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Players can choose which one of the four houses they want to be assigned to. (Picture: NetEase)

Harry Potter: Magic Awakened beta test players are disappointed with the game

Players of the NetEase mobile game complained about its repetitive gameplay and card-based dueling, but they like the art

This article originally appeared on ABACUS
Ever since Harry Potter: Magic Awakened was announced last October, fans have been eagerly awaiting the new game based on the franchise. But a new round of beta testing might dampen some of the early excitement, as many of the players seem disappointed with the game.
“How rigid is the gameplay?” one user said on TapTap, a game review site. “[It] built a grand magic world, but the core gameplay is playing cards with other students in a dark room.”
“I’m disappointed,” another user wrote. “It’s just a card game with a Harry Potter coat.”

To be fair, it was never any secret that Harry Potter: Magic Awakened would be a card game. Chinese developer NetEase made it clear from the beginning that it would mix cards with role-playing elements.

Players can choose which one of the four houses they want to be assigned to. (Picture: NetEase)

Gameplay videos online show that the game is set in a world after the original series ends. But it looks like the story isn’t very relevant when it comes to actually playing the game: It’s just there to lead players along as they collect cards to be used as spells, according to videos and popular user reviews online. Then they have to play card-based rounds to defeat the monsters they encounter or duel with other players to get coins and level up.

When NetEase announced the mobile game last year, the company said it was jointly developing the game with Warner Bros. Entertainment. The game is being launched under the brand Portkey Games, a Harry Potter-focused gaming label that also made the mobile games Wizards Unite (which was based on Pokémon Go) and Hogwarts Mystery.

Magic Awakened had its first “small scale technical test” on iOS last December. But there’s a new round of testing open to both Android and iOS users that started on May 29 and runs through June 12. Invites for the test are randomly assigned to users who pre-ordered the game.

But before the trial has even finished, complaints are piling up. The game currently has a relatively poor rating of 6.1 out of 10 on TapTap. On the day that the new beta test began, Magic Awakened garnered more than 200 positive reviews but more than 500 negative ones, TapTap shows.
Screenshot of a gameplay trailer for Harry Potter: Magic Awakened released by NetEase. Can you tell it’s a Harry Potter game? (Picture: NetEase)
Some players complained that Magic Awakened is a pay-to-win game, comparing the gameplay to Clash Royale. Players said it’s difficult to level up and that the game is designed to make people spend money.

Others complained about the way some Harry Potter elements were incorporated into the game. The Yule Ball formal dance and the fictional sport of Quidditch are present in Magic Awakened, but users say that they lack variety.

“The gameplay is so repetitive,” one Weibo user commented on a post from the game’s official account, drawing more than 100 likes. “So are the [magic] classes. Hogwarts is a magic school, not a dueling school, and it forces users to play ranking games.”

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When it announced the new beta test, NetEase said it was only a “technical test” that doesn’t represent the final quality of the game. The company also said that it would optimize gameplay and improve the game’s quality based on player feedback after the testing period ends. We asked NetEase about possible changes to the game but didn’t receive a response.

Not everyone hates Magic Awakened, though. Some players say they find the game fun, and the art in the game has received praise from players both in China and overseas.

“There isn’t much of the RPG [role-playing game] factor which is sorta sad, but it’s quite interesting and has many different activities to participate in,” said one user on Reddit who claims to have participated in the beta test.

The person added, “The art style is like, on point.”