The Harry Potter franchise has been around since 1997, when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released. In the United Kingdom, home of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, the first book is known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. There are seven books in the main series in total. These were released over a 10-year period, ending with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007. Since then, tons of other media set in the wizarding world have been produced, including the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the spin-off book and movie series Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them — both of which were penned by J.K. Rowling herself. On top of all of that, there is also a series of video games.
Harry Potter video games have been cropping up regularly since shortly after the book series began. The first one was based on the debut novel and was released in 2001 for Playstation 1 & 2, Xbox, and PC, with alternative versions for Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advanced. This series of title-based video games continued through the Deathly Hallows in 2010-2011, which was split into two parts like the movies. Unfortunately, many of those canonical titles turned out to be total squibs upon release, without so much as a spark of magic present in their development. There are still a few honorable mentions from the main series of video games, however.
At this point, the range of games has expanded far beyond the number of books. Half of them are based on the individual books in the franchise, while the other half are mostly spin-offs, largely focusing on other aspects of the series such as Quidditch or spellcasting. Finally, there are two LEGO games that focus on books 1-4 and 5-7, respectively. So, when the selection is so great, how are you supposed to know the best games to play? Well, wonder no more, for here is a list of the greatest Harry Potter games we have seen through the years.
Updated on September 15th, 2021 by Kim Dailey: With no new books on the horizon, fans need a wizarding fix from somewhere, and the games can help provide an ever-changing experience in the wizarding world. While the number of spin-off games is small, they are worth discussing — especially since the quality of wizarding games has varied so significantly over the different titles and platforms. Since this list was originally written, Harry Potter fans have seen the release of two mobile games and are currently awaiting Hogwarts Legacy, an action role-playing game set in the late 1800s that's due for release next year. With over a decade of game releases and fresh and exciting prospects on the horizon, here is our updated list of the best Harry Potter games and our verdict on if they're as satisfying as winning a Quidditch match.
10 Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is an augmented reality mobile game from Niantic, the creators of Pokémon Go. The premise is that Foundables (which are artifacts, creatures, people, and memories from the wizarding world) have begun to appear in the Muggle world.
There are many mechanics to immerse players in the role of a special agent in the new Ministry of Magic Secrecy Task Force, where your job will be to find the missing items and cull the threats of exposing the wizarding world. But first things first, you must establish your personal identity as a witch or wizard and learn the ropes before you'll be ready to defend the secrecy of the wizarding world. The game shows traces of magic to follow in order to locate Foundables.
An update back in 2020 implemented the Knight Bus as a mechanic to participate in challenges, regardless of the player's location, granting them extra XP. This remote participation mechanic gives the mobile title more scope than ever to provide an enjoyable experience, even when you can't venture out.
9 Harry Potter Puzzles & Spells
This mobile title may not seem like the most engaging of Harry Potter games, but the Match-3 format offers a nice distraction and alternative to complex titles with the aesthetic pleasures of magical graphics.
Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells was released by Zynga, who has a firm handle on the Match-3 genre. The developer's expertise plays a key role in why the gameplay is so enjoyable, especially in short bursts. If you just want a quick puzzle game with a familiar setting, then this is the answer.
As you progress, you'll unlock different moments from the movies and follow the nostalgic storyline as you 'swish and flick' across your mobile device to make matches. Fans of other Match-3 games will love this Harry Potter twist on the format.
8 LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4
This 2010 multi-platform action-adventure game includes two great franchises, Harry Potter and Lego. The game’s narrative covers the first 4 books in the series, from The Sorcerer’s Stone up through The Goblet of Fire. The best part: it features the entire wizarding world from Harry's first four years at Hogwarts and all of your favorite characters as Lego figures.
As with all Lego video games, Lego Harry Potter focuses on collecting, exploring, and puzzle-solving. The nature of the game fits the storyline of the novels seamlessly. You can cast spells, make potions, and help fellow Hogwarts students out of sticky situations.
Everything about this game flows smoothly, and the attention to detail is amazing. There are some nice little touches, such as using Diagon Alley as a hub for gameplay. The game has some extremely comical moments as well, such as Hagrid nursing a Unicorn back to health with bed rest and a thermometer or running over Ron in a magical pumpkin. Overall, it's a perfect combination of wizarding nostalgia, witty references, and silly LEGO humor.
7 Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7
The 2011 Sequel to Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 is just as detailed and well thought out as its predecessor. This time around, the action-adventure game follows the same theme as before and covers the final three books, from The Order of the Phoenix up through The Deathly Hallows.
Despite being almost identical in style and gameplay, this Lego game is no less exciting or entertaining than the first. It simply picks up the storyline and follows it to its glorious conclusion. All the same exciting storylines, engaging gameplay, and cool Lego characters are present and correct. This is one sequel that was worth the wait—definitely a charmer.
