pokemon Go, Wizards Unite will also have several locations you can go to collect ingredients, look for signs of the Calamity, find rewards, and more. In Wizards Unite these locations are Inns, Greenhouses, and Fortresses. In Pokemon Go, you used to battle other players at a Gym, in a Fortress you can team up with three other players to dispel Death Eaters. All battles happen in real time with players in the shared arena.

What items are available in the game?

Potions: You will unlock potions after reaching Level 4 in the game. While walking around the map, you will be encountering Potion-making ingredients which can spawn according to the weather conditions outside. With Potions, you can heal yourself in battle, find magical traces more easily, improves how spells are cast, and more. The suitcase icon present at the bottom centre of the screen is where you will see a 'Potions' icon wherein you can brew potions from the items you have found.

Potions, items and Profession in Wizards Unite.

Potions, items and Profession in Wizards Unite.

Portkeys: As mentioned in the original Harry Potter franchise, these are objects that will instantly teleport you to another location when you touch them. A similar function is achieved here as well, except that when you use a Portkey you are virtually taken to a different part of the world to complete a task. The Portkey is a triangular box and upon finding one, you will need to walk a certain distance to charge it up, much like how you hatch eggs in Pokemon Go. Once your mission, should you choose to accept it (Sorry, I couldn't resist.), is completed, you will be teleported back to your original location.

Professions: Apart from items you can also choose your profession after you hit level 6. You have the option to become either an Auror, Magizoologist or a Professor. Each profession has is own advantages: an Auror will focus on combat and excel at defending against the dark arts, a Magizoologist will handle magical beasts and provide assistance to teammates, and the Professor slots in somewhere between.

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