What is the best game this year for the Harry Potter fan in your house? If you own a Playstation 3, the answer should be the new Move based game, Wonderbook. With few reviews, trailers, or anyone who had played it, I was skeptical to purchase this for my 7-year-old. I had sold my move last year since there was just not enough decent content to justify keeping it, so I had to purchase the full kit. Spending nearly $75 on Black Friday, I knew this had to be worth every penny if I was ever going to live this down with my non-gamer husband. Was it? Definitely!
Upon opening the box, I was seriously confused. Inside was a blue book with strange markings all over it, the Move and Eye, and the game. Honestly, I was initially disappointed, thinking I was going to go have to buy some kind of inserts or something for this strange-looking book. In order to figure it out, however, all I needed to do was pop in the game disk. With a fantastic step-by-step walk through, the game gives you instructions on setting everything up so simply that I know my child can do it by herself! Once everything was set up, she was able to navigate everything with a good mixture of challenge and ability.
To start the game, a narrator assists you in selecting your own wand and pick which Hogwarts Wizarding House you wish to be in. Eagerly my little Gryffindor got to work. By laying the book flat on the floor and training the Eye on the player and book, the book literally comes to life on the t.v.! The Move controller literally becomes a wand! You are a young Hogwarts student learning all of the great spells you see in the movies! Much like a read-a-long, the player pulls up the words from the book and goes through stories about each spell. Some spells even have small plays where the player must select what comes next that ensures they cannot become disengaged. By practicing saying each spell and performing the wand movements, each spell is mastered in an effective and entertaining fashion. Along the way through your journey to becoming a wizarding legend, you will pick up collectible objects that you can find in a special chapter in the book.
At first, while watching my child go through this game, she got to the end of the first section and had flipped through all 12 pages of the blue cardboard book. I was ready to cry thinking that it was over, and so was she! Cleverly, the game developers made it so you simply flip the book to the front cover and select the next section you need to work on. All of the chapters are contained in the one 12 page book that you flip through over and over.
Also unique to this experience, some activities require that you move your book and interact with it. Whether it be leaves that the player must sweep off the cover, or a mysterious hole that you need to tilt the book to look down, the effect on-screen is simply incredible. You also collect house points while going through your book and performing tests. The reward for doing well on the tests is not only the points, but fun and beautiful creatures you have tamed!
While I do think that adults may get bored with this after a while, for the 6-15 age group this new game is a perfect fit. The graphics are unique in the way they incorporate the imaginary Potter world and the real room you are playing in. For hard-core Potter fans, there is even a selection to connect your Pottermore.com account to the story. Sony has completely redeemed themselves. By all appearances, it looks like this Wonderbook line will be expandable, and I can’t wait to see what they dish up next!