Lego Harry Potter (out now, $4.99) has raised the bar for iOS gaming. It’s damn near perfect and truly is the closest to console gaming anything currently available on the App Store has yet come. Unfortunately, however, there’s one big flaw.
Now, we all know about Harry Potter and Lego games are nothing new. Lego Harry Potter on the iDevices is a port from the other ‘big’ consoles out there, but you can tell that just as much care was taken with it as on the other versions. The game does a good job of portraying the first four years of the epic story and Harry Potter fans are sure to enjoy the game. Even those who have never been fans of the story are bound to enjoy the experience as it’s a solid adventure title. The game is very charming and the Lego style is great. As with all Lego games, you have some nice humor chucked in for good measure and this helps add to the overall appeal of it.
Lego Harry Potter is a very well presented game. The graphics are stunning and the sound is great. The game runs nicely and it’s almost impossible to find fault with the presentation. Okay, there is a fair amount of loading which some may find annoying, but this isn’t a deal-breaker and is to be expected considering the large size of the game. It’s obvious that a lot of care and attention went into ensuring that the game was of a very high polish and it has paid off nicely.
Moving is pretty essential to most games and so the mechanic has to be well designed. Sadly, this is one thing that Lego Harry Potter does not do well. To move your character you have to either click somewhere or drag your finger around the screen. Clicking isn’t very productive and is by no means fun. Dragging your finger around the screen means that you won’t be able to see half of the things on it. This is a fairly major issue and it’s surprising that a d-pad wasn’t originally included. The developers have said that it will be in an upcoming update though, so that shouldn’t be an issue for much longer. Luckily the other controls are fine. Solving puzzles and casting spells is simple and you should have no issue with it. The gameplay is fairly typical of other Lego games. On your quests you collect Lego pieces and other special items such as wizard hats. These unlock nice models for you to look at from your main ‘home’ area in the game. If you’ve played any Lego game before, you’ll be right at home. The main quests are fun and all the other additions are nice bonuses.
Most iDevice games are over before you know it. One of the places where Harry Potter truly stands out is the content. The main campaign should last you a very long time and in addition to that you have a freeplay mode, where you can explore visited or new areas to try and collect special items or just to take in the scenery. There are plenty of characters to play with and you can even customize them, which is a very nice addition. You’re very unlikely to get bored of the game any time soon and other devs should take this as an example of how to make a complete game.
Lego Harry Potter has truly set a new standard for iOS gaming. It’s packed with content, is beautifully presented and has an overall polished feel that makes the game near perfect. The devs have said that a virtual d-pad is coming in a future update, as well as Game Center integration and support for older iDevice models. There really is nothing more you can ask for and after the mentioned update(s), this will easily be one of the most complete games out there on the App Store.
iFanzine Verdict: Lego Harry Potter is a very impressive game that’s well worth the price. It’s great fun and is bound to last you a long time. It’s the closest the iPhone has yet come to console gaming and hopefully in future other devs will try to measure up to the epic size of this game. What are you waiting for? Go out and get it now!