Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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When I saw Lego Harry Potter was available for the iPhone and iPad, I was suspicious of it. Not suspicious because of my dislike of the Lego games - I love them - but because of the scale required for such games. I genuinely didn't think that transferring such a massive title to an iOS device would really work. I prepared myself for the worst. Boy, was I wrong.
Lego Harry Potter is terrific. It's the perfect game to encourage naysayers to try, you know the ones, the people who don't believe you when you say that the app store has some absolutely brilliant games on it.
The game follows the plot of the first four Harry Potter films, much like the console iteration. It packs in a lot too. While each story level is a bit shorter than the console version, this fits in with the portable element perfectly. Other than that though, there are still spells to learn through the various spell lessons, free-play is still there and there's over 100 unlockable characters on offer. True Wizard status is still there to achieve whereby you must collect enough studs to 100% the level and there are secret red bricks to collect along the way too.
The control system is quite a departure from the usual iOS way. There's no sign of a virtual d-pad. Instead you control characters by either tapping your finger on the waypoint you want to go to, or by dragging your finger around the screen. You switch characters by tapping on the character and a similar process occurs with most interactions. It feels a little odd at first but I actually preferred it to the more predictable control methods that are available. It doesn't even interfere too much with being able to see the gorgeously charming graphics that are on offer here. Even the cut scenes are just as impressive as on the big screen versions.
Besides wandering around the various levels on offer, there are also numerous simplistic mini games to complete which make for an entertaining distraction. Casting spells is similarly fun as you have to trace shapes such as circles or flames with your finger in order to fling the spell in the right direction. It's fun and an innovative manner of dealing with controls.
Lego Harry Potter is simply stunning. For $4.99 you get a good 15 hours or so of gameplay and it's all excellent fun. While at times it might feel a little easy for experienced gamers (a common issue with the console games), it's still consistently enjoyable. It's worth noting that there are reported compatibility issues for iPhone 3g users and iPad owners have to wait until OS 4.2 comes out, which is a shame as those players will miss out on one of the best games this year.