As someone who was expecting to like this game when I saw it on the list (I’m a mid-level HP fan, and enjoy traditional parser games – and heck, I just remembered that a couple years ago I actually ran a tabletop RPG one-shot about students stuck at Hogwarts over Christmas!), but who wound up ranking it fairly low, I have two main theories for why it didn’t do so well:
-It’s very large, but more to the point, it’s very thinly implemented, but the main draw of the game for a Harry Potter fan would be to wander around the school and feel like you’re really there. There isn’t a lot of scenery (and often things mentioned in the room descriptions don’t really exist if you try to look more closely); the few NPCs don’t have much they can talk about, and there are no rewards for trying to enter into the spirit of the thing (the music room says it’s got great acoustics, but you can’t SING in there; you can’t browse the books in the library…)
-Many of the puzzles are minimally clued, and require very precise wording to work. Finding the invisibility cloak requires repeating an action several times, after a fairly discouraging first response, for example, and I had trouble getting the ink into a flask (PUT doesn’t work but FILL does). Combined with the very large map, this made for a lot of aimless wandering around a mostly-empty school hoping for inspiration to strike.
There’s the skeleton here of a really fun game that would satisfy a lot of HP-nerds’ fantasies of exploring Hogwarts – sadly, I think this one just needed a bit more time and a few more detail passes.