iPhone app Harry Potter: Spells not a magical good time for all

Dec 28, 2009
Games

The Harry Potter: Spells iPhone app ($4.99) transforms your iPhone or iPod Touch into a magic wand, capable of casting 14 spells at a friend in close proximity or at a computer opponent. Unfortunately, this iPhone app conjures up only a small amount of entertainment for a limited target audience. If you hare a die-hard Harry Potter […]

The Harry Potter: Spells iPhone app ($4.99) transforms your iPhone or iPod Touch into a magic wand, capable of casting 14 spells at a friend in close proximity or at a computer opponent. Unfortunately, this iPhone app conjures up only a small amount of entertainment for a limited target audience.

If you hare a die-hard Harry Potter fan with an iPhone, $5, two hours to spend learning spells, and with at least one other friend with the same devotion and capability, you are in a good position to enjoy the Harry Potter: Spells iPhone app. If you’re not (like most of us), skip this iPhone app.

The best part of this iPhone app is the ability to duel with your friends – think laser tag for Harry Potter fans. You start out by receiving a wand and being assigned to one of four houses by the Sorting Hat: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin.

Next, you complete lessons to learn the gestures for each of the 14 spells. To cast a spell, you must touch your thumb to your device, complete the specific shape in the air, and release your thumb. The device is sensitive to minute inconsistencies in the motions, and it takes a long time to learn how to hold your device level to the ground while motioning the shape at the correct speed.

Once you’ve completed your training, it’s time to duel. When your opponent casts a spell at you, an icon of that spell flashes in the upper left corner, giving you a split second to cast a defensive spell. A stream of light or fire bursts across your screen, and you can see from the image who got the upper hand.

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This can be a lot of fun when you’re playing against a live person, but when you play against the computer, dueling lacks gratification. You don’t know what you’re dueling or see what your spells do to your opponent. The result of all your effort is a momentary blast of light on your screen. What makes matters worse, the computer opponent can cast spells faster than you can, resulting in combos you cannot deflect.

There is no option to duel with other users online, and the single-player duels are more frustrating than fun. If you are an iPhone or iPod Touch owner with an allegiance to all things Harry Potter and you have friends who will play with you, the Harry Potter: Spells iPhone app might be worth a $1 or $2 to you, but certainly not the $5 the developer is asking. For those of us who don’t fit into that niche, the Harry Potter: Spells iPhone app is more smoke and mirrors than fun and entertaining.

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Christopher Brinckerhoff

Christopher is a freelance reporter in the Chicago area. His work has appeared in multiple publications including Patch, Printing News and, of course, Appolicious. To learn more please visit http://www.christopherbrinckerhoff.info.

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