Not sure whether to spend your hard earned muggle money on the new Lego Harry Potter game? Well, have a read of this review to help you decide. Disagree? Tell us what you think and help others decide!
It’s not for nothing that the Lego series of games have developed one of the strongest reputations in modern gaming. Over the past five years, British developer Traveller’s Tales have created some of the most polished and easy-to-enjoy family titles on the market, and the series is one of the only ones to have a truly widespread appeal. Younger players enjoy the breezy simplicity of the gameplay, and older audiences, perhaps tired of the endless supply of games that primarily involve loud noise and shooting people, adore their wonderfully laid-back nature.
These Lego games are most perfectly enjoyed on rainy Sunday afternoons, and are so light-hearted and accessible that they feel very much like the very best movies by Disney or Pixar. Because of how simple the controls are (regardless of which gaming console you have at home) parents can (and do) instantly enjoy them too, and the joy of solving one of the game’s tricksy little puzzles is not to be underestimated.
Although the Harry Potter films (like the books) have gotten progressively more and more adult as they have gone on, this Lego game sticks to the lighter and more child-friendly original films, but the emphasis is placed squarely on fun. The darker tone of some moments (particularly some sequences from the third and fourth films) are cleverly glossed over, and some of the more serious moments are lightened up by some terrifically funny slapstick laughs.
Even very young children who aren’t familiar with the Harry Potter series at all won’t get too lost, as the most important parts of those first four films are changed into miniature silent comedy movies, which are suitable for everyone. They are frequently hilarious too, and the way that they condense the significant events of the films into bite-sized chunks is done with real skill and a very sharp knowledge of the game’s seriously varied audience.
If you’ve never played a Lego game before the formula is the same as it always has been. You roam around an open environment (in this case a very well rendered Lego version of Hogwarts) as one (or two) Lego characters, and solve a series of simple puzzles that both earn you some of the game’s currency (golden studs) and help you to progress to the next area. None of the puzzles are especially difficult (with most of them just requiring the pressing of a single button) and mainly involve a bit of trial-and-error and exploration.
It’s a formula that is extremely effective, and although this is the most ambitious Lego game to date (with spell-casting and broomstick flying included) there is nothing here that will frustrate younger fans of the series. Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 easily ranks alongside the best episodes of the Lego game franchise, and it’s long and deep enough to keep everyone busy long until the inevitable sequel arrives. Traveller’s Tales have delivered another classic, and nobody else in the games industry is making titles quite like these. Outstanding family entertainment.
Watch the game trailer here or visit our YouTube channel for more videos at http://www.youtube.com/thehutonline:
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