Developer SCE London
Release Date Out Now
The Wonderbook: Book of Spells is the first in what should be a series of Wonderbooks and as the first it could not have a bigger license attached to it with JK Rowling’s Harry Potter. It is a perfect fit as it makes use of the PS Move to mimic a magic wand. The game works with the PS Eye camera, PS Move and the wonderbook itself to create an interactive experience both on and off the screen.
The book itself is a robust book built to be kid proof, A4 in size and made up of a number of pages each bearing a weird pattern. It is this pattern that the game reads and creates 3D items on screen for the player to interact with. Making use of this augmented reality the game can produce anything from moving creatures to pop up puppet theater. Your kids will be able to see themselves on screen surrounded by whatever the game magic’s up.
The idea behind these games is to create kid friendly stories that mix a love for video games with a love for books. This is a good idea that is let down by the hardware in a similar way to other Augmented reality games like Eye Pet, yet again it is the camera that is the most disappointing part of the whole experience. The camera is very poor in low lighting and the picture quality in a modern era is awful. For large portions you not only struggle with calibration but also just to see yourself on screen.
That said the game can only work with the hardware it has and it does tell a lovely story in a quirky kind of way. The player will learn around 20 news spells using your wand and voice commands. The thing is it actually works, the Move is still the only Motion controller out there that consistently works so playing the game is a lot of fun. Each chapter will see you learn your spells and take part in much bigger set pieces.
It has a lovely art style and voice over throughout that brings the story to life, when you first see creatures or fire or even start to turn that puppet theatre in a 360 degree motion and it moves with you your begin to understand the amount of possibilities that are open to Wonderbook.
Overall : Much of the game and spells were lost on me as I just never got into Harry Potter but despite being an apparent Potter novice I still found that game to be a lot of fun. The technology works a lot better than you would expect, if they had a better camera it would make a huge difference but at this late stage of the consoles cycle new add-ons is not high on Sony’s list of thing to do.
Fans of Potter will love this, those who are luke warm to him will still get a blast from the Augmented reality.
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