The Spellbinding Awesomeness of Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4

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Casting spells in Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4

Movie tie-in video games are notoriously awful. I’ve played some of the Harry Potter games, and you’d think that using the Wii remote like a magic wand would be great fun, but they always fell short of hooking me in. Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 changed all that. Being a Harry Potter nerd and a fan of Lego, I’m going to lay some superlatives on you: This game is my favorite Harry Potter video game (duh), my favorite of the Lego video game franchise (big talk considering previous titles include Star Wars, Batman, and Indiana Jones), and is now one of my favorite Wii games of all time (only Mario sits above it on my list).

Hogwarts, in beautiful Lego detail

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, like the Lego games that came before it, follows the basic plot of its source material, peppering it with fun puzzles and great Lego detail. First off, Lego Hogwarts looks amazing. This being a Warner Bros. title, it looks like the Hogwarts of the movies. You also get to explore places like the Forbidden Forrest and the Weasley House! (I experienced a ridiculous amount of joy de-gnoming the Lego Weasley garden.)

Then there’s the characters. You can play as a bunch of the different main characters, and part of solving the puzzles is figuring out which character to use. Harry is the best on the broomstick while Hermione is hilariously bad, Ron can unleash Scabbers into small places, Hagrid has strength that the other characters don’t… you get the picture.

Harry explores the Lego Weasley house

A good part of the game is learning spells by finding Lego bricks to put into a cauldron. Once learned, you can use spells like Wingardium Leviosa, Lumos, Immobulus, Expelliarmus, and Riddikulus. To get everything you need, you might need to put together a Lego staircase, handle Lego mandrakes, or even use the Invisibility Cloak to get past Mrs. Norris. Pure Harry Potter joy.

What really separates Lego Harry Potter from the other Harry Potter games, though, is its sense of humor. Sure, the characters are preparing to do battle against the Dark Lord, but it really doesn’t need to be so serious? The characters don’t talk for what I’m sure was a long, long list of development reasons, but the outcome of this choice is minifig characters retelling four books of Harry Potter in short, funny scenes. The Lego game doesn’t get hung up on being totally faithful to the books, focusing on great gameplay instead.

Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 would be great for the youngest readers of the books as well as adult fans looking for some fun. I played it on Wii, but you name it and you can probably play this game on it: Nintendo DS, PS3, PSP, XBox, Windows, and a little owl told me that it’s coming to iOS, meaning soon I can play it on my iPad or iPhone.

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14 thoughts on “The Spellbinding Awesomeness of Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4

  1. I love Harry Potter and thought the game was a pretty good adaptation, but Wii owners should be warned that the Wii version has some fairly serious bugs in it.

    The game suddenly freezes at certain spots, the basilisk may not break one of the boulders during its boss fight, the basement of doom can trap you forever, and there’s one yellow brick (in the clocktower I think) that sometimes won’t show up at all which prevents players from ever unlocking Voldemort (that is, unless they want to run the entire game again – unfortunately for me, that was my last yellow brick).

    I think there were a few more little glitches, but those are the more serious ones that came to mind that had my game grind to a disappointing halt.

  2. I love Harry Potter and thought the game was a pretty good adaptation, but Wii owners should be warned that the Wii version has some fairly serious bugs in it.

    The game suddenly freezes at certain spots, the basilisk may not break one of the boulders during its boss fight, the basement of doom can trap you forever, and there’s one yellow brick (in the clocktower I think) that sometimes won’t show up at all which prevents players from ever unlocking Voldemort (that is, unless they want to run the entire game again – unfortunately for me, that was my last yellow brick).

    I think there were a few more little glitches, but those are the more serious ones that came to mind that had my game grind to a disappointing halt.

  3. When we first got this when it was released, my son spent 6 hrs of a day mastering the game. My 7yr old son! We love it. It`s fun and so full of stuff to do and places to explore!

    It`s definitely a game that is easy enough for younger kids to play but will still be totally fascinating for mama gamers. 🙂

  4. When we first got this when it was released, my son spent 6 hrs of a day mastering the game. My 7yr old son! We love it. It`s fun and so full of stuff to do and places to explore!

    It`s definitely a game that is easy enough for younger kids to play but will still be totally fascinating for mama gamers. 🙂

  5. I absolutely agree. I loved playing Lego Star Wars with my kid, though Lego IJ not so much. I had great hopes for Harry Potter because I love it so much, and I was not disappointed! We bought it in July and worked through the story all summer. Great fun. Even simply running around and exploring the castle was a great adventure! I think it was the first game I’d played where I wanted to actively find all the extra stuff.

  6. I absolutely agree. I loved playing Lego Star Wars with my kid, though Lego IJ not so much. I had great hopes for Harry Potter because I love it so much, and I was not disappointed! We bought it in July and worked through the story all summer. Great fun. Even simply running around and exploring the castle was a great adventure! I think it was the first game I’d played where I wanted to actively find all the extra stuff.

  7. My son really wanted this game but hadn’t read the books. Being the manipulative parents we are, we made him read the first book before we’d buy him the game. He read it, we bought the game, he kept reading and playing 🙂 Win-Win!

  8. My son really wanted this game but hadn’t read the books. Being the manipulative parents we are, we made him read the first book before we’d buy him the game. He read it, we bought the game, he kept reading and playing 🙂 Win-Win!

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