Today’s Baby Hobbit reports isn’t an app, it’s a game for the Xbox using Kinect. We’re talking about Harry Potter for Kinect.
We got some warnings from folks to read the reviews on this game when we posted on twitter that I was picking this up for Baby Hobbit. ‘
This game is indeed very very simple like some of the reviews on amazon indicate and if it was still listed for it’s full $50 original retail price, my recommendation would be to run from it. We picked it up for around $14 with the expectation of giving it to a 4-year old to play so we are completely ok with it being simple. In fact, that’s kind of perfect for our needs.
Baby Hobbit loves magic ever since Great Wolf Lodge and MagiQuest and we’ve started reading and watching the early Harry Potter stories. She loves Harry Potter so we were pretty excited to try this game out.
I want to point out the wand in the pictures below do not come with the game. That’s her MagiQuest wand and Baby Hobbit felt it was needed for magic spells on the Harry Potter game.
You start out picking a wand very similar to Harry in the stories. You try a series of different wands until you find one that works for you. It’s a typically beginners tutorial to teach you how to grab and interact with the game using the Kinect. Baby Hobbit found it fun and laughed when her mismatched wands caused something to blow up.
We did end up going back and starting over after playing through for a while with Harry. Baby Hobbit declared she didn’t want to be a boy. The game does offer a custom mode where they use the Kinect to take your picture and place it on a model of your choice and so it becomes your trip through Hogwarts (still following Harry’s story). I was happy to see this option as a girl who’s been forced to play as a stupid boy in most games but there’s a serious flaw here in that the portrait taken is pretty much nightmare inducing. I wish I had taken a picture of it to share it but you probably should thank me for not doing that. Part of the problem may be that it was meant for an adult size head as we really had a hard time getting the Kinect to recognize her little face. When it finally did… well the results were not flattering but since you rarely see the character’s face, it’s not so bad. I wouldn’t call it good and when you do see it, it is very cringe worthy.
You get to go through the sorting hat ceremony where Harry is placed in Gryffindor. If playing a custom game, you can suggest to the hat which house you want to be sorting at by shouting at the Kinect. Unfortunately at this part you get to stare at the horrifying custom face.
The years for Harry at Hogwarts is super condensed into like 5 mini-games per school year (or book). This is probably where all the complaints about it being too simple stem from. You aren’t really getting a Hogwarts experience, more of a mini tour of specific points and then off to fight Voldemort! I completely agree that if this game for me and not my child I would be disappointed. For Baby Hobbit though, she actually enjoys the mini games and so far has typically not liked the Voldemort story parts.
You get to attend potions class with Prof. Snape. You mix up a potion by adding ingredients, stirring until a specific color. I had thought that Baby Hobbit didn’t like this but she’s played it over and over trying to get a better score so either she plays like me and has to get it perfect, or she really likes it.
You learn your first spell in charms class making feathers float with Wingardium Leviosa. The game has a couple ways to control spells. You can put your arms in a certain position to select the spell or you can shout out the spell name. Unfortunately the Xbox does not hear her little girl voice and actually has problems even recognizing me most the time. It hears Merric’s big booming daddy voice fairly well though. We tried “helping” by daddy shouting the spell names for her games but it really just made things harder so she does better just following the arm positions (and she still shouts the names which is so cute).
The controls work pretty well. We are not big Kinect users and don’t have a ton of experience trying to use it outside of dancing games. Probably the biggest problem is that the primary player is 4-years old and cannot stand in one spot and the game will pause and ask her to get back into position if she wiggles too far out of the Kinect’s field of vision. We also had some weird movements during charms class with Harry’s elbow bending backwards and such that made Merric and I wonder why it was even an option for Harry’s model. For the most part though she’s doing well with the movement commands.
You get to play quiddich; racing around on a broom and fighting off opposing team members before finally catching the golden snitch. The first time she played this part she was all about beating up the bad guys and not staying on the path to speed toward the snitch. This resulted in a very long game of never finding the snitch. It got to the point that she asked that I step in to finish for her. She paid attention though and played through this again and screamed with delight when she caught the snitch on her own.
Like I mentioned above, she pretty much is not digging the fighting Voldemort part. So far I’ve finished every encounter with him just so she can move on. She was more interested in the year two boss fight than year one but still asked for me to finish it up for her so she could be done.
We actually haven’t move on past year two and the reason is because of the Wizard Dueling. SHE LOVES THIS. You get to fight Draco with two spells: Stupify and Protego. She plays this part over and over shouting the spells out and using the hand motions. This is serious business for Baby Hobbit. She is not goofing around with the Wizard Duel. We unlocked and advanced version as well that lets her use Wingardium Leviosa to float her opponent as well. That one was harder for her with the third spell tossed in but she still loves it.
I completely agree that if this was a game for me, I’d probably have it finished pretty quickly. As a game for a 4-year old Harry Potter fan, this game is the bees knees! I wouldn’t pay full retail for it, like I said we got it for about $14 and I feel its been totally worth it. Baby Hobbit has talked about it enough that Oma (that’s my mom) is going to buy it for her house for the kids to play as well.