The magic of J. K. Rowling comes home exclusively to your Playstation 3, but this time you won't be waving your hands or relying on your controller to get you through. Wonderbook: Book of Spells is available for your PS3 now, and brings home the magical Hogwarts Academy world inspired by the Harry Potter stories to your living room like you've never seen before.
Based on the spell books of Miranda Goshawk, a former student at Hogwarts, Book of Spells is a fully interactive experience, using a book-like peripheral in conjunction with the Playstation's Move Hardware, and Playstation Toy camera. J. K. Rowling was a secret pre-announcement consultant through the development process and putting together of the Book of Spells, and once told a UK outlet that Spells was "The closest a muggle can get to a Spellbook." Spend a few minutes with it, and you will agree.
The Playstation Move controller is your wand, helping you lift lessons and spells off the pages of your interactive storybook, while directing you to interact with characters on-screen. Along the way, the Playstation Eye camera tracks and critiques your movements onscreen, all while the game tells you the stories of Hogwarts students that have been through the same experiences that you are going through right now.
While the game doesn't follow the antics of Harry, Hermione, Ron and their fellow wizards, it is still an experience that many have been craving. One of the most entrancing elements of the Harry Potter books and movies was that nothing was quite as it should be. Everything was alive, everything had a personality and the idea of judging a book by its cover (no pun intended) was a thing of the past. This is less a video game, and more of an experience through a system of mini-games and simple puzzles. Targeting younger crowds, the game uses the principles of Augmented Reality. The book laid out in front of you looks a bit like something out of the movie Tron, however, comes to life on your TV screen in colorful, lavish HD. Characters and spells onscreen leap from the pages of your book while your Move controller, when picked up by the Eye, turns into a magic wand for you to continue interacting with.
Still, the game is rated for All Ages, and is very simple to get into. Younger audiences will love the fun element of holding a storybook while casting spells taught to them throughout the Harry Potter books. Longtime Potter fans will enjoy the interactive aspect while getting into a brand new, exclusive Hogwarts experience directly from the author herself. They will also be happy to see that Book of Spells is directly connected with Pottermore, the new online venture between Rowling and Sony, and is a step toward growing that brand, for which you may see more in the future.
The Book of Spells contains, what Sony says is approximately 8-10 hours of unique gameplay. However, there is a lot of replay value in the game, and little Wizards are encouraged to go back and fight dragons again, and re-live chapters to score higher and get more Hogwarts points. For everybody that ever wanted to be a wizard as a child, this is the type of storybook you would see in movies or in cartoons as kids and wish you had something just like it. Now, you can share that feeling with a new generation of little ones (or well, yourself) by bringing Wonderbook home.
Unlike other games with peripherals, the cost of the Wonderbook and Book and Spells doesn't mean that the game will cost you two or three times the price of a regular game (like, say, the DJ Hero series once did,) and Spells won't be the only game for it. Sony's intent is to make this a fully interactive all-ages source of fun for your Playstation 3, and are already hard at work trying to get the likes of Disney onboard for 2013. The Wonderbook itself is being touted as "One Book: One Thousand Stories" and this chapter of its lore is available for you to bring home today, or just in time for the Holidays.
Check out Wonderbook: The Book of Spells available now at your local Best Buy, or online at BestBuy.ca.