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Wonderbook: Book of Spells Review

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The latest instalment in the Harry Potter phenomenon integrates the use of a physical book, Playstaion move and camera to allow the player to learn some of the most famous spells and interact with the surrounding environment. With the original content written by J.K. Rowling, and based on the book of spells we see in the films, by Miranda Goshawk, the game includes 20 spells for the player to learn and use.

The game starts off calibrating the move controller and the camera to your environment. This is not a lengthy process and at each start up can be skipped. The same as becoming a wizard you will need to choose the wand in which you wish to play with; there are three options in total to pick between. The final option will be to which house you wish to belong, but don’t worry this does not impact on anything within the game; it is just another way to make you feel at home in Hogwarts.

There are five chapters in total, each with two parts to complete and 12 pages to look at within each part. The general structure to the game is as follows; you learn about the spell from text on the page or by a pop up story, you will find out the history of it, who came up with the spell along with other information. Next you will learn how to say the incantation correctly; first the narrator will pronounce it and ask you to repeat. From here you will be shown the symbol in which needs to be drawn on the screen, the symbols are pretty simple to recreate, but just make sure you can easily remember them, they may come in useful later on. Finally you will get to practice your new spell by performing small tasks. Although repetitive, it gives the game a good structure and allows for the player to know what is coming up so they are able to find a good place to stop if needed.

At the end of each part there is a small challenge which requires you to remember the spells you learnt in that given section, which is normally four. You are moved into a practice space, (this also happens when practicing some spells) where you need to get passed different obstacles in order to complete the test and find out how you have done. Some tests include unlocking chests and doors, taming animals and much more. The narrator helps slightly through this test and if needed you can request a reminder of the symbol to a certain spell. At the end of the test, you are awarded house points, although these do not change anything it all adds to the experience of practicing your wizarding skills.

Selecting the chapters is done on the front cover of the book, you can also look at the collectables you have found within and re-visit the riddles/poems you see with completing each chapter. These riddles are told to you by Miranda herself and you will be given the chance to solve it once you have learnt each spell.

The book itself, when sat there looks quite weird and like a collection of blue prints, but when seen on screen it is hard to believe that it is the same book. With golden images, pop up cut scenes and the creative interactive environment, is there much more you could want them to include? Maybe some new creatures, well you are in luck they have included just that. It also gives you the chance to produce that much loved patronus you always dreamed of.

Using your hands or the wand provided, you can tilt, rotate or even simply turn the pages of the book to find out what lies within. As well as the general spell writing on each page there are also some little notes left by the previous owner of the book. Sometimes it may be other spells or even just some information that they have left for you to read. Miranda has also left some things for you to read throughout, but remember the things that you find may not always be good. So be prepared.

As well as the wonderbook, the game also came with the Playstaion move controller and camera, which are necessities to play the game itself. The move is very accurate whilst in game and it was able to detect subtle movements that I made whilst playing. What else that was good is that, if you were to move your body, drink whilst on screen, and have other people in view it did not impact upon the game play, it still worked correctly. Although the move has many buttons on the controller, once used to playing with it, it became natural to use within the game. Personally it took me some time to work out how to get started.

Gameplay

Personally I thoroughly enjoyed the field of play. As a huge Harry Potter fan this was the perfect game for me to play and having the chance to play other games in the future using the same book was an added bonus. I enjoyed the fact the game concentrated on the spells that we all saw in the movies and not so much on the characters, it made a change and gave the game a different perspective.

Graphics

I found the graphics to be impressive and wonderfully put together, different designs throughout, but at the same time having a flowing theme.

Sound

With good voice over’s and backing music, there was not really much I could fault here, however I would have liked a bit more of the lovely music we heard in the films. But that is just personal preference and does not affect the game in any way, shape or form.

Closing comments

Personally I think that this game should be a must play for any Harry Potter fan. It may not include the much loved characters, but for me I like to look at the spells and background to it as well. This book is aimed at children and those that are not just interested in the characters and books. If you do not fit into these categories then this may not be the game for you. The game is beautifully designed and very inventive. A great success in my eyes and I will continue to enjoy the book for quite some time, it is a great novelty.

Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.


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