Wonderbook: Book Of Spells REVIEW

Wonderbook: Book Of Spells Review

Is it a book? Is it a game? Well, it's both...

Release Date: 16 November
RRP: £30.99 (£70.99 with a Move Controller and PlayStation Eye Camera)
Format: PS3
Publisher: Sony

Don’t be fooled by Book Of Spells’ appearance on PS3. This motion-controlled, augmented reality crash course in witchcraft and wizardry has a selling point much bigger than the flimsy gesture-based puzzles that pass for a game: a bunch of brand new short stories from the Harry Potter universe, written by JK Rowling.

These shorts explain the origin of the series’ most famous spells, and are animated using a gorgeous pop-up book art style. They’re hugely fun and usually come with a deliciously sinister twist, but only last a few minutes each, and the lack of any overarching narrative makes the complete package feel a bit slight.

The bulk of the game is structured around the five chapters of Miranda Goshawk’s Book Of Spells. There are four spells to learn in each, which are then used to pass a trial at the end of each chapter. At times it can feel like an extended tutorial level from a much bigger game, punctuated by short bursts of storytelling. At the end of each trial you’re given points for your chosen house, which can be linked to a Pottermore account for bonus show-off-ability.

Potter die hards and younger children will find plenty to enjoy, but the problem is, by trying to be both a book and a game it never fully satisfies as either. The real success of Wonderbook is its sensational augmented reality technology, which works seamlessly with the motion-controlling Move Wand, PlayStation Eye camera, and Wonderbook peripheral. Witchcraft can be the only explanation.

Jordan Farley

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