As an avid fan of both Apple, and the iPhone/iPad, I feel honored to report something shocking. I would first like to take moment and express some thoughts. I am a fan of gaming on the iPhone, and now gaming on the iPad, and some recent games being a shining example of what a gaming company can really do with the iOS platform, I feel that the iOS platform is doing great, and will continue to be a viable and sustainable money maker for any gaming company. That being said, some games are getting a little more expensive due to content being that much more worthy of your AppStore dollars. Right now I don’t think that there is one game out there that is more expensive than $15.00, however, that being said, we are experiencing a very awesome trend as of late. The iOS platform is getting titles that are of console grade that are often a lot cheaper than what it would cost at say Wal-Mart. With this in mind I’d like to now turn to the main event; a review of a game that I am proud to say is actually /better/ than the console version.
Lego Harry Potter was released to the AppStore recently, and my significant other and I were sort of excited to see it, but was a little unsure if we should spend the money on it when we already had purchased the Wii Console version of the same exact title. I will say this now, $4.99 is not a really big price tag for a game, but that is roughly what I pay for breakfast at the local mickey d’s in the morning, so I take every five dollar AppStore purchase seriously. After a few minutes of deliberating, we bought the game, and we are so thrilled that we did. The game features a new method of interacting with the world and the controls are actually really well suited for iOS platform. I have not seen many games do this, but this game, a mobile version, actually outperforms its bigger brother. Not only that, but the story is better, and the game play makes more sense. How many times have you seen this? The gameboy edition of a game is actually a better buy than say the SNES version?
The Wii Console version of this game featured irritating idiosyncrasies that non-existent on the iOS platform version. For example, in order to cast a spell, which is what you are doing more than half of the time, you could only have a few spells active at any given time on the Wii version, and if you did not have the proper spell equipped, you have to switch out your active spells, and hope that you don’t have to do it again while in the middle of dangerous situation. While pushing a button is a little less tedious than drawing a shape on screen sometimes, having the ability to have your entire spell library available to you all at once is a blessing. General controls for this game are wonderful. You can either tap a place for your current character to walk to, and he will do so if it’s in line of sight, or you can simply pretend that the whole iPhone/iPad is a track pad and your finger is the cursor, where ever you drag your finger is where Harry will follow. After you get your wand and can cast some basic spells, you can flick your wand in the direction of say a barrel and make it explode. You can draw circles around a broken object to cast repairo, and you can draw the same circle around your character to cast stupify. I won’t walk you through the whole spell list, because there are many, but you can see how having these things be controlled by your finger can be very convenient. You do not have to have Harry facing thing proper direction, he will reorient himself to wherever you finger touches the screen automatically. Also, for more complicated spells where you are to make something change into something else, or make something levitate, the more complicated spell shapes will appear on screen and you can just simply trace the path of the wand gestures with your finger. This direct form of control is much less clumsy than the Wiimote, and helps create a more fun environment for those who don’t usually game, but like Harry Potter.
The graphics of this game are pretty good. They are not on par with say, Infinity Blade, but they are none too shanby either. They may be tuned down a little from its bigger console brothers, but only a minute amount. I honestly did not notice a difference between the iPad version and the version my significant other was playing on the Wii until I looked REALLY closely. Lego games are never really that graphically intensive to begin with, but this game is rather well done just the same. The FMVs are done really well, and the in game graphics are very crisp. I don’t think I could ask for more out of a Lego Game for a mobile platform.
This is also something of a first. Sometimes we will see a different story line between the mobile version and the console version, simply because of limitations of the mobile systems, or because they want you to buy up every version to get the full story. However, this is the first time, that I can think of anyway, where the story of the mobile game is actually better, and more involved, than the console version. This may just be due to the fact that they had more time to work on the iOS version than they did the others, but in any event the story here is more complete and more faithful to the actual story from either the movie or the book (depending on which year you are playing). Some of the scenes are different simply to make gameplay more interesting, but it is not so drastically altered that you can not tell where this should have taken place in the book or movie. Also, with this being the iOS version, Lego can do something that they CAN NOT do with the console version; they can now offer updates with more content or in app purchases for additional levels that are specifically made for your pleasure. With the console version you’d have to buy a whole new disc, which may not be able to interact with your old save, and if it did – it’d probably cost you thirty or more dollars for just a quidich expansion, or whatever. I am disappointed that you cannot actually play quidich in this game, by the way, but I’ll get over it.
In the end I am proud to say that this game lives up to the Harry Potter name, and it out weighed my expectations for a Lego iOS Game. I am even more proud, as an Apple fan, to say “neener neener” to the big consoles, and rub it in their faces that this version is better than what they have. Ha. Ha. Ha. I give this Game a 9 out of 10 for being everything I ever dreamed of, minus one point from 10 for not having quidich. GIVE ME QUIDICH!
Game receives a 9 on a scale of 10.