Harry Potter for Kinect Review

When J.K Rowling sat on that delayed train for four hours in the 90’s concocting all the details for a novel about a wizard, I bet she never believed in her wildest dreams how record breaking it would eventually become – and that even you could become that very wizard through the power of a device that can sense your movements and relay it back in-game…the ever so magical Kinect for Xbox 360. You’ve always wanted to be Harry Potter, but maybe you just didn’t realise it yet?

Harry Potter for Kinect from WB Games allows you to experience iconic moments from the Harry Potter films as your favourite characters or even as yourself. Using your body and your voice you can cast spells and battle it out in exciting duels with major villains from the series – and participate in one of the best games of Quidditch you’re ever likely to play.

I always tend to start Kinect reviews detailing the menu options because almost all Kinect games will not allow you to choose an item with the controller, relying on just your hands and voice and so many developers get it so annoyingly wrong. In Harry Potter for Kinect, I am pleased to say that the menu selection screen is perfect; you have to love the simple raise hand and swipe system – and this game goes one better than others where you just have to raise an arm to confirm a selection. No fiddly unresponsive options all sat too closely together, no poking, pressing or punching – awesome. The Kinect menu controls work!

First things first in Harry Potter for Kinect you get to select your wand…or as the saying goes, “the wand chooses the Wizard” so you’ll be waiting around for a bit until a wand fits, then you swoosh through the process of being sorted into what section of Hogwarts you’ll be living under – of course as Harry Potter it will be Griffindor and then the game opens up into starting your first year of the main story and/or  start by taking Potion Classes with Professor Snape of Slytherin House – for those not aware, Snape dislikes Harry Potter and so always puts a damper on your efforts. The Potion Classes are quite entertaining and require you to select different ingredients, stirring movements with your hands, pinching; pouring and then eventually you’ll master a potion and unlock a cure for boils, just what the doctor ordered! All the Potion Classes are accessible through a Pensieve in the menu selection screen as mini-games along with Spell Casting.

Yes – in Harry Potter for Kinect, don’t just think being a wizard comes naturally as you also have to learn to cast spells in Professor Flitwicks Charms Class as a series of lessons, the first being a Wingardium Leviosa, a levitating charm. The method in which you can cast a spell is just exactly how you would expect a wizard to do it in real life, you cast your wand and say the spell out loud “Wingardium Leviosa”, or if you are unable to say it perform a movement action with your arms as each spell has its own required body shape so to speak, but it’s easier to just cast your spell and say it out loud. Now that you can create potions and cast spells, you’re all readied up to try your hand at the campaign story mode.

The actual story mode in Harry Potter for Kinect is more actually a snippet of clips from each of the films in the Harry Potter series, so as the game focuses on the films, it doesn’t possibly replicate anything you’ve read in the books which are sometimes a little different. Each small chapter always starts with a still from the movie followed by a section of narrative and then the mini-game begins. It doesn’t really give any detail and therefore you would need to know about Harry Potter, have watched the films or read a book to understand what is actually going on and the purpose to you fighting trolls, burning Professor’s faces, controlling Gringotts Cart, duelling against other wizards and a whole lot more of Harry Potter madness comes to life with you in the centre of it. While all of the mini-games aren’t exceptionally long, they are quite fun, responsive with Kinect controls and very graphically detailed to replicate the same location in the movie. Once you have completed one section another unlocks, and then the more spells you cast and the more you play you get unlock further years in the Harry Potter story.

Harry Potter for Kinect is exactly what Kinect was made for, kids games that require basic movement and titles that capture the imagination of your childs favourite movie so that they feel almost a part of it. This title is basically a constant selection of mini-games that can be played with up to two players in front of the Kinect Sensor. The Kinect controls are very responsive and the game is very enjoyable, but unless you’re a real huge fan of Harry Potter you probably wouldn’t buy this… but if you have a child or relative who loves Harry Potter and has a Kinect Sensor, then this would make a great gift.

Great Fun, but the novelty wears off pretty quickly.

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