Too busy to keep up on all things geeky this week? We’ve got you covered with the trailers, merch, and news coming out of the week that was!
As we’ve noted, 2018 will see not one, but two mobile Harry Potter games. We’re still waiting for more information about Niantic’s Pokémon Go-like Wizards Unite that will probably take over your life for at least a year, but we did get a taste of what the other game will be offering this week.
Jam City’s Hogwarts Mystery is supposed to be an RPG set in Hogwarts in the ’80s, in the time of Tonks. They just dropped a gameplay trailer this week, showing how you can brew potions and cast spells in the game. For the most part, it’ll be a text-heavy RPG with your decisions moving the action forward.
Cool, but we also have capital P Problems. It looks like gold and gems are involved, which is mobile game speak for microtransactions. We kind of assumed those would be in, but at least make the pretend currencies a little more Hogwartsy. The gold better be counted in galleons, at least. Anyway, we can stomach that. The real misfire is that it looks like you put on the Sorting Hat, and then choose your house. That is not how the Sorting Hat works, and it deeply offends us.
We’re big fans of the Lego Ideas concept. Lego fans can submit their ideas for official sets, and with enough supporters and the Lego seal of approval, they might actually become real. Usually we’ve seen attempts at regular old sets, but ever since Lego started their convention-friendly line of buildable BrickHeadz figures, fans have been angling to get their favorite characters made. This is one of the best we’ve seen yet — Mr. Fredrickson from Up! I think what really sells it for us is that they nailed the tennis balls on the cane walker. Anyway, if you think it’s rad too, you should go support it to help the submission hit the all-important 10,000 mark.
As we’ve seen, there’s growing discontent with the practice of game publishers including loot crates — in-game purchases that cost money, but give randomized rewards — in their games. It’s been panned as a form of gambling, which has been called out as especially problematic for games marketed toward kids. For a while, the ESRB — the body that rates games for age appropriateness — seemed to think it wasn’t a problem, but the recent blowback must have gotten to them. They’ll now include a label on every game with in-game purchases to make parents aware before buying the game. It’s kind of not that helpful because in 2018, almost every game will get this label. What might be more significant is a planned educational initiative to help parents understand the different kinds of in-game purchases out there, particularly loot boxes.
Chrono Trigger, one of the all-time great SNES games (and games in general) got a surprise release on Steam this week. Good news, right? As Square Enix fans probably know by now, no, that’s rarely good news. The publisher has frequently been dragged for sub-standard PC ports of beloved RPGs, and Chrono Trigger is just the latest transgression. It’s being slated by Steam reviewers for what’s perceived as a straight and lazy port of the mobile version, complete with bland fonts, messed up tiling, and generally shoddy visuals. Square Enix is certainly now aware, so we’ll see if they bother to fix up what is, without question, one of their most beloved games of all time. One hopes.