Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

Harry Potter and the Trailer of Secrets – elusive “Hogwarts Mystery” teaser debuts

It goes without saying that when you run as watertight a marketing ship as Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment does with their various licenced IPs, from Monolith’s Lord of the Rings-expanding Middle-Earth saga to Rocksteady’s beloved Batman: Arkham trilogy, teasing your next major release without giving too much away should be child’s play.

In fact, our first look at the publisher’s upcoming mobile RPG set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, stands as the epitome of this enigmatic promotional approach with its details-thin (to say the least) teaser trailer. We’re never willing to be beaten, though, so let’s see what precious secrets we can glean…

Takeaways:

  • We’re promised the opportunity to live our own “Hogwarts story” this year, which entails honing our wizarding spells and skills, attending classes with Hogwarts professors as well as choosing friends and rivals to keep close or distant en route.
  • The School of Witchcraft and Wizardry which we’re introduced to here, however, won’t directly align with that which we’ve seen on the page or big-screen; instead, Hogwarts Mystery takes place in a 1980s incarnation of its titular setting.
  • Luckily the more things change, the more they stay the same. What scarce in-game footage we’re afforded in the one-minute sizzle reel does confirm that Professor McGonagall, Rubeus Hagrid and Severus Snape were employed as staff at this dangerous magical institution long before the Boy Who Lived’s arrival.
  • Better yet, before we even reach the mobile RPG’s obvious central locale, Diagon Alley looks set to ease us back into the Wizarding World, with Ollivander’s Wandmarkers presumably serving as the setting for Mystery’s spell-casting tutorial.

Such vague marketing materials as these will hardly dis-spell (see what we did there?) any skepticism among fans, many of whom doubtless wonder whether WB’s newly-formed Harry Potter gaming branch, Portkey Games, and developer Jam City simply want to – allegedly – riff on Pokémon GO’s world-trotting formula for a quick buck.

US-based Potterites will get the rare opportunity to try Jam’s first big-budget production at Universal Studios Orlando’s A Celebration of Harry Potter event on January 26th-28th, while the rest of us can pre-register here ahead of Journey’s full-scale release on mobile devices later this year.

In the meantime, watch the trailer for yourselves below and give us a shout if we’ve missed any crucial details regarding Hogwarts Mystery’s, well, mysterious plotline.

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Mobile PvP shooter Star Wars: Rivals announced with not a loot crate in sight (just kidding!)

Even Star Wars’ most optimistic followers would seem hard-pressed to say that the reputation of Disney and Lucasfilm’s four-decade-strong science-fiction universe within the video gaming industry hasn’t been tarnished somewhat of late.

No matter how many past wrongs EA righted in crafting their ambitious online FPS follow-up Star Wars: Battlefront II, not least by ditching Season Passes and introducing a single-player campaign, it’s safe to say that their controversial-at-best Loot Crate system fared about as favourably as the Empire’s myriad Death Stars upon its debut.

The show must go on, however, and Disney evidently plans to waste no time whatsoever in directing fans’ attention away from Battlefront II while EA continues to perform damage control on said debacle, focusing instead on their next licensed project set in a galaxy far, far away.

Takeaways:

  • The project in question? Star Wars: Rivals, a self-proclaimed competitive action shooter which pits both the heroes whom fans love and the villains whom they love to hate against one another on cover-based, semi-destructible PvP battlefields.
  • As with most entries in its genre, players progress through Rivals by completing Arena Leagues, collecting both common and rare characters to recruit on their team, utilising each contender’s unique weapons and abilities, and striving to earn Bonuses by teaming up heroes from the Rebellion, Underworld and other factions.
  • If our usage of the phrase “common and rare characters” set off any alarm bells in your mind, then it’s not entirely without reason. Disney’s press release does openly admit that Reward Crates will make their not-so-long-awaited comeback in some form here, though with no further details on pricing provided as of yet.
  • On the plus side, one aspect of the revived Battlefront franchise which Rivals won’t borrow is its 2015 freshman outing’s refusal to look beyond the Original Trilogy for inspiration. Expect to see settings including Empire’s Bespin, Rogue One’s Scarif and The Force Awakens’ Jakku amongst the shooter’s initial Arena roster.
  • As for the scoundrels, Jedi Knights and nerf herders duking it out on these maps, we already know that Han Solo, Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Finn, Captain Phasma, Chewbacca, Admiral “it’s a trap!” Ackbar, Orson Krennic, R2-D2 and (brace yourselves) Salacious Crumb will appear, with more heroes still to be announced.

Will Rivals defy as many expectations as Rian Johnson did with The Last Jedi, throwing in legions of Porgs, “yo mama” jokes and outrage-inducing mythology subversions en route?

Time will tell, but so long as Disney can manage expectations as to how their Reward Crate system – the likes of which usually better befit free-to-play mobile games anyway – will operate, then chances are that the Force could still prove strong with this one.

We’re still waiting on Rivals’ official release date for the time being, but those wanting to pre-register on Google Play can do so now right here and scoop themselves some bonus Death Trooper support units fresh from Rogue One in the process.

Gather collectibles, unlock exclusive TV clips? Stranger Things have happened

Once upon a time, movie and TV studios simply hired F-grade developers to produce licensed video game adaptations of their latest IPs in the cheapest, swiftest manner possible. The end result? Nine times out of ten came a mediocre platformer bearing little-to-no resemblance to its source material and retaining virtually none of its merits.

But that era mercifully appears to have neared its end, both thanks to TT Games cornering the market on quality film tie-ins via its LEGO entries and the emergence of viral, often adorably retro companion games like the tense sewer-bound side-scroller released alongside horror flick IT last month.

