Harry Potter Kinect is the latest game to grace consoles, although this time finding an exclusive home on Xbox 360 with Kinect. As the title suggests, the game thrusts players into the shoes of Harry Potter as he works his way through his years at Hogwarts. What this essentially means is players are treated to some rather on rails action moments taken from the movies and cut up into 30 odd mini game activities for players to duck jump and wave their arms through.
Probably the biggest gripe for older gamers is the simplistic and restrictive nature of the game. There’s no clever free roaming around hogwarts and it seems most of the game’s atmosphere has been stripped. Players are treated to tiny movie segments or still images to set the scene, then jump into the action. Sadly, the repertoire of moves is very limited and shows off some really basic design. Younger players will no doubt find solace here, although some sections do drag on a little such as potting plants which might seem fun in the movie, is certainly a bit more of a chore here.
The game does attempt to bring the Harry Potter Universe into the home in the most interactive of ways, and in some instances the game’s tactile nature works well. However, there’s really no proper engagement to be had here and perhaps goes against the necessity of paying full price for the game no matter how much of a fan you might be.
Players can indulge in extra unlockable lessons, replay events to improve scores and unlock achievements, or better yet, jump on a broomstick and air punch and kick each other in Quidditch. There’s a lot of familirity brought into the game, which is reasonably presented, but still looks quite basic and somewhat low budget compared to other games.
In terms of Kinect performance, the game’s simplicity works in its favour, allowing for easy tracking of arms and legs to the point of an almost flawless experience. But this is the trade off and in courting ease of play over substance which leaves a game that’s really quite shallow and perhaps relying on the Harry Potter name more than anything.
Harry Potter Kinect should be great for younger players who won’t struggle with the fairly active side stepping, jumping, leaning and waving of arms. What’s on offer is not the longest of games to complete, but does provide some good clean interactive fun for its intended audience. Yes, there are better, more fleshed out Harry Potter games out there, but there’s also some charm in having a game based soley around Kinect.
5/10 – Review by Robert Cram