Australian Council on Children and the Media

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery - Jam City Inc.

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Short takes

Designed for entertainment, this role-playing game contains detailed graphics and experiences and adventures parallel to the original characters in the Harry Potter series. A lot of in-App purchases are required to maintain momentum in the game play. Players need to read competently, use basic motor skills and solve simple puzzles. There are fantasy themes, mild horror themes and frequent fantasy cartoon violence.

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No gambling content found in the levels played

This review of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery was completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 July 2019.

About the app

This section contains details about the app provided by an ACCM Reviewer.

Name of app: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
Developed by: Jam City Inc.
Platform reviewed: Apple App Store
Cost: Free
Developer’s suggested age: Rated 12+ for the following: Infrequent/mild horror/fear themes and frequent/intense cartoon or fantasy violence
ACCM suggested age: Parental Guidance-M due to In-App purchasing and on-line information requirements. However, with supervision, a child of 12+ years would find this App entertaining and achievable.
Gambling content advice: No gambling content found in the levels played

ACCM review

This review of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery contains the following information:

The level to which the game was reviewed

Year 1, Chapter 4. Approximately six hours play.

App description

With exciting artwork and an enjoyable soundtrack, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a RPG that allows the player to choose and customise their own avatar to take them on a derivative and parallel journey to Harry and his friends in the original series of books, set before the famous wizard has saved the Wizarding world. Aiming to solve a mystery that surrounds the player’s older sibling, who disappeared whilst attending Hogwarts, is the premise for the adventure and promises much fun through exploring the grounds of the school, choosing a House and meeting familiar teachers including Professors Snape and MacGonagall.

Within the game there are mini-games, puzzles and problem solvers, as well as minor fine motor tasks that provide trials to challenge the player before progressing the story line. Quiz-like questions relating to the story are also present that test the player’s memory and pose some basic moral questions relating to friendship.

The game requires players to be competent readers (approx. 10 Year old) but the puzzles, games and trials are very basic, requiring little skill, except some memory work and mimicry.

Reviewers comments

At the level the reviewer played, this game offered little opportunity for learning apart from the actual game play process and requirements. The game may encourage reluctant readers to read and some of the puzzles require a moderate amount of creative problem solving. 

Because the game is basically a story with interactive pictures the player may be constantly frustrated in their desire to progress the plot or explore the grounds and people in the environment by being required to spend currency during tasks, then wait to renew stashes of the currency to finish the tasks. The game play is very sluggish, due to this reliance on the player earning enough coins, power, gems and/or courage/empathy/knowledge to pay for items, access to activities or information. This makes the game a ‘nag’ hazard for parents as children playing may find it impossibly frustrating to wait (sometimes a very long time) for the free access options.

Parents should be aware that the in-App purchases are quickly depleted and consequently quite expensive.

In App purchasing

There is In-App purchasing in this game, examples include:

  • Gems – 275 @ $14.99 – These are required to purchase access to parts of the game play and add-on items such as avatar clothes, magical pets, and avatar accessories, which are very desirable objects for the gamer. Obtaining these gem packs requires the purchaser to use a Facebook, Google Play or Apple accounts.
  • Coins – 3,500 @ $14.99 – similarly required for purchasing clothes, accessories and to some mini-games. Obtaining these coin packs requires the purchaser to use their Facebook, Google Play or Apple accounts.
  • 60 Power – This costs 100 gems (most year one tasks take a minimum of 25 power points to complete) and are bought within the game and do not require using Facebook, Google Play and Apple accounts to pay. Power points are crucial for many of the tasks involving spells in the narrative.

As mentioned, coins and gems can be purchased as in-App purchases to speed up the game play but parents should be aware that they can become very pricey. Free access is available to all aspects of the game but not readily. Some activities can be held up by two minutes then open without paying for in-App virtual currency, whilst others require waiting up to two hours to get free access. 

It is notable that the game can be played with the in-App purchasing disabled through the devices ‘screen time’ settings.

 

Online information

There is some online connectivity, such as:

  • The game requires an internet connection.
  • An option in the game requires the player to create a character's name that is used throughout the game play. As the game shares information with the parent company the player’s parents might advise the child to use a ‘screen name’ or ‘handle’ for the character.
  • A player is required to have an Apple ID or Facebook account with payment or card details registered in order to have access to the in-App purchases. The game can be played with the in-App purchasing disabled through the devices settings. When it is enabled the developers may collect information such as your name, email address, postcode and user name.
  • When using this app the developers collect information from the device on which it is being played, including the operating system, software version, IP address, user settings, MAC address, cookie identifiers, mobile carrier, mobile advertising, language details, browser details, location information and pages visited on the internet during and after using the service. (see Privacy in the app settings).
  • Notifications can be enabled and then the player will receive notes when the following occur:
    • creature feeding
    • events
    • energy refill
    • reminders
    • creature bonding
    • project expiration
    • house points
    • project availability
  • The reviewer did not connect through a social media site and so cannot comment on whether the game requests the player to post scores on the social platform.

Gambling

At the time of review, the reviewer found no simulated gambling content. If you discover simulated gambling content in this app, please contact us with the details so we can update our review.

Advertising and product placement

There is no advertising or product placement in this game.

Gender stereo types and sexual references

None noted.

Coarse language

None noted.

Game playing behaviour which may be of concern to some parents

Please see reviewer’s comments above.

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Content is age appropriate for children this age

Some content may not be appropriate for children this age. Parental guidance recommended

Content is not age appropriate for children this age

Gambling content advice

Simulated casino style gambling. Not suitable for minors

Contains some elements of gambling. Some content is not recommended for minors. Parental guidance recommended

No gambling content found in the levels played

About games and gambling

Most games contain elements of risk, chance and knowledge, that is why they are fun to play. There is growing concern about the impacts of simulated gambling games on the health and wellbeing of children. That's why we are identifying games that contain gambling elements on our site.

The State Government of South Australia's web site http://nogame.com.au/ contains information about these concerns.