One of the more convoluted examples of media convergence, LEGO Creator: Harry Potter is a computer game based on a toy that's based on a movie that's based on a novel. As you might imagine, the result is unfocused, offering little of the enjoyment that could be found by playing with real LEGOs, reading the Harry Potter books, or watching the movie.
The concept behind LEGO Creator is solid: Take the piece-by-piece building of the physical toys and transfer it to the digital world, where the user is not limited by space or the number of LEGO bricks in their collection. Unfortunately, the flawed interface puts a wall between the user and their creativity. For a game aimed at a younger audience, the menus and screen layout are presented in a surprisingly non-intuitive manner, a fact reinforced by the necessity for a manual that's nearly 50 pages long. Parents would definitely need to help their children come to grips with the game, if they can figure it out themselves, that is.
It's not that the underlying concepts of the game are complicated; it just takes such an effort to achieve even the simplest of tasks that it's not worth the trouble. The controls and interface are so sluggish that it's not uncommon to have to click and double-click an item several times to achieve the desired result. To make matters worse, the visuals are choppy and slow, even on a system that has no problem achieving high frame rates with more graphically intensive games like Return to Castle Wolfenstein. And this isn't just a matter of aesthetics -- the visuals are slow enough that they further interfere with the gameplay.
To its credit, LEGO Creator: Harry Potter does offer a number of different activities and options. You can create your own LEGO figures, build constructs out of a large selection of individual pieces, and arrange preexisting objects in Harry Potter-themed environments. Individual bricks can also be rotated and colored for maximum customization. Unfortunately, it's just simply not fun to do any of these things. The challenges, which consist of mini-games like finding a missing pet rat or connecting a train track, add little of interest to the game, as they're either too simple or overly tedious to accomplish.
Apart from a feature that allows you to walk around inside your 3D creations from a first or third-person viewpoint, LEGO Creator: Harry Potter offers nothing that couldn't be better accomplished by playing with real LEGOs. The combination of Harry Potter and LEGOs might seem too tempting to pass up, but it's recommended that you do just that.
Graphics: Even on a fast system, the visuals exhibit a sluggish frame rate that hinders enjoyment of the LEGO/Harry Potter world.
Sound: The soundtrack contains forgettable tunes and the voice of a rather annoying wizard who attempts to guide you.
Enjoyment: Despite a promising concept, LEGO Creator: Harry Potter just isn't fun in execution.
Replay Value: If you have the patience, there is a lot to do in LEGO Creator: Harry Potter.
People who downloaded LEGO Creator: Harry Potter have also downloaded:
LEGO Creator: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (a.k.a. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone), LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Lego Island 2: The Brickster's Revenge, LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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