Since TT are too hard at work on LEGO Marvel Superheroes 2 right now to contemplate other projects, a certain beloved Netflix show has received the latter treatment…

Takeaways:

  • Enter Stranger Things: The Game, an unexpected mobile tie-in to the hit pulp sci-fi show which arrived on the iOs and Google app stores this week, costing only the time necessary to hit download.
  • Should they spare that precious installation time to download this quirky 2D puzzler, players can look forward to travelling through familiar locales like Hawkins, Mirkwood Forest and the ever-deadly Upside-Down in the roles of the show’s core heroes.
  • What’s more, like its source material, The Game pays homage to the 1980s via its quaint 16-bit-esque style, its Normal and tough-as-nails Classic difficulty modes and its abundance of retro collectibles such as VHS tapes, Eggos and Gnomes.
  • There’s ample incentive to hunt down those hidden artefacts of a bygone age too, since doing so will unlock exclusive footage from the TV show’s soon-to-debut second season and “secret characters” to boot.

As with IT: The Sewer‘s limited replay value, we can’t guarantee that this latest endeavour to subvert the scorned norms of licensed film-video game adaptations will ease the wait until Stranger Things returns on October 27th, yet it’d be downright churlish to malign Netflix putting in the extra effort to tide fans over, especially if it’s a sure sign that we’ll never have to play another Thor: God of Thunder-rivalling atrocity again.

Be sure to let us know your thoughts on Stranger Things: The Game and the evolving state of film- / TV-inspired AAA productions in the comments section below.

Danmaku Unlimited 3 Review – An Exciting Addition to Bullet Hell Shooters (iOS)

Intense bullet hell shooters bring a much-needed adrenaline rush to the category of casual games. Doragon Entertainment has pushed the limit of how mobile style games generate addictive and thrilling experiences, by providing an arcade style shooter that leaves your heart pounding in an awe of gorgeous colours and visuals in, Danmaku Unlimited 3.

Piloting an agile spaceship, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a storm of bullets and projectiles fired from a fleet of opponents and enemy ships. High octane rock music fuels the adrenaline filled levels as you’ll desperately guide your ship back and forth through hordes of darting bullets laid out in spectacular designs, while delivering every ounce of destruction capable in your various streams of gunfire.

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Through five different stages, the player uses a wave of bullets stretched across the game screen, as well as the option to switch to a sizable beam delivering an accurate source of damage on whoever sits in your way. Also found throughout the levels are bombs, where once obtained, you’ll be able to detonate a powerful explosion surrounding the area around the player’s spaceship. The bomb is a sure way to make quick work of the enemy ships zeroing in too close.

With the unique Spirit/Graze system, you’re able to counter attack your opponents by using the enemy projectiles to charge up your Trance Gauge. Flying too close to bullets, or grazing them, the Trance meter will start to fill. Once filled and engaged, your ship is charged with enhanced firepower, also destroying all ships in sight and turning them into valuable gems and points, to further increase your score.

Waiting at the end of each level are multi-phased boss ships capable of dealing mesmerizing bullet patterns, sometimes filling the screen with colourful explosions and fire-power. Quick lasers, a volley of torrential bullets and heavy-duty explosions are common in Danmaku Unlimited 3, so you’ll have to make good use of strategy and keen reflexes as you dip and dodge appropriately through the maze of bullets and projectiles.

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A range of difficulty comes provided with Danmaku Unlimited 3, making sure players of all skill levels may adapt to the high-energy arcade title. Spirit Mode and Graze Mode separates the casual from the hardcore, creating an excellent balance of challenges for the long-time fans, or the newcomers who are getting acquainted with the unique style of play. Also included is a healthy dose of weapon combinations, changing the spread layout of your primary guns, the beam intensity or perhaps the number of beams fired from your ship. Unlocked in various ways throughout the game, these weapon combos give players enhanced action and battle tactics when pushing further into more challenging areas of the game.

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In a flurry of bullets comes Doragon Entertainment‘s next arcade shooter in the acclaimed bullet hell series. With a scorching soundtrack, high-energy gameplay, tight controls and gorgeous visuals to back it all up, Danmaku Unlimited 3 delivers a fierce experience not typically found in the world of mobile gaming; one any dedicated mobile gamer can’t miss.

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Arcade shoot ’em up Danmaku Unlimited 3 available on Steam, releasing on mobile and Switch in August

One man indie studio, Doragon Entertainment, is set to release its third instalment of the bullet hell shooter series, Danmaku Unlimited 3, on mobile devices this August, as well as the Switch later in the year. The all new action shoot em’ up title will bring yet another high-intensity experience, packed with plenty of new and satisfying features to the App Store and Google Play.

Battling through the skies, risking it all to save the future of humanity against staggering odds, Danmaku Unlimited 3 looks to deliver a classic taste of retro arcade shooters combined with a bold and modern Japanese style edge to the bullet hell genre. Blast your way through 5 hand-crafted stages, equipped with up to 25 different furious weapon combinations to shred through your enemies. Along with a rocking Japanese indie soundtrack set to the high-paced action, DU3 will give players a true sense of immersion.

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Along with the variety of weapon combinations, you’ll be using the unique Spirit/Graze battle system, granting you the ability to use enemy attacks to your advantage throughout the game. This skill looks to come in handy throughout the action-packed levels. Capping off levels with high adrenaline boss battles, each shifting through multiple phases, will add even more to this exciting combative shoot ’em up experience.

You can find Danmaku Unlimited 3 via Steam for PC available now for $9.99, and on Google Play and the App Store on August 10th – at a limited sale price of $4.99. A Nintendo Switch version will also arrive later this year.