I was recently sent a copy of the new augmented reality game for the PlayStation 3: 'Wonderbook – Book of Spells'. Set in the Harry Potter universe, the 'Book of Spells' is designed to be a handbook for wizard students but as it's set before the the books/films it doesn't feature him. Augmented reality is a bit bizarre, the game is turned into a 3D and interactive experience: very bizarre, very addictive.
I'm handing this over to Mr. TBaM to review.
When the first Harry Potter novels appeared, more than one reference was made to my rounded glasses, haircut and general appearance resembling images of the eponymous hero. It's fortunate that nobody could see the slight scar I have on my forehead, mostly covered by a fringe (yes, really!).
Although this did give me hope that I stood a chance of being cast as an adult Potter one day (before Daniel Radcliffe discovered that he could simply stop shaving for a few days) my actual magical abilities were still firmly rooted at "squib" standard. Until now…
'Wonderbook: Book of Spells' is the first game to use the new PlayStation 3 "Wonderbook". On the face of it, the Wonderbook is a simple hardback book covered in hieroglyphs, but combine it with the Eye camera and Move controller and you are given an impressive augmented reality view of what's in front of you. Within seconds the television becomes a mirror, with the plain book transformed into Miranda Goshawk's Book of Spells and the Move replaced with your very own magic wand!
The game is more of an interactive story, with plenty of new content written by J K Rowling, than a simple game. You are guided through twenty different spells, with tasks associated with each giving you the chance to use them in "real" situations. The Boy was particularly taken with using Winguardium Leviosa in herbology! (Or 'Nevenosa' as he calls it!)
Although set in the Harry Potter world, the book is from two hundred years before the present day and thus no mention is made of Potter himself. This is no bad thing, as it allows the player to concentrate on the magic, whilst also making it accessible to those – including the Boy – with no prior knowledge of the world of Potter. The fact that you see yourself performing the spells adds to the illusion, and it is very easy to lose track of time once immersed in the stories behind each spell.
Overall, an extremely impressive immersive experience. The Boy was hooked and grasped the concepts far faster than we'd expected him too, and TBaM and I did have a sneaky hour or two on it after he'd gone to bed!
This is a brilliant game and one which spans generations; my father, us, The Boy and my nine year old niece all really enjoy playing it.
I'd say the optimum age for Wonderbook: Book of Spells is six years or over, although The Boy as three and a half really did enjoy it with guidance.
I was sent this product on loan for review. My opinion is honest and unbiased.