Taking your children to the cinema this week to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? You might want to also visit an app store to pick up the official mobile game for J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.
It’s called Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World, and it was released today for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.
The game isn’t just following the plot of the film, happily. It’s its own story starring your child – who even gets to pick their own wizarding name – working for the Ministry of Magic’s Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.
Their job will be to solve a series of mysteries, each of which ultimately leads to a magical beast. Children have to search scenes for clues, question witnesses and cast spells on their way to solving each case.
The clue-hunting is the core of Cases from the Wizarding World, which is a “hidden objects” game. That means kids get presented with a scene with a jumble of objects in it, and a list of items that they have to find. It’s a bit like Where’s Wally? but with more Quidditch brooms and pickled eels.
Playing the scenes earns points, which in turn unlock stars, which in turn can be used to examine clues and complete tasks. There’s also an energy system: playing the scenes spends energy points, and when the energy bar is down to zero, they have to wait for it to refill before playing again.
That’s if they don’t want to pay. Cases from the Wizarding World is a ‘freemium’ game, which means it’s free to download and play, but uses in-app purchases. Here, that means buying a virtual currency called gems: from £1.49 for 100 gems through to £39.99 for 3,000.
(“BEST DEAL,” suggests the in-app store. I suspect that’s not what a parent would say if their child bought it without telling them: if they’re playing on your device or app-store account, make sure your in-app purchase restrictions are on!)
Children soaking up the film and book of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will love this, though: the fact that they can create their own character for the game, with its new storyline, means it complements the other elements of this universe well.