What is Lego Harry Potter: Years 1 - 4?
Based on the first four Harry Potter films/books, Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 follows the adventures of Harry Potter along with his friends Ron Weasely and Hermione Grainger, during their first four years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (and subsequent encounters with the dark wizard Voldemort). Much like the other Lego-y film adaptations, Lego Harry Potter takes the well-known world of The Boy Who Lived and plasticises it, adding in puzzles and collectibles galore, all wrapped up in the kid-friendly, cute slapstick humour we've come to know and love.
How do you play Lego Harry Potter: Years 1 - 4?
Levels generally involve smashing up the scenery, often rebuilding the constituent bricks into something more useful to solve a puzzle - such as building a rain cloud to water a tree, assembling a giant gramophone to send a rather angry three-headed dog to sleep or piecing together all manner of unusual vehicles. With the option for two-player co-operative, you'll also need to work together with a friend to solve problems and complete the levels, often having to raise or lower a platform while the other player gets on, operating buttons and switches simultaneously and the like. There's also scores of characters from the Harry Potter universe to play as, most of which have their one unique abilities - whether it's Hagrid's strength, Hermionie's book smarts or Griphook the Gringott's goblin's key that can open any locked box - you'll quickly learn to recognise which character they need to tackle a certain obstacle, or reach a certain area.
How easy is Lego Harry Potter: Years 1 - 4 to pick up and play?
Generally pretty easy-going, with unlimited lives and no such thing as a game over, Lego Harry Potter: Years 1 - 4 is a light-hearted adventure in the much-loved wizarding world. Plenty of prompts help those who aren't sure what to do next, and with all the story sections told through a series of points, grunts and slapstick comedy, there's not really anything in the way of reading to stand in a youngster's way. About the only potential hiccup is knowing which character to use in which situation, although the game will give you an audible 'bonk' followed by a flashing picture of the correct character, should you attempt to use the wrong one.
There's very little that could be classed as questionable in LEGO Harry Potter. Although you can zap animals with spells, all that happens is a yowl sound effect, and the animal flying backwards a bit. There's no gore, and any violence, or even slightly scary aspect is negated by the fact it's all LEGO - even Dementors don't look so scary when they're made out of plastic. People break apart into pieces with a plasticy clunk if you beat them, but if you catch someone with a spell around Hogwarts, they'll often fire back to give you a taste of your own medicine!