Over the course of seven catalogs, eight films, and many other adaptations, Harry Potter and his friends have defeated those who seek to use magic’s dark arts for villainy. So when the mobile game Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery Cheats was announced, touting the interesting hook to be able to create your own identity and carve out your own way within J.K. Rowling’s much loved world, I got immediately up to speed. Sure, the graphics were a little clunky and outdated, the voice behaving from principal ensemble people was quite limited despite pr announcements to the contrary, and the “tap this thing a couple of times to complete your objective” methodology was pretty vulnerable, but those shortcomings were easy to clean aside as the storyplot rolled on. But after nearly a half an hour of playtime today, microtransactions ended my progress in its songs.

Microtransactions (essentially, small “opportunities” so that you can spend real cash in a “free” or “freemium” game) are equally unavoidable as they are, when improperly applied, inexcusable these days. There’s a place for mtx to be sure and they’re great ways for programmers to recoup some of the large costs of producing games, especially when the overall game itself is primarily offered for free. They’re great ways to add fun elements to a game like aesthetic changes or other customizable options. They’re even properly fine for those players, get rid of with cash, who are impatient enough to access that next level that they’ll happily purchase power-ups and updates in order to do that. However, microtransactions shouldn’t be impediments to the game’s main story itself.

Think about the mtx model in virtually any other form of entertainment, say heading to the films or dining out. Imagine heading to see your selected Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery Hack movie in the theatre and learning that the screening process was free! That’d be great. But, when you can that first climactic second where Harry, Ron, and Hermione find themselves in a lttle bit of trouble, the projection prevents dead until everyone in the theatre ponies up some money. Just a little, mind you, a buck or two, here and there. Or, since this movie theater is not a money-grubber at all, no of course not, you and your friends can just be seated for a quarter-hour as the cooldown timer resets and allows the movie to keep participating in on. Doesn’t that sound like fun? No, never. It’s a modern incarnation of the ol’ nickel-and-dime technique to slowly leach more and more money out of customers duped into pondering they had signed up for a classic time.

As for all of those other game itself, from what little I got eventually to play of it, it was fine. There are always a good amount of possibilities for customizing the appearance of your identity; more are unlockable through, you guessed it, microtransactions-this is one area where I’m totally fine with the model. The story gives some interesting twists like an elderly trouble-making sibling who has gone missing and other students who will become friends or opponents predicated on your multiple choice responses and relationships. The special elements themselves are also fine; I quite simply got to learn one spell and one potion before the cooldown timer stopped me deceased in the hold of the Devil’s Snare. (By the time you’re done reading this, I might have “earned” enough energy to get out…)

The story takes place when Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery Cheats himself was simply a baby, lately found to be very much alive and today in safe keeping; allowing Dumbledore and the initial coaching team preside in the storytelling. You get to choose your Hogwarts House without much interrogation from the Sorting Hat, which seems a neglected opportunity for a great bit of personality-building through questions and answers, but I digress. And the look of Hogwarts itself is fun, if somewhat limited, having other students, familiar encounters and voices of professors, and cool, interactive elements in the backgrounds, like paintings you can touch to activate or a creeping house elf here or there.

Regrettably, that’s about the magnitude of my experience. When jogging away of energy to perform certain tasks (for which there’s a generous timer in order to have them completed even without buying extra energy), you can buy more with gems, which of course can even be purchased with cash. It won’t surprise you to find out that you can buy both cash and gems with your real-world currency of choice. It’s unfortunate that Jam City, Portkey Game titles, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have opted to visit this path, but finally it’s up to you, dear player, if you need to pay out your hard-won Knuts, Sickles, and Galleons. For me, the magic’s already run dry out.