Pokémon Go took the mobile gaming world by storm back in 2016 -- it quickly became one of the top mobile apps across both iOS and Android, and it made headlines around the globe. Some were positive, praising the game for getting otherwise-introverted people out and about via its augmented reality exploration mechanics.
Others were negative, describing scenarios where gamers trespassed on private property or put themselves in harm's way due to being unaware of their surroundings. Either way, for better or worse, the game's once-immense popularity has tapered off, but the world of AR mobile games still holds potential -- at least, that's what Pokémon Go creator Niantic believes.
The studio today launched Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, an AR mobile title that includes similar gameplay mechanics to Go. As players walk around in real time, their in-game avatar will move through a virtual world that mirrors their real one (using data pulled from various real-world mapping services).
You'll meet iconic Harry Potter characters, battle dark wizards and monsters, and even take on fellow players at multiplayer "Fortresses" dotted around the map (think Pokémon Go Gyms). Players will be given the opportunity to specialize in various magical "Professions," each with its own unique abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
The core gameplay loop with Pokémon Go involved wandering the world and capturing Pokémon. In Wizards Unite, your repeatable goal will be to explore and find "Foundables," which you'll need to send back to the wizard world. Like Pokémon Go, you will eventually run out of resources.
Once that happens, you can either pay for "Spell Energy"-restoring food and drink or visit various "Inns," which function like Go's Pokéstops. Inns are likely going to be found in various real-world restaurants, fast food locations, and shops.
If you want to give Wizards Unite a shot, simply open up the Google Play Store or the App Store (depending on which device you're using) and give it a download. It's completely free-to-play, just like Niantic's other games.