Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells

App review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
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All-ages puzzle game made for Potter fans and muggles alike.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The game uses simple touch controls that are explained well.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
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Consumerism

Players earn in-game currency by playing. This is used to keep playing when you run out of turns or lives. This currency can also be bought with real money, and in packs that also include power-ups. The game is inspired by the Harry Potter franchise that includes books, movies, games, and other items.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells is a match-3 game for iOS and Android devices. It has no objectionable content (assuming, of course, you don't have a problem with magic). Players use in-game currency to keep playing when they run out of turns or lives, and this currency can either be earned by solving puzzles or bought with real money from the game's store, including in packs with power-ups. The game's also part of a multimedia franchise that includes books, movies, other games, toys, and many other items. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared, and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Vaguely following the plot of the books and the movies, HARRY POTTER: PUZZLES & SPELLS has a young boy leaving his uncaring and abusive step-parents behind when he heads off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, England's premiere school for young magic users. But to get him there, and through his class load, you have to solve a series of increasingly challenging match-3 puzzles, many of which are rather magical. Like other match-3 games, you'll gain power-ups to solve puzzles depending on the number of gems that you match, and can trigger explosions, line clearing moves, and more.

Is it any good?

While this is a fairly typical match-3 puzzle game, it does have a bit of Harry Potter magic, as well as fun nods to the franchise. Like all match-3 puzzle games, Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells has you using the touch screen to move pieces on a board so that three or more of them line up or are next to each other. Doing so removes them from the board, and hopefully fulfils the condition of that puzzle before you run out of turns. And as these kinds of games go, this one is fairly typical. As always, matching more than 3 in a row, or in a different shape, earn you the same kind of special pieces they do in other games, while your objectives are also similar, whether it's just clearing the board of certain color pieces or removing pieces next to an item to remove it as well, and so on.

What makes this different is that it has a bit of that Potter magic. For instance, there are times when, by matching items, you unlock spells, ones that can unlock chests full of gold or reveal parts of the board hidden by feathers. There are also some distinctly Potter-esque mechanics, such as chocolate frogs, which you have to remove from the board, except that unlike the removable objects in games, these hop around the board like, well, frogs. Best of all, while Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells is tailor made for Hogwarts alumni, the puzzles are still clever and inventive enough that even muggles will appreciate this (well, assuming they're match-3 fans).

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about advertising. While Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells is designed for fans of the books and movies, it's also designed to get people to buy the Harry Potter books and movies, so did it make you want to reread the books or rewatch the movies?

  • When you run out of turns or lives in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, you can use in-game currency to keep playing, but you can also buy it with real money, so how do you decide how much money to spend on a free game? 

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPad, Android
  • Price: free with microtransactions
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: September 24, 2020
  • Category: Puzzle Games
  • Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
  • Size: 245.40 MB
  • Version: 21.4.537
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 10.0 or later; Android 5.0 and up
  • Last updated: October 20, 2020

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