The moment you dig in, choose a wand and see the bobble-headed controller transformed into an enchanted wooden sprig, right there in your hand, you'll feel like you're onto something. This goes doubly for kids, as my daughter's squeals "look Daddy, it's changed into a wand!" proved. However, Potter fans will, I'm sure, be disheartened to discover that young Harry doesn't feature in the Book. Instead they'll have to make do with choosing to play for his house, Gryffindor. For the five or six Potterites on the planet that don't want to side with Harry's house, there's also Slitherine, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. Now, open the book to start your learnings into the art of spells!
It's during these sections that the book does literally come alive - miniature plays are acted out by paper cut-out characters on a pop-up stage. Encouraged to take part at points, you can choose between one of two options by "pulling" out tabs on either side of the stage.
In terms of interacting with a story, it's a feeble effort. But at first you can forgive it for this, as the way in which you can play with the Wonderbook and see the book on-screen follow its every move is utterly bewitching. In fact, you're urged to handle the book to see more of this spectacle, often prompted to tilt it to peer into chasms that have sunk through the pages, or after spraying water from the wand, to lift the book to shake it dry.
In fact, it hears any outburst and accepts it - whether you mumble "Aguamenti", blurt "Sausages" or bark "Woof!". It totally takes the shine off the conjuring. The wand gestures, on the other hand, are recognised much more effectively. Pin-point accuracy isn't required, which is perfect given that for many it may be the first time with the Move controller (and they probably haven't waved a Wii controller in many months). A rough J shape will have you levitating with next to no fuss, and a wave shape will, appropriately, activate the water spraying spell.
So what use are these spells? After learning how to conjure, you're given some toys to play with; levitate a jar of eyeballs and set it down without breaking it. Fill a bowl with water, search for items in a dark room by using the light spell.
A more demanding challenge awaits at the conclusion of each chapter, where you must recall the necessary spells and charms appropriate to overcome obstacles or counter a hex or a jinx. These take place in scenes painted around the player and their book, depicting locations from the Pottermore world - a musty old library, the herbology greenhouse, a ruined castle - giving greater freedom to flex your magical muscles.
+ Adds depth to the Potter world
+ Spectacular augmented reality
+ Great use of Move as a controller
- Repetitive "game play"
- A bit heavy on the "show & tell"
- Feeble interaction
SPOnG Score: 6/10
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Closing date:19 Jun 2013