The LEGO series of video games for the PC and consoles spans numerous movie franchise’s including Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones and obviously Harry Potter – each bringing a unique sense of humor to a variety of gaming platforms.
Apple’s iOS platform is no different thanks to the arrival of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, a colourful, block-building adventure, re-telling the story of the first 4 blockbuster movies.
As you can imagine, all key events from ‘Philosophers Stone’, ‘Chamber of Secrets’, ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’, and ‘Goblet of Fire’ are present and playable, spread over an impressive 40+ levels. Each level is packed with LEGO studs of varying color – collecting a set amount awarding you ‘true wizard’ status – a number of golden wizard hats, and special hidden red bricks. The latter unlocking various LEGO models that can be viewed from the Room of Requirement.
It’s not possible to find all of these during your first play-through, as unique skills, characters, and spells from later portions of the game are often required. Over 100 characters from each of the 4 movies are present, the majority of which are unlocked via collection of the golden wizard hats. Unfortunately, most are merely skins and only a handful have the unique skills required for progression.
Levels are of a substantial size considering the device you’re playing on. Each is well designed and looks gorgeous thanks to the games full use of the iPhone’s Retina display. Two control methods are available – the classic virtual on-screen analog stick and a tap-to-move system – but neither is perfect and their fiddly nature can often be the cause for frustration.
Further problems arise from the casting of spells, specifically the act of drawing the corresponding symbol with your finger – a task that becomes both repetitive and monotonous over time, especially during levels which require a high number of castings.
Finally, although originally present, Game Center was subsequently removed via an ‘update’ due to a number of issues it was causing. It will presumably make a reappearance sometime in the future.
Despite minor issues with controls, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 is a well rounded, excellently produced title that lives up to the standard set by its predecessors. With over 20 hours of gameplay it will appeal to Potter, LEGO, and platform fans alike.