As many of you Harry Potter fans out there return from your local cinema having watched the 1st part of the 7th Harry Potter movie, you might want to check out the newest Warner Bros iOS release. Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 lets you guide Mr. Potter through the first 4 years of his adventure in magic and will surely bring back fond memories of the earlier installments of JK Rowling’s hit series.
Lego Harry Potter is a near-full port of the multi-platform 2010 video game and includes 41 levels divided into 4 years. From the Dursleys to the Goblet of Fire, the game contains real events and quests playable as over 100 different characters. There are many locations to explore, including an exquisite Hogwarts Castle and other beautifully designed areas. At the end of each level, you are graded based on how many Lego pieces and rare items you collected. A new freeplay area is also unlocked that lets you revisit and further explore previous areas.
Please note that this game is only compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch 3G, and iPod Touch 4G right now and that you must have iOS 4.1 or later installed. Although it is a universal app, it will not install onto an iPad unless you have iOS 4.2.
Lego Harry Potter is an authentic mission that will touch the hearts of Harry Potter fans. Every important event that happened in the both loved and hated hero’s life is shown in a quest or in a humorous cutscene. You can play as over 100 characters, including Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, and other familiar figures. Rowling’s intriguing storyline from the series combined with adorable Lego graphics and customizable characters provides a fantastic and magical experience.
The game contains a ton of content, and it will take a long time to beat all of the multi-part levels. Even after completing them, freeplay mode lets you go to places that weren’t accessible in the campaign and discover new secrets. Every level has many Lego pieces for you to pick up, as well as Wizard’s hats, secrets to unlock, and other collectables that make it virtually impossible to get a perfect score. After Harry tries out 3 wands and chooses one, you can learn to cast one of many spells to help complete tasks.
Warner Bros definitely took a risk in including atypical controls in the game. Instead of using the expected virtual pad and action buttons, you put your finger on the screen and then move it to another location to guide Harry in that direction. Although it does take some time to get a good grip on, the control system does work effectively. Double tapping on your character to change to another person is necessary because certain tasks can only be performed by stronger or more experienced characters. To cast spells, you draw a pattern on the screen, such as a Z-shape or a circle. The game’s graphics and music are great considering that everything is made to loook like Legos, especially on a Retina Display.
There isn’t much to dislike about Lego Harry Potter besides that there isn’t another control option. There is no doubt that the current system will not appeal to everyone, and it would be nice to have a virtual pad or another choice. The game only saves at the end of a level, and removing the app from the iOS 4 multitasking bar will result in restarting a perhaps lengthy level. The most concerning issue at this point is that Lego Harry Potter can only be played on later devices. If you do own a 1st or 2nd gen device, you’re completely out of luck on this one, as it won’t even install. iPad owners will need to wait to upgrade to iOS 4.2 update sometime next week before they are able to install it as well.
Fortunately for iDevice owners, more and more developers are porting versions of their best-selling console games to the smaller screen, and Lego Harry Potter is no doubt one of the best so far. It’s a shame that the ridiculous amount of content and fun embedded in the app cannot be enjoyed by all at this point, but those who can will definitely be impressed. Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 is a must buy for less than the cost of that movie ticket at $4.99.