Harry Potter Wizards Unite beta LIVE: Flipping Pokemon GO

It's time to get prepared to switch to a new game, all ye Pokemon GO enthusiasts. Now that the Pokemon GO universe is packed to the absolute brim with different sorts of Pokemon, and the game's made no major changes in the last... as long as I can remember, it's time to get pumped up about the HP version of the Niantic universe. This is the best of what Pokemon GO and Ingress had to offer, mixed together in a product that's every bit as exciting as the launch of the Pokemon GO game back in June of 2016.

Back when I said that Pokemon GO was the best game EVER, I meant it. If the game had evolved along a path that didn't focus so heavily on jamming in as many monsters as possible in as short a time as possible, we might be in a place where we weren't so obsessed with shiny Pokemon. So very, many, shiny Pokemon.

With Harry Potter Wizards Unite, we've got a chance for another masterpiece – and this time, Niantic's able to learn from its mistakes. If Pokemon fandom is any indication of how popular a game like this can get, this HP title is going to rocket right up to the sun, right out the gate.

Above you'll see the startup screen for Harry Potter Wizards Unite. Notice how Niantic takes FULL advantage of the graphic design language and sounds of Harry Potter. They pop in an owl, drop in the Ministry of Magic, and make the start of the game feel as though you've joined a real important cause – on the side of good, of course.

Next you'll see a bit of gameplay. You'll recognize the basic UI, of course – it's based on the same engine as Pokemon GO. But here we're not trying to capture and enslave animals in order to have them fight one-another for our entertainment – nay! Here we're doing something far more noble.

The key here is the secrecy and feeling of exclusivity that comes with the knowledge that you, the gamer, are a wizard. You've got to protect the Wizarding World, and you've got to do so by getting out of your house and getting some exercise!

This game will feed your addictive personality with the collecting of spells, and "Findables" of many sorts. You'll grow more powerful, you'll learn how to take ownership over your local area in the real world (or in the virtual world, however you wish to see it).

Harry Potter Wizards Unite was just launched in Beta mode this week. It'll only be available for now in New Zealand, but should spread beyond those borders rather quickly. If Pokemon GO is any indication of the launch speed we'll experience here, we'll be playing in full GO mode by the time school is out!

IF you'd like to do ALL you can do to get in on this game as SOON as possible, the best you'll be able to do is head to the official sign-up site and tap "ENLIST NOW" – because THINGS are happening, things that are just the worst!