Potter fans, rejoice: the first official Harry Potter app has been released to the App Store. iDevice-owning Muggles can grab the app and be Sorted by the Sorting Hat, receive a wand at Olivander's, and then be instructed in the basics of dueling whilst earning points for their House. If this sounds familiar...then, yes, it's because it is similar to previous online offerings from Warner Bros. What makes this app so intriguing, however, is its focus on dueling...specifically, multiplayer duels over both Bluetooth and WiFi.
Yes, that's right; dueling. While the app will allow you to challenge an AI opponent, whipping your friend in a digital duel is undoubtedly better, and I can't wait to test this one out. Fledgling wizards can currently learn up to 14 spells, and the examples given are old favorites: Stupefy!, Expecto Patronum!, Expelliarmus!, and so on. Spells are unleashed with hand gestures and sent between devices. I can't think of a better platform for a handheld duel, especially given the iPhone's accelerometer.
Rounding out the offering are a slew of appreciated extras: Facebook Connect, player stats pages, House rankings, and Hogwarts-wide leaderboards. Warner Bros. is obviously attempting to foster some competitive spirit between friends.
It's worth noting that Harry Potter: Spells isn't targeted at the 99-cent crowd; the app is selling for $4.99. We'll have a review up in a few days with our recommendation, but for now, more information can be found at http://harrypotterspellsapp.com/.