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POSTED 9/12/12


WONDERBOOK: BOOK OF SPELLS

Sony

PS3/Move

‘Wonder’ can be quite the misused word. Wonder Boy simply ran, jumped and chucked stuff. Then there’s Wonder White. It’s bread. Good old staple diet bread. It’s hardly wondrous.

So, it was with wariness that we approached the space-saving Wonderbook. Promising a book-comes-alive experience (but without interminable guitar solos), it’s a chunktastic blue plastimacated cardboard book filled with alienesque graphical codes that works in tandem with the PlayStation Eye and Move. The key word there is ‘works’, because it does – which you kind of expect when shelling out shekels for a product – unless you’re odd. Just plop it on the floor (or your lap) and go.

The first bit of Wonderbooky fiction is from some chick named JK Rowling. She wrote books-that-must-not-be-named due to licensing, however we can say that Book of Spells is set in Hogwarts, and the player becomes a new student. A house is duly picked (if you’re not intravenously connected to the web-based Potterverse Pottermore) and you’re given a restricted tome featuring incantations (we just didn’t want to type ‘Book of Spells’ again. D’oh!)

Anyway, the book really does come alive – mercifully onscreen, for if it pulled some of this shit for real we’d bolt like Usain. You watch yourself wielding a wand as you learn to say and do all manner of spells within five two-part chapters, interspersed with short stories. Stuff like levitation and illumination is taught, with simple examples like harrying tentacles to perform before end-of-chapter tests.

Mindful that this is kiddie-intended, we cast ourselves back to our seven-year-old mindset (so, last week) and were captivated. We’d say ‘spellbound’ but that’d be too obvious, and Siouxsie might Siou... erm, sue. There may only be around two hours of entertainment, even if you potter, but like an absorbing movie or short novel it has rereading value.

Unlike some purported wonders, Wonderbook isn’t crumby.

take me back to the start...

 



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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2014. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.