After its overstaying welcome at E3 this year, many people have simply written off the Wonderbook but even without a lot of flare from the publishers, it’s here with its first book entitled “Book of Spells”. The interactive book is written by none other than J.K. Rowling who created the world of Hogwarts and Harry Potter. Does this first interactive book solidify the existence of this new peripheral or is this one book that should stay on the shelf?
Reservations were everywhere when setting up the Wonderbook and Book of Spells? How many times will I have to recalibrate? How many times will the book stop being recognised and I’ll have to wait for the game to catch back up. How can they keep someone invested and interested in, what is essentially is an interactive book? After playing through Book of Spells though, I really didn’t need to have those concerns as everything works as it is intended to.
The game begins with a step by step introduction as to how The Wonderbook should be set up. After that the game begins. Book of Spells is set within the Harry Potter universe where this book teaches you a bunch of spells that you know of from the books and movies. You start by selecting your house at Hogwarts between Gryiffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. It means nothing but just preferences. After you turn the cover of the book.
A nice little touch is that when you turn the page, instead of the game recognising it and it popping in, the system instantly recognises it and as soon as the page s lying down, the book on the screen begins to bleed in details, first the images and then the colour. It’s truly impressive to see the transitioning be so smooth and instantaneous.
The game is spread across multiple chapters where each chapter introduces you to learn a few new spells, and then test out what you’ve learned. In between each spell, you may be told a story that pops up out of the book and has the J.K. Rowling humour all over it. You may be tested along the way to make sure you were paying attention. Of course all of these stories are optional, as well as extra notes found on the pages.
The Wonderbook isn’t for everybody and Book of Spells further reduces the target audience but for those who fit the demographic fill fall instantly in love with the stories, charm, and impressive technology.
It must be mentioned just how well everything comes together. The PlayStation Move being used as the wand is incredibly accurate but there is a slight aim assistance to help the younger audience. That’s, after all, the audience The Book of Spells is aiming for.
The whole book itself won’t take terribly long, a couple of hours at most, and there is little incentive to return to it once you’re finished but the time spent with it is surprisingly good and for fans, feel completely magical. Those who don’t like Harry Potter may have their enjoyment diminished but it’s fun nonetheless.
There’s no doubt that The Book of Spells and The Wonderbook is the game for children this Christmas. The whole family can enjoy watching this game while the young children really fall for the interactive story being told.
The Book of Spells is not for hardcore gamers so there’s no need for complaints. Sony have made a peripheral and game that works perfectly well and has all the makings of beginning a very promising product in The Wonderbook.
I couldn’t help but wonder about the possibilities that The Wonderbook possesses. Imagine a book where you try to solve criminal cases that’s aimed at adults that enjoy all those cop dramas. How about a book that teaches you about nature and have animals pop out, and to be perfectly honest, the list can keep going. The Wonderbook could bring so much entertainment and education to people of all ages if Sony put the time and effort it has hoped to.
Was I expecting much going in to review The Wonderbook and its first game The Book of Spells? No. Was I pleasantly surprised? Yes. Despite not being a fan of Harry Potter, I appreciated how much time and care has been put into it to please fans as well as teach this new things about the world that J.K. Rowling has created.