Harry Potter has been the prince of wizardry for so long now that he must be way past collecting his diploma from Hogwarts. In fact, he’s probably chained to a desk right now, hopefully metaphorically, doing some form of magical paperwork in one of the Ministry of Magic’s offices. Even magical work is still work.
Thankfully, fiction lets us forget the realities of responsibility and the more trudge-like bits of daily life. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry’s still at Hogwarts, facing up to bullies and honing his wand-waving technique. As ever, there’s menace around every corner though, although we’re not going to spoil the story here for those waiting to see the film that haven’t read the book.
Indeed, this mobile game follows the plot line of the film, splitting the story into seven different chapters. Like any Harry Potter saga, at first it dwells on the domestic, seeing you running around Hogwarts’ halls running errands, which generally devolve into fetching item X for person A, so they’ll give you item Y that person B wants. You view the world from above, and if you stop moving for a second, footprints will appear showing you where you need to head next.
It’s all interspersed with magic though. You can cast spells on lots of objects, and not only just when you need to either. The oft-chanted Wingardium Leviosa is the most amusing, which lets you lift items into the air and move them about as you like. As a family friendly game, you can’t exactly cause much unintended chaos with your wand, but the ability to cause a mess with your magic is welcome.
That’s not to say that there’s not combat involved. Although fighting plays a small role in Harry Potter and the Half Blood-Prince, it is there, and works pretty well too. A war of the wands, you have to try and dodge your enemy’s, or even enemies’, attacks while trying to get a few of your own in too, by holding 5. It’s simple, but never simmers down into a sludgy button mash, so we’re happy.
Outside the moments of drama like this, the game can seem a tad mundane, as you walk from one end of Hogwarts to the end for the tenth time, but there are several factors that make you forgive Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince almost entirely. Firstly, each chapter is littered with optional mini-game challenges.
Ranging from games of snap to more action-infused ones where you have to objects by throwing balls, not entirely unlike bowling, these are offered up by fellow students milling around the Hogwarts grounds. Although they don’t affect the main part of the game, they’re great for a quick diversion.
Even more important than these mini-games is the fact that Harry Potter and the Half Blood-Prince is so convincingly Potter-esque that fans can’t help but be charmed. The characters are here, with their respective likenesses intact, and the moodier look of Hogwarts environment suits the tone of the later Potter films down to the ground. In short, this is a faithful and entertaining game of the film that fans will love.
However, if you don’t already know the story, you might want to wait until after you’ve seen the film before giving it a download, unless you’re a fan of small screen spoiler moments.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince info
Publisher: EA Mobile
Website/Demo: EA Mobile’s website