LEGO games have (rightly) been million selling titles which have appeared on every current console going, so it was only a matter of time before one turned up on the iPhone.
Harry Potter is the latest console LEGO game and also the first to make it to the iOS Platform. The game covers Harry’s first 4 years at Hogwarts, which means that the likelihood of seeing a sequel is very high. It will contain story spoilers for those who haven’t read the books or seen the films, but it does follow the films rather than the books, especially where the looks of each character are based on the actors in the film franchise.
While many would have liked to see Star Wars, Harry Potter is certainly a big enough franchise and has enough going for it to be a great success as a LEGO game. Sure enough, the first few minutes of the game, from the amusing intro movie to the finding of presents and trip to Diagon Alley, confirms that this game has a bucket-load of charm, whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not. Part of this is due to the 2 franchises. The LEGO games have always been fun and the amusing cut scenes are as good here as in any of the other titles, but it helps that this is a port of a DS handheld game that has been well thought out and the quality shows in the gameplay.
With any LEGO game there are certain things expected of the player. Number one among these is the collecting of studs to gain new characters and items. These studs are dotted around the game world and some can only be collected when you have certain characters, meaning that those interesting in picking up every last one in a level will need to go back and play that level again once it has been opened.
The second expectation is that you’ll need to work to solve puzzles by swapping characters and using their abilities. While this is still true of Harry Potter, the puzzles seem easier and the characters have less to distinguish them than in other LEGO games.
Levels are varied and are nicely split by minigames as well as benefitting from a great range of environments and the odd ‘boss’ battle. On the 3rd generation devices they look good enough but view this on an iPhone 4, iPad or new iPod Touch and the retina display makes everything look so much better.
When I originally wrote this review the only option for controlling Harry and his friends was via the touchscreen. The interface, while workable, was cumbersome and often involved choosing the wrong item or character, making the game frustrating. Since then an update has allowed players to use a virtual D-Pad, completely changing the way the game feels and vastly improving the experience in the process.
With 44 levels, tons to do and some great graphics, this is so much more than a cheap port of a console game. LEGO Harry Potter is a great gaming experience and well worth your money. Let’s just hope the rest of the LEGO series follow this on to the iOS platform.