Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is out now, and it's already kicking up a storm. It's well on track to earn $10 million dollars in its first month.
It's been made by a company that knows a thing or two about crafting a mobile hit. Niantic's last game was the mighty Pokemon GO.
But is Harry Potter: Wizards Unite better than Pokemon GO? For the purposes of this feature, we're going to say: yes it is! And here's why.
It's, like, Harry Potter. Duh!Everyone knows Harry Potter is the best story of a young wizard growing into his powers ever. Or everyone who hasn't read Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea books, at any rate.
Okay, I admit it. I'm no Harry Potter fan. I don't give a damn about bimbletwits or moogles, and I've never read a Harry Potter book or seen a Harry Potter film.
But even I can accept that JK Rowling's universe is a big deal to a lot of people. And yes, it might just be an even bigger deal (or at least a deeper deal) than Pokemon.
Both IPs attract their fair share of fanatical devotion, but Harry Potter takes it to the next level. There's a certain glint in a Harry Potter fan's eye that tells you this stuff means more to them than some of their family members.
It's more variedPokemon GO was and is great fun. We know plenty of people who are still plugging away at it some three years on. Which is particularly impressive when you consider that there isn't that much game to it.
It remains pretty repetitive, shallow stuff. Aside from wandering around, the actual gameplay consists of a bunch of simplistic flicky battles.
In HP:WU, you have much more to do to defeat those confoundables. There are a range of spells to cast by tracing your finger precisely over the relevant pattern.
You also have a fairly deep RPG-like skill tree to work through, adding further interest.
There's an actual storyLook, we love Pokemon in (almost) all its forms, from the source games to the long-running animated series. But one thing none of them have is a decent narrative.
Our protagonist has to become the very best (like no one ever was) by catching 'em all. And, er, that's about the sum of it.
Harry Potter, by contrast, is built upon solid storytelling foundations. And HP:WU capitalises on that, with a proper story that's set to be expanded upon over the next few years.
Put it this way: over the next three years, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will take you on a magical journey. Over the previous three years, Pokemon GO has taken you around your local park several dozen times.