Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 App Review – The App Store Scarred With Lightning: The Best of Bests!
I was lulled into sweet gameplay just the other day as soon as I opened up Warner Bros highly anticipated game which was ported from many consoles: Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4.
If you’re familiar with the Harry Potter series (I mean, who isn’t?), you know his life is full of the goodness that people like in entertainment. There’s no end to evil, the intense cliffhangers, and everything else that makes an action title what it is. In Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 you get a chance to experience Harry’s first four years at Hogwarts as official as it can be. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Goblet of Fire)
What’s even better is that everything is lego style rather than real which makes it a whole lot more interesting! The game starts off with Harry in his spiteful cousin’s house as you figure out the basics of playing with a short little during-game tutorial. I have to say that I’m lucky I got to play the game after the recent update which added a d-pad as I tried using their initial control scheme and it wasn’t too pretty.
The d-pad is a on-screen joystick which is on the bottom left hand side of the screen. This is used to move Harry around the screen, as moving it moves him accordingly. The other control option is a tap-to-move scheme which, personally, didn’t work too well. You tap somewhere, Harry goes there. It isn’t so bad if you aren’t doing anything but walking, but you must collect the scattered Lego pieces which have made their mark in every Lego game, if you’ve played one before. They’re small, and pretty much required to be collected as they can be used later. However, the d-pad has its own problems. It’s responsive, yes, but many times your finger slides off of it making moving very rough and choppy. I think that the issue is that it’s too small, but can’t completely pinpoint the problem.
The fluid frame rate makes the gaming experience that much better. Because the game is based on the movies and on the books, many of the well known locations are played through which includes Diagon Alley, Hogwarts of course, the Dark Forest, Platform 9 and 3/4, The Burrow and many other places that are seen in the movies. If everything was scratchy, you wouldn’t be able to admire the large, dense environments. Also, lots of time there are cartoon cut-scenes that narrate the story. Everything is shown somehow without vocal aid, but instead of the actions of the characters. Usually, these are pretty funny to watch with some funny things that the characters do.
All of the gameplay is split up into several main missions. These can be extremely simple involving you having to simply fun something and return it to a character, or very complex and involving many small missions that account up to one big one. In these missions, you will often have to use your wand to get past obstacles placed in essential areas. There are different spells that you’ll learn as you progress in classes with all of the teachers that Harry has which will help you get past barriers, or open up a path for you.
Even the main lobby is interactive, with four doors to access the different years. From here you can also see your progress through the game which includes the amount of secrets that you’ve collected, and the characters that you’ve unlocked. There are a whole plethora of different characters that you’ll play with throughout the course of the game, each designed part by part.
There was one major problem that I had with the game and that was the fact that you don’t have the ability to manually save. After each main mission, the game automatically saves which is a good thing, however when you’re in a mission and can’t play anymore there’s no solution; you lose all of your progress. These automatic save points often have long periods of gameplay in between, so when you come back you have to start all over from the beginning of a mission which can get pretty repetitive. What’s worse, is that I had the game crash a few times, and had to restart. Adding a manual save would totally eliminate these problems.
The game also has some puzzle elements mixed into the batch. To perform a select number of spells, and to find the secrets, which include hats, red bricks, and such, there will be puzzles that much be completed. Now, these puzzles aren’t difficult as they often involve simple puzzles where you must piece together an amount of differently shaped Legos to make them fit in a certain area or math select cards. Sometimes you must also use items around you to get past a mission. These puzzles aren’t difficult, true, but they do add some variety along to the aspect of the game that involves you running around, dodging hazards, and casting spells at enemies.
Part of the reason that the game takes so much time to get through is because of the good design of the environments in which you play in. There’s sooo much detail everywhere that you look whether it’s great particle artwork, realistically placed shadows, collecting the hundreds of arrays of little Lego pieces, or seeking out all of the hidden secrets which are cleverly placed and challenging to locate. It took me over 3 hours to beat the first year, and I only found almost none of the secret items compared to the overall amount of them. So I’m guessing that the game has a solid over 20 hours of gameplay from absolute start to finish as it has the first four years of Harry’s ever so action-packed years at Hogwarts.
There are the occasional battles between the hazards of the castle, and of course the main ones featured in books. There is the troll battle, the battle with Aragog, the Basilisc, and of course with Volde -…..the one who should not be named. Along with that, there is the periodic Quidditch matches, which are very fun as riding on your brookstick is somewhat like racing!
The presentation in the game just barks out, “Look at me, I’m beautiful” every time that I open up the game. Never before have I seen such a game. Everything is knife-sharp, polished, bright, and every other word you can use to describe amazing artwork. It really doesn’t get any better considering you can see every alcove in the castle, every single shadow, and pretty much every much dent in every object: that’s how clear everything is. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the screenshot are watch some gameplay footage – just something to see the game.
All of the music used in the game can easily be recognized. You’ll hear the main song along with all of the other ones that make the game so chilling yet hooking. I’d say that the music in itself would be a contender for a reason to buy the game as it sounds absolutely wonderful whether you have a new device or not.
I know I, along with other players of the games on the app store have desperately been looking for some sort of free-roam game. Well, we’ve sort of gotten one as Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 lets you go back to environments that you’ve already completed and allows you to drift along on your own. In fact, I think this is how most of the secrets are supposed to be collected as much of time, the ones I could spot were confined behind something that I couldn’t move with the spells I knew at that point in time.
Even if you’re not a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, there’s not a reason that you should pass on the chance of getting Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4. It’s worth buying solely based on its adventure game-like qualities, full interactive environments, and extremely fun core gameplay along with its lego themed artwork that instantly categorizes it as a classic. Everyone, if you’re reading this, go buy this wonder among wondrous ports. I have never had so much fun or been so sucked into a game, so I have to say that $4.99 is a generous price tag for such a deep game.
To tell the truth, the iDevice gaming world didn’t get much notice before the game’s release. There was some news, and a few days later it appeared over in New Zealand and later than night the US. It truly seems that the game was secretly developed over a few years time, because of the evident effort put into it. For the time being, I don’t think you can find a better game on the app store, and because it stars a hit character, it is even better.