Let us take you on a mystery tour through the various Harry Potter video-games. From consoles to handhelds to smartphone and tablets, there are a wealth of different ways to play in the world of Harry Potter. We suggest a few places to start.
Harry Potter for Kinect (Xbox 360)
Unlike the other Xbox 360 Harry Potter video games, which at times offered some Kinect controller support, Harry Potter for Kinect is controlled entirely with the 360 hands free controller.
This takes a similar approach to games like Disneyland Adventures and Kinect Rush in aiming to create a full action adventure using just the hands-free Kinect controller. Players use their bodies to move around the environment and participate in a variety of Harry Potter centric challenges.
Families will enjoy the novel ability to use your own face in the game — captured by the Kinect camera. You can also play a fully motion controlled game of Quidditch.
Two players can compete at the same time by standing in front of the screen next to each other. This offers a more mature and challenging adventure than some of the younger rating Kinect games. It is rated PEGI 12 for containing “realistic looking violence towards non human looking characters”.
As with any Kinect game you need to ensure you have a good space in front of your TV to play, and spend a little time setting the controller up. It then creates a unique and active way to play the game without holding any cables or controllers.
Wonderbook: Book of Spells (PS3)
Although this isn’t actually a direct Harry Potter game it takes place in Hogwarts library 100 years before those stories unfold. This is an unusual game because it uses a new Wonderbook technology on the PlayStation 3.
The book is blank before you place it in front of the PlayStation Eye camera, whereupon it is populated with all sorts of pop-up and interactive elements. This is then used to tell a specific story. Book of Spells is the first book for the Wonderbook peripheral and, as mentioned above, is set in the world of Hogwarts.
Players interact with the game by turning pages of the Wonderbook and interacting by moving and pointing the PlayStation Move controllers. It has a PEGI 7 rating and us suitable for anyone of that age and older.
LEGO Harry Potter (PS3/Wii/360/DS/3DS/Vita/iPhone/Android)
This takes the physical LEGO models created for Harry Potter and turns them into a videogame. Essentially a platform game, you explore, run, jump and cast spells to progress through the different stories.
This is available on most console and handheld systems and is split into two releases. Firstly Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 tackles the earlier books and films while Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 rounds things off for the later episodes. Both of these are PEGI 7 rated.
Although it does help to have read the books or watched the films before playing these games they do a good job of telling the stories themselves. Also, it is possible to play through the games without engaging in the story in any great detail if you wish.
Recently the Harry Potter LEGO games have been made available on the iPhone’s iOS and Android platforms. This offers a similar experience to the handheld games but on your Smartphone.
Harry Potter Action Adventure Games (PS3/Wii/360)
There are a series of Harry Potter adventure games for a range of consoles and handheld systems that track the story of the film. Although they do vary these are mainly focused on delivering a film-like action adventure experience where players take on the role of Harry and his friends.
These games follow the films rather than the books and pull in artwork and assets from those productions to grant them an authentic feel.
The most recent of these games added in features for motion controlled systems like the Wii and 360 Kinect controller. However the main control schemes of the game still remained a joypad.
Because of their relationship to the films they are usually suitable for an older audience than other Harry Potter games. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (pictured) for example is a PEGI 12 game
Although Pottermore is as much a website as it is a game, there are still plenty of playable elements. It was developed by J.K. Rowling and Sony and provides content that coincides with reading the books.
This offers a variety of authors notes from Rowling and several pages of text that were not included in the novels. The site launched in July 2011 (the birthday of both Rowling and her character Harry Potter) but was restricted to one million users. In April Pottermore opened to the public and is expanding to include all the books.
Players can brew spells, win house points, challenge other wizards to duels and explore the books. Currently the experience addresses Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the first eleven chapters of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.[Header Image Credit: flickr/ngmmemuda]