6 Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets
While the debut Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone proved to be a total squib to the franchise, its immediate follow-up sequel significantly improved upon its predecessor. Like the first title, Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets is an action-adventure game that follows the storyline of the book and movie of the same name. However, the execution is much improved compared to the first game. The storyline flows nicely, and the extra classes you take fit naturally into the gameplay.
You will find the graphics dated since this was released in the GameCube and the PlayStation era, but it is still very playable and well worth checking out.
5 Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
As with the previous games, Prisoner of Azkaban has different versions for various platforms. These include a role-playing version for the Game Boy Advance and an action-adventure platformer for the consoles. The PC version is also an action-adventure game but confusingly has a different storyline.
Each version of the game was mostly well-received. Although the game is quite short, it flows well and is easy to play. If you're an older gamer, you may find this installment too short and too easy, but it is still entertaining and follows the story well. Overall the game does justice to its material and is enjoyable to play. This one has earned a place of honor on a chocolate frog card.
4 Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire
As with so many of the games which follow the books and movies, The Goblet of Fire is an action-adventure game. Unlike its predecessors, however, there is only one uniform version across all available platforms.
The focus of this game is much more action-based rather than puzzle-based like many of its predecessors, bringing a slightly fresh dynamic to the series. This is a fitting adjustment as the 4th installment of both books and movies is one of the most significant turning points of the entire franchise, so the videogame emulating this important shift feels rightly satisfying to a large portion of the player base.
This was also the first Harry Potter game to introduce multiplayer. This new feature allows you to combine forces with your friends to make even more powerful spells. Although you cannot roam freely around the castle anymore, this doesn’t harm the game, which closely follows the book's canonical storyline. Admittedly, some of the reviews were mixed. But regardless, we feel this one has earned its place at the Hogwarts Feast.
3 Book Of Spells
Also known as Wonderbook: Book of Spells, this augmented reality game for the PlayStation 3 uses the PlayStation Move and PlayStation Eye controllers to put you in the shoes of a Hogwarts student that's learning spells. It uses the technology of the controllers to enable you to cast spells using the move controller and have the results appear on the screen.
The game is based on the fictional book by Miranda Goshawk from the Harry Potter novels. You can choose your Hogwarts house or connect your Pottermore account to ensure the game reflects your personal style. This incredibly innovative game was described as “the closest a Muggle can come to a real spellbook” by J.K. Rowling, and she’s right. It’s absolutely spellbinding.
2 Book Of Potions
This second installment of Harry Potter-based augmented reality comes in the form of potion-making. Like its predecessor, Book of Spells, it uses the PlayStation Move and PlayStation Eye controllers to create an immersive experience for PlayStation 3 users. The PlayStation Move controller functions as a wand as well as a knife and spoon, allowing you to create a range of potions.
Based on the fictional book by Zygmunt Budge, Book of Potions requires you to brew a range of potions for a Wizarding Schools Potions Championship. You will find out more about each one before you collect ingredients and brew your potions. As you may expect, this experience is every bit as gratifying as that of the Book of Spells. If you’ve ever wanted to sit in a potions classroom, this game is for you. Just don’t forget your cauldron!
1 Harry Potter Quidditch World Cup
This game is very different from most Harry Potter video games in terms of content. Of course, it's a sports action game centered around Quidditch — the fictional sport from the wizarding world. You can play in the Hogwarts Inter-house Quidditch cup on any of the four house teams – Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin. Alternatively, you can compete in the World Cup. If you prefer a quicker game, you can take part in one-off exhibition matches.
Some critics say the controls are sluggish, but overall, this is far from the worst. It's definitely worth a try, just for the experience of winning a Quidditch match. Go Hufflepuff! Go Ravenclaw! No matter what team you're cheering for, this game is definitely a keeper.
Exciting Developments: Hogwarts Legacy
Hogwarts Legacy is the newest wizarding title currently in development, and from the information released so far, it looks amazing. Players will play the role of a student at Hogwarts in the 1800's, being able to choose their house and their classes. It's an open-world title that includes not only Hogwarts but also the Forbidden Forest and Hogsmead, all primed for exploration.
You will be able to cast spells, brew potions, and engage in magical duels. There are even magical beasts to tame. As an additional and fascinating twist, it seems you will also be able to choose whether to be an exemplary student or set yourself on a darker path. This time your destiny as a witch or wizard will be truly in your hands.
Hogwarts Legacy looks poised to be an immersive and engaging experience and the closest we'll ever get to living a life as a Hogwarts student — at least in this decade. After several delays, the developers have announced they won't be able to launch the game in 2021 as they had initially hoped. Instead, the new release date is yet to be announced for sometime in 2022 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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