Developed by Scope Seven, Inc.
Produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
This game is based on movies 4-6 of the Harry Potter franchise (Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix and the Half-Blood Prince). That doesn’t really matter though. Most of the games are directional challenges and simple puzzles. Only a couple of challenges require previously watching the movies, although you can fake it if you’re good at guessing ages or voices.
The game starts out with choosing 1-4 players, followed by choosing difficulties and houses from the franchise to play under. Then comes the gameplay menu, choosing between a crystal ball for a tutorial, document.
The activities themselves are shallow and repetitive both in style and variation. The activities are divided into fourth, fifth and sixth years and are themed to fit events in each movie of the corresponding year. The games range from hitting the right directional button when it lights up to finding objects in messy rooms to hitting buttons at the right time and so on. Each activity only has maybe three to six versions and takes only a couple of minutes at most. Play enough times, and you’ll memorize your way through the whole game. Not much substance in gameplay here.
There are four difficulty modes to play in: easy, medium, hard and “Mystery Broom” (random). The supposed difference is the difficulty of each activity. In reality, there is no distinction between medium and hard. Several times, the same variation of a game would pop up in different modes. This basically makes Mystery Broom pointless.
Unfortunately, on levels beyond easy, some games become virtually unplayable. The controls become less responsive, eventually to the point of not even registering what they should. Maybe this is the developers’ idea of added difficulty, but it’s definitely my idea of a giant pain. Add to that the necessity in single-player mode of repeating games until they’re all beat, and players will be hurling their remotes at the screen. Luckily in multiplayer, there’s the enjoyment of watching someone else go nuts.
There are essentially two different kinds of video here: clips from the movies and game-only CGI scenes and images. The movie clips aren’t really low quality, but they aren’t as good as they would be on their own DVDs. The CG animation is simplistic. A few games and menus only rely on still images. Anyone used to late ‘90s PC adventure games would feel right at home.
In the activities asking players to choose a direction within a circle of up, down, left and right direction, the circle is dark orange. When a direction is asked, it turns to dark yellow. Dark orange to dark yellow is not much of a color shift. It proves difficult for some to even see. Luckily, the narrator will also say the direction, but only about half the time.
The entire game is in fullscreen, including the video clips, so sorry widescreen aficionados. For you fullscreen fans, you’ll get plenty of time to enjoy. You can’t skip any scenes except for activity instructions.
There is a single narrator with a British accent but is not a character from the franchise. A couple of his words are mumbled, but otherwise he’s easy to understand. The background sounds like generic Harry Potter background music, although not quite as well composed as in the movies.
Only one activity really requires audio. The player has to pick a character to patch a whisper, which is really just movie dialog mumbled and turned down really low. In fact, too low if the player’s sound is at a moderate level. Some whispers are more of a guessing game than actually being able to interpret which character said that.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The packaging is basic: DVD case with inserted cover, DVD and instruction manual. The case is clear. The front of the cover, instruction manual and DVD all have the same image. The spine of the cover doesn’t include the Wizarding World subtitle, despite there being other Harry Potter DVD games it should be differentiated from.
The instruction manual is where the packaging really falls apart. First, it commits the most atrocious crime a video game instruction manual could. It lies. While the manual says players could choose the activities they play, the game chooses for the player. Very disorienting for players who actually read the manual first.
Despite that, the manual proves essential for a later activity, with no clues to even refer back to the manual ever given.
As for bonus features, all you get are the game credits separate from the game. Yes, many Harry Potter fans must be jumping for joy to see their favorite actors’ names again, except they aren’t in there. Just the credits for making the game. Enjoy.
At least the case is nice, doesn’t have those silly child locks and keeps the disc clean.
This is not a particularly good game. If it was, it would be on a dedicated video game system (or a computer). This is simply cheap merchandise for Harry Potter fans to enjoy together. Harry Potter fans will likely be disappointed at the lack of trivia quizzing (which means no one-upping each other). Others wouldn’t pick this up unless they don’t know any better.
The Game 3/10
The Video 4/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 1.5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 4/10