A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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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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 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?
- Platforms: Xbox 360
- Subjects: Hobbies: sports
- Skills: Communication: friendship building
Health & Fitness: fitness, movement
- Price: $49.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: 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
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