HP and Dark Lands 2020. Game Overview

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Hello everyone As you know, in 2009, a magician under the pseudonym Lemmy released a game based on the RPG Maker constructor. The game lived up to its name very accurately, was incomprehensible and sometimes brought a dream.

In 2020, the author significantly redesigned the game. What happened in the end?

There was something like that in the fifth game… And the vase has already been repaired!

The atmosphere lies in the gameplay

Graphically, the game is very simple: tiled backgrounds in the jRPG style of the 1990s and early 2000s, tiny sprites of characters, images of characters cut from movie frames… Yes, you will not admire the graphics here.

But, as mentioned above, the essence of the game is in the atmosphere. The goal was to create a continuation of the story after the third book, a new story, with an attempt to recreate all the main places of both the school and the surrounding areas.

As a result, we got:

  • a familiar magic school, with many familiar and not very familiar places;
  • a story involving beloved and not-so-beloved characters;
  • secret areas of the castle and surrounding areas;
  • learning basic spells;
  • practice spells using logical tasks that need to be found first;
  • a severe willow, after meeting with which either the game continues or begins with the last save made by the player (if no saves are made, then you need to start the game again 😉 );
  • references to book history;
  • a very monotonous gameplay after entering the territory of Dark lands.

The main staircase and many portraits.

Why 13+?

In this game, the main difficulty is represented by puzzles, which may require a lot of time and effort to complete. Also, the final events, which are hinted at in the name of the game, may not be quite correctly understood by especially young players. Also, the reaction to the gameplay at the stage of passing the territory of the gloomy lands can cause a certain reaction in players who are not used to battles every 10-20 seconds of playing time.

What about background music and posting on YouTube?

For these cases, the author of the game has prepared an alternative selection of music. The link to it is given on the game page (the link to the game page is indicated at the end of this review). Files from the archive need to be added to the Music folder, with file replacement. But still, YouTube reacts to one piece of music. In our passage, we had to remove 2 times for about 15 seconds of the audio track so that there would be no complaints from the copyright holder.

Is it possible to complete the game 100% in one go?

Theoretically, it is possible to pass in one go if the player easily solves puzzles based on random distribution (duels), permutations with restrictions (puzzles), is very attentive to the little things (spell training), but this is unlikely.

Game locations are opened gradually, a significant part of the tasks can be opened only as you study new spells and discover new territories.

You also need to save the game periodically: auto-save is not provided, and if you lose to a Rattlesnake Willow or the inhabitants of greenhouses, the message “Game Over” will appear. After that, you can either start the game again, or download the last save you made.

Plot

Harry, Ron and Hermione return to school and the usual school year begins: you need to attend classes, learn spells, look for hiding places and gradually increase the level of experience. In the process, you will have to perform tasks both day and night.

Swimming lovers will find this cave!

Night tasks are usually complicated by the fact that some of the paths are available only during the day and they cannot be counted on. Filch and Norris are also on duty.

As you gain experience and complete mandatory or additional tasks, new territories and related tasks become available to the characters.

At the same time, they begin to move towards the places that are listed in the name of the game.

After solving the key puzzle, you will have access to the next stage of the game – a hike to the territory of the Dark Lands. If the player manages to pass this stage with the next one, then you can reach the final of the game. If you manage to fulfill all the conditions of the game specified in the awards hall, then… Perhaps something interesting awaits the player.

Evaluations

Let’s summarize our review with estimates. What is good or bad about this game.

Graphics: –. A dash, since its level is really difficult to assess correctly: all the characters are recognizable, despite the very old style of drawing and low resolution graphics. The locations are also well recognizable. And considering that this is an amateur game created by one person, I don’t even want to find fault.

Somewhere near the tower of one of the faculties…

Characters: 9/10. The author tried to introduce many characters familiar from books (more precisely, from films) into the game: here is the sensible Hermione, and Ron, with his trademark remarks, the bully Malfoy and his entourage, the boring or not-so-boring Pansy, Cho… And, of course, the Weasley twins, the harsh Filch and many others.

Viaduct. Entrance. Such a familiar portrait in the corner… Hidden button…

Duels: 4/10. In fact, duels are a mixture of “press the Enter key very often” and a random number generator (Random ;-)), in any case, at the stages of duels on school grounds and communication with cute little animals on the outskirts of a neighboring village or in an attic room, it works like this. There is an automatic duel passing function, but, as practice has shown, it is much easier to pass the duel manually, since you can easily lose one of the characters, especially at the stage of dark lands, where battles follow with an interval of several seconds.

The castle and surrounding areas: 9/10. The work has been done colossally – all the main locations from 5, 6 official games and some other sources are easily recognized here. Caches can hide anywhere and they are not marked on the map: you need to guess where they may be. At the same time, part of the territory opens up as you complete tasks, study spells and apply these spells by scientific poking and curiosity, and experience, of course.

Puzzles: 5/10. To complete the game 100% is a very difficult task: there are many puzzles that you either need to know how to solve, or make enough effort to solve them. Many of the puzzles are designed to practice learned spells, some are required to continue the plot.

Evening romantic pink filter. Harry moves the statue around 1 square and thinks, why didn’t the author allow Levios to be used?) But it’s better than shifting rocks on the roof.

Plot: 10/10. In the process of passing the game, we will learn a new story. And this story fully corresponds to the logic of the novel by a certain J. K. However, due to the peculiarities of the implementation of some elements of the gameplay, the passage may be delayed. for example, if the player does not know how to solve puzzles.

Disadvantages

Perhaps only the author of this review did not like these features of the game, but you still need to specify them.

  1. Instead of Flitwick, the conductor. Not all fans of J. K.’s early work warmly welcomed the conductor who appeared from the orchestra in the third film, who suddenly began to be called Filius Flitwick… In this game, this character is copied, it seems, from the fifth movie.
  2. The imitation of night and evening lighting is made so that it becomes more difficult to see the characters, as the image becomes not very contrasting.
  3. The complexity of some puzzles: perfectionists should not be allowed to join this game, especially if they do not pass puzzles of any complexity in 2 minutes 😉
  4. Achievements with a trick. For example, if you start earning money with Quidditch… In general, you must first visit the achievement room, but for this you first need to guess how to open it…
  5. Quite a lot of routine. For example, when you need to drag a statue across the entire training field, while instead of the Wingardium leviosa, you need to use only Depulso… Yes, a harsh game 😉
  6. The stage of passing the Dark Lands is very, very monotonous and protracted.

And here’s the attic with the badge.

Result

In general, the game turned out to be very intelligently made, taking into account the complexity of the implementation of the mechanics of spells: after 3-4 hours, there is a feeling that this is the same magical world. And there is a desire to return to it. Only the implementation of some tasks spoils the impression: their complexity is greatly overestimated, as a result, helping the same twins is a task for fans of fast gameplay and, if necessary, rollbacks to the last save. However, these are all trifles, because at the stage of dark lands, the player is waiting for a monotonous and protracted gameplay, which can finally spoil the pleasant impression of the game. But true fans of fairly complex games may disagree with this – we recommend them to complete this game 100%.

You can get links to the game on its page.

You can get acquainted with the video passage of the game (in Russian) at this link (YouTube). The author of this passage sometimes very often expresses his opinion about the game, which may strongly disagree with yours 😉 And he still did not pass it to the end. Maybe you can do it?)


Studied the updated game: AlexeyMS