Wonderbook: Book of Spells Review

Wonderbook: Book of Spells (Available exclusively for the PlayStation 3)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action/Puzzle
Publisher: SCEA
Developer SCE London Studios
Release Date: November 13th, 2012

Parent Talk: This is a perfectly safe game for your children. Sure there might be some scary images, much like the Harry Potter movies, but the game is geared towards the 6 to 12 age market, and I think it’s completely harmless for the target audience.

Plays Like: Have you ever played an augmented reality game? You know, one of those EyeToy games or a Kinect game where your body is placed in-game? Well, this is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It has so much attention to detail, and will make your little wizard feel like they’re actually at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. By using the included peripheral players use the PlayStation Move controller in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye camera to get sucked into the game world where they will conjure up 20 unique spells.

Review Basis: Played through the whole game.

The Harry Potter series of books connected with people from all over the world like very few pieces of fiction do. The reason is simple, we all secretly hope that one day someone will come to us and tell us we’re actually magical. HP captured people’s imagination by infusing a magical subculture where you might actually have a chance to see something you’re not supposed to, and who knows, maybe you too have special powers. Wonderbook: Book of Spells largely succeeds in making the player feel as though they’re part of this unique world.

The Great:

Children will absolutely love this. As mentioned above, it’s targeted towards ages 6 to 12, and for those that love Harry Potter, actually having one of the most coveted possessions from the novels is a wonderful feeling. Kids will adore ‘virtually’ flipping through the pages to discover new spells and see creatures come to life on the TV screen. This is the ultimate gift you can give this holiday season to all young Potter fans.

The Good:

+ Learn 20 unique spells from the HP universe. Spells become more powerful as you progress making you feel as though you’re actually accomplishing something.

+ Attention to detail is staggering. From the way the game incorporates your body, to the wand and pages of the book themselves, Sony’s London Studio did a bang-up job making players feel completely immersed.

+ Simple and straightforward gameplay. Five chapters are broken down into sub-sections where new spells are slowly introduced. Players simply say the enhancement aloud, make some simple gestures and their spells come to life.

+ Much more to do than you realize at first. Sure it’s all about the spells, but eventually secrets start to pop up, there are duels and so much more.

+ It works! When this game was originally showcased at E3 there were some hiccups that made it seem less than it actually is. Spells work the first time, all the time.

The So-So:

+/- It can take a few tries to get the PlayStation Eye just right for the initial setup. It needs to be angled in such a way as you clearly see not only the player, but the Wonderbook as well. Once that’s done, you won’t have any issues whatsoever.

The Bad:

– The ending will leave you clamoring for more, and perhaps that was the idea. Still, it feels a little disappointing compared to the rest of the game’s story.

The Ugly:

Very little reason to come back for more other than the novelty of actually owning the Book of Spells. Young kids will appreciate this more so than older ones.

The Lowdown:

Taken for what it is, and who it’s geared towards the Wonderbook peripheral, and in particular Book of Spells is a fantastic holiday treat that will give children hours of entertainment. There’s almost nothing here for adults, but that was never intended. If you have a Harry Potter fan at home, this is a no-brainer.

Final Score: 8/10

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