Harry Potter for Kinect
By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Relive this epic tale by putting your own face in the game.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about healthy movement and friendship building in this very active Kinect game. Players find themselves in a nearly constant state of movement through most of the mini-games, which tend to encourage kids to use their entire bodies as they move about the play space. Kids will also have a chance to work on their socialization skills while playing quick multiplayer games both with and against their friends. Harry Potter for Kinect is a game about reliving the Potter experience, but it also helps keep kids engaged in an active lifestyle.
Players new to the Harry Potter universe will get a clear sense that the game is about good versus evil, even if they don't always understand what's going on. They'll see young wizards being brave and coming to their friends' help. The game also promotes physical activity, getting kids up off the couch to do lots of jumping, ducking, dodging, and flailing.
Positive Role Models
The kids are, as always, courageous, loyal, and moral. However, the narrative's disjointed structure and focus on action sequences means we don't really get to see them discussing the reasons for their decisions. Harry, Hermione, and Ron are, in this particular Harry Potter production, shallow characters.
Ease of Play
Diagrammatic instructions are provided during loading screens and again during mini-games each time players need switch to a new activity. The mini-games are quite easy to start and slowly grow in difficulty with each passing year the player spends at Hogwarts. The final year has one game that will test players' physical endurance. Two difficulty settings means players looking for a little extra or a little less challenge can adjust the experience to their preference.
Violence & Scariness
Mini-games have kids casting magical spells at enemies ranging from evil human wizards to a giant troll. Victims may be incapacitated, disappear in a puff of smoke, or burn away. One human dies on screen, others are left permanently addled. There are also scenes in which the player slashes at a monster and a snake with a sword, and another where battling Quidditch players punch each other while flying. Several scary scenes involve creatures like dementors, vicious fantastic creatures, and aquatic monsters lunging at the camera.
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Products & Purchases
This game is part of the Harry Potter franchise, and has countless related products ranging from books and movies to toys and other games.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Harry Potter for Kinect is a collection of mini-games that requires Microsoft's motion- and sound-sensing peripheral. The second half has quite a bit of violence, mostly in the form of magic spell battles, as well as some pretty spooky scenes with dementors, evil wizards, and fantasy creatures (the game does its best to emulate the dark and dramatic visuals and atmosphere of the films). Parents should also note that this is a fairly active game that frequently prompts players to leap about and swing their arms.
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Harry Potter for Kinect
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What’s It About?
HARRY POTTER FOR KINECT is a collection of quick and simple mini-games based on more than 25 of the most memorable moments from the films. This highly cinematic game leads players through all seven movies in chronological order, depicting three to five action-packed scenes from each one in little activities that generally take no longer than three or four minutes to complete (assuming you don't fail). Players will dodge the branches of the Whomping Willow, block incoming balls in a Quidditch match, run through a hedge maze en route to grabbing the Triwizard Cup, and go up against Voldemort in fevered magical battles. Once the story mode ends, players can explore a series of bonus games in the Extra Classes menu, where they can mix more potions, cast more spells, engage in more duels, and play together with friends in a handful of multiplayer mini-games.
Is It Any Good?
The Harry Potter books will take most readers more than 100 hours to read. The movies last close to 20 hours. This game fits the entire story into somewhere between two and seven hours, depending on the player. Think of it as the Cliff Notes version of this epic saga, with most of the really good bits of dialogue edited out in favor of focusing on more action-packed moments. It's safe to say newcomers to the franchise (as rare as they may be) may be a lost.
But that's not to say what's here isn't entertaining. Fans will find fun shouting out the names of their favorite spells, gardening mandrake roots, protecting Dumbledore from the Inferi in the Horcrux cave, and playing different positions in Quidditch matches. The activities get a little repetitive after a while -- there are a few too many simple variations on dodging and spell-casting games -- but the intuitive motion controls remain solid throughout and the settings change. Perhaps best of all, you can create an avatar with your own face to make it appear as though you're the one attending Hogwarts -- a dream come true for any Harry Potter super fan.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the depiction of kids in fiction. What are some of the best and worst role models you've encountered? Where do the Harry Potter kids fit on that scale?
Families can also discuss how to keep active outside of games. What kind of physical activities interest you most? How do you feel after engaging in an intense sport or active play?
- Platform: Xbox 360
- Subjects: Hobbies: sports
- Skills: Communication: friendship building, Health & Fitness: fitness, movement
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Warner Bros. Games
- Release date: October 9, 2012
- Genre: Mini-games
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Animated Blood, Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: August 26, 2016
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