What is Lego Harry Potter Years 5 - 7?
Following the stories of the final three books/four films, Lego Harry Potter Years 5 - 7 is a charmingly light-hearted platforming romp through the key aspects of each school year, which sees you and a friend solving simple puzzles, and exploring to find as many collectibles as possible, as you try to save the world from the tyranny of a rather Lego-y You Know Who. Taking in everything from a snowy stroll around Hogsmeade to the creepiness of the Forbidden Forest after nightfall, and of course, plenty of familiar Hogwarts locales, Lego Harry Potter Years 5 - 7 lets you join Harry, Ron and Hermione (amongst others) on their wizarding adventures once more.
How do you play Lego Harry Potter Years 5 - 7?
In a similar vein to pretty much every Lego game that's gone before, Lego Harry Potter Years 5 - 7 blends simple combat, destructive environments and basic puzzle solving to create a winning adventure for all ages. As you play through each of the game's levels, you'll hit a road block that requires a bit more thought to proceed - perhaps you'll need to complete a series of jumps to reach a switch and unlock a door, or perhaps you'll need to rebuild a pile of bricks into something different; a giant ice cream perhaps, to distract some angry wasps. Each character has their own unique set of abilities and spells to draw on, and combining these - such as Hermione's code-cracking book smarts, Goblin banker Griphook's skeleton key or Harry Potter's snake-talking Parseltongue ability - is often the key to progressing.
How easy is Lego Harry Potter Years 5 - 7 to pick up and play?
In general, the Lego Harry Potter series is perhaps a bit more complex than some of the previous Lego games, as characters have more abilities this time round if you include the spells. Whereas before the best Batman-suit for the job was never too far away and Indiana Jones just had to press B to whip-swing over a gap, the characters in Harry Potter have a dozen or so different spells to scroll through as well as abilities. Add in that not all characters have all spells, and things may take a bit longer to get the hang of at first - it's by no means a major deal, but possibly worth considering for the younger end of the scale.
There's no reams of text to read or complex language to understand - all the storytelling is done through animated cut-scenes full of pointing, shrugging and slapstick humour, so even the youngest players should get the gist, even if they've never heard the story before. The only vaguely essential text is the tutorial-like hints that appear at the bottom of the screen from time to time, but as the game is pretty intuitive and button prompts pop up on the screen for most of the things you have to do, children should get along fine even if they can't read.
LEGO Harry Potter Years 5 - 7 is a slapstick adventure that's suitably light on any sort of mature content. With nothing in the way of bad language or sex, perhaps the only thing to mention here is the very, very mild violence, which sees your characters firing magic spells at, or otherwise punching/kicking various other LEGO characters, who flash when they're hit, before breaking into their constituent parts when defeated.
As the Harry Potter series goes on, there is a definite transition towards a darker tone and more deaths along the way - and while Lego Harry Potter Years 5 - 7 doesn't avoid them, it does give them a sillier, more light-hearted tone. For example
[SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T READ THE BOOKS/SEEN THE FILMS]Dumbledore's death involves him diving off the roof of Hogwarts, landing in the ground below, before splitting into two, with legs comically waggling to and fro; while Dobby gets buried under a sandcastle at the beach, complete with sock flag.[/SPOILERS]If your child hasn't followed the stories of the books, they may not even realise the characters are dead.