Here’s the thing about the Lego-based game franchise: Its installments look primitive, but they’re stupidly fun to play. There is something unspeakably satisfying about blowing up objects and enemies into clattering chunks of Lego blocks, and that satisfaction carries over to Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 without a hitch. In fact, the game’s acts of creation and destruction cover over many of its flaws.
Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 follows the Boy Who Lived as he lives through his darker years at Hogwarts. A word of warning: true to Lego game tradition, the story is pantomimed during cutscenes. There’s no text, and no dialogue. If you’re not familiar with ‘Order of the Phoenix,’ ‘Half Blood Prince,’ or ‘Deathly Hallows,’ you’re going to get lost, story-wise, and you might even run into problems while trying to solve puzzles that featured in the books and movies.
I’m starting with the elf in the mirror.
On the other hand, it’s not like the puzzles in Harry Potter: Years 5-7 are particularly tough to figure out, which is one of the game’s shortcomings. Getting past enemies and obstacles usually involves destroying something (which is OK), assembling Lego blocks with your wand, or choosing the right character for the job.
Indeed, Harry’s not the only wizard on hand: Dumbledore’s Army backs up him throughout the game, and each selectable character has unique powers and accessories. Sirius, for instance, is an Animagus, so he can dig up objects in sand pits. Ron and Hermione both have pets (Crookshