If you have a young Harry Potter fan and a Sony Playstation 3 in your home, then the Sony Wonderbook: Book of Spells Move Bundle may just be the thing to make keep your young wizard in training happy. The Book of Spells single-player game utilizes the Sony Move motion controller, and the new Wonderbook game accessory to mimic the wand play and teach the user the different incantations and wand movements written about in the Harry Potter book series. It’s an entertaining game, one that makes the most of augmented reality gameplay.
A Potter in Training
The premise of the game is the user, a young wizard, comes upon the Book of Spells in the Hogwarts Library. The book has 20 spells that the user must learn (involving both wand and incantation), and then user in different scenarios.
There are two ways to buy the Book of Spells. There’s the Move Bundle ($79.99 list), which includes the game, the Sony Playstation Eye camera, the Move, and the Wonderbook. If you already have the Move and Eye camera, then you can purchase the game and Wonderbook accessory for $39.99 (list).
The Wonderbook measures 9.25 by 11 by 0.5 inches (HWD) when closed. Its pages are fashioned out of cardboard, and each page, including the cover, has a design that resembles QR codes. There are 12 pages in all.
To set up the game, you plug the Eye camera into your PS3 via the USB port. Then you activate the Move and insert the disc into your console. The game will walk you through the rest of the setup, including making sure that the user is correctly positioned in front of the Eye camera. You can also connect the game to a Pottermore account, if you have one, at this point.
Abra, Abra, Cadabra
After setup is done, the screen shows the user sitting in the restricted portion of the Hogwarts library, where the Book of Spells is kept. It’s basically a shot of the user and their real surroundings with an overlay of the Hogwarts library room. The Wonderbook appears as the Book of Spells, and the Move appears as the wizard wand of your choice (you have three to choose from). The user can choose which of the four Hogwarts Houses to belong to. There is a narrator that walks the user through each of the 20 spells in the book, explaining what each one does and the story behind it. He then instructs the user on how to move their “wand” and what incantations to utter. Once the game determines that you’ve sufficiently learned the spell (via the video and audio recognition capabilities of the Eye camera), you then move on to challenges in which you have to use the spells. As the game goes on, and the user learns more spells, the challenges become more complex.
Now, some of the more sophisticated gamers out there may not be impressed by the simple features of the game. My eight-year-old wouldn’t be one of them. It was easy for him to set up the game by himself, and once it started, he was simply enthralled. Practicing the wand motions and the incantations was a serious undertaking for him (and slightly disconcerting for his father, who thought he was trying to learn Latin). The game was very good at detecting how well the user mimicked the wand movement and said the incantation for each spells, and would ask the user to repeat the actions if it wasn’t quite “right.”
Book of Wonders
One nit for me is the fact that there are no other Wonderbook-based games available, and no word from Sony as to whether or not there will be. But given that the accessory is bundled into the Book of Spells game for the same price you’d essentially pay for similar PS3 games, I can’t really complain. Overall, this is a pretty good deal for those who already have the Move controller and Eye camera. For those who don’t, the $80 for the bundle might be a bit pricey. But if you have a Harry Potter fan at home, then the expense may just be worth it.
|ESRB Rating||E for Everybody|
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