Online, Feb 2021
The name of this game is a big clue to its play style and target audience. It’s a Harry Potter story where the framing device is looking back via Dumbledore’s Pensieve at the events narrated in the books; and if you have no idea what a Pensieve is, this might not be the right game for you, because it’s built around a fond nostalgia for the world of Harry Potter.
Many digital escape games use the format of: display a puzzle on a web page, use the solution as the code to unlock the next screen, and repeat. This one is similar to that style in having a linear sequence of puzzles, but sprawls across a host of different resources, jumping between different tabs and technologies and sometimes from laptop to phone and back. Some of the tech looks rather like it’s been included because it was cool rather than because it was a good fit for the game and theme – but then, some is the tech is cool. Although it’s also worth noting that those who have concerns about unlicensed use of Harry Potter IP may find (even?) more reason for concern here than elsewhere.
In terms of quantity of material, this game gives good value for money. Not only are there a whole lot of puzzle steps to complete, there’s also an impressive quantity of reference text providing information about the world for those not already familiar with it – including some clues and snippets needed to answer various of the puzzles.
That aspect of the game wasn’t really to my taste: hunting in the info provided to find answers, in a way that sometimes felt like answering a Harry Potter themed pub quiz. The game provided all the information required to complete the game, so no external research was required; although at times it would have been quicker to simply Google some answers.
That makes this a game mainly suited for avid Potter fans. If you adore the books (or I guess the movies), then existing background knowledge may provide a satisfying shortcut to solving some parts of the game, as well as being a pleasant trip down memory lane. If you have no strong feelings about the theme either way and are just looking for a puzzle game to play, this one has plenty to do and some nice tech use but probably won’t be as interesting for the style of puzzle.
Disclaimer: We played this game on a complementary basis. This does not influence the review or rating.