Fantastic Beasts Cases – Cases from the Wizarding World is a story based puzzle/detective game based in the wonderful Wizarding World inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts books.
This review is specific to version 2.3.7914
Master your magical skills as you delve into your wizarding world to investigate unexplained happenings. In a new adventure inspired by J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, enjoy all new experiences as you discover hidden objects, interview witnesses, analyse evidence and cast spells top uncover and protect the fantastic beasts at the centre of every mysterious case.
Fantastic Beasts Cases is an official game, developed by Warner Bros. themselves. That is important to know because you now know you are getting, in theory, an accurate representation of the much loved world created by J.K. Rowling. At it’s heart, it is predominantly a hidden object game where you are presented with a scene and have to find certain items within that screen. There are a few variations on game play to help keep it fresh and there is an underlying story to help make sense of what you are doing.
It is all very straightforward. You are a new recruit in the Ministry of Magic, while you are being welcomed to the team, you are suddenly informed that something has happened and are rushed off to your first case. Upon arrival you are presented with a scene and a list of items to find and the game is on. Complete the scene to make progress in Case 1 and unlock other elements of the case. Cases are unlocked using a star system. Get a star and you can unlock the next part of the case. Stars are received for points scored. Score well by completing part of the case in good time or with few mistakes, that sort of thing.
There are a few change ups in gameplay which keep it fresh. Some of the hidden objects scenes try to switch things up by making you find everything but mirrored. Others have limited time. There are a couple extra puzzles like, trace a magic spell to repair something you have found as a clue. There are also mini games where you have to put a shattered item back together. None of these are particularly challenging though they do add a little variety.
The music is brilliant, being official you get the proper music from the Fantastic Beasts movie. This really adds so much to the magic of the game. The game also looks very nice with meticulously crafted 2d representations of the Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter worlds. It is the fact this game is official that is why it has any merit. Really, if you were to strip away the movie skin, this is a run of the mill, hidden object game that is laid out in cases instead of just levels. Because of the official tie in, it suddenly becomes something better. Hidden objects have you looking for things like quaffles or golden snitches instead of a cup and a bone. Tracing a spell is you performing a spell rather than just tracing a line.
For Harry Potter or Fantastic Beast nerds, this game also provides a load of new information on the fantastic beasts themselves. It should really please fans of the books and films as you travel to never before seen locations and meet new characters. It expands the wizarding world even further for you which is an impressive win.
So, now let’s get down to the problems. This is a mobile game so yes, there are problems. Fantastic Beasts Cases is free to play but has in app purchases. The game utilises the very common energy model where each time you play, you use up a chunk of energy. When you run out of energy, you can choose to wait for it to refill over time or you can pay money for some energy or spend gems on some. Fair enough on the face of it but the energy is really slow to replenish naturally. Frustratingly so.
It can take hours for you to have enough for even just one more go at something. This makes it feel like Warner Bros. have weighted the game to try and encourage spending. Buying energy is not very cost effective though. £1 will get you 50 energy which doesn’t even equate to half of your energy bar and will allow you around 2 more puzzle attempts before you are out again. You can use gems of course, but the ones that are given naturally in the game are really rare leading you towards buying them instead. £2 for 100 gems up to £50 for 3000 are the range.
So much effort has gone into making a good looking, great sounding and well playing game and that all gets chucked aside through greed. This is the core of all the problems with Fantastic Beasts Cases. You need stars to move forward, stars require lots of replaying of previous levels. Playing those levels uses up all your energy meaning you either need to wait for hours for another go or get your wallet out. Once a game becomes more waiting than playing, there is a problem.
One other issue is with the repetitive nature of unlocking a star needed for progress. You may have to replay the same level5 or 6 times to finally get a star and get to play the next one. Now you will have to play this one 5 or 6 times too. None of this makes sense in the context of the story. You must be a shocking detective if you have to reinvestigate the same scene 6 times before moving on to the next. To be fair, the developer does give a slightly different list each time to try and keep it fresh but it becomes less fun as you inevitably know where some of the items are. You have found them 5 times already after all.
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It is such a shame really. The game has so much going for it. A perfectly recreated Wizarding World, interesting creatures and facts, an excellent soundtrack and decent gameplay. All that is blown to pieces by the broken mechanic that becomes more apparent as you get further into the game. Getting a star to progress requires to much repetition, repetition uses too much energy, energy takes too long to replenish unless you get your wallet out.
Fantastic Beasts Cases (Mobile - Free to Play)
- The Final Score - 4/104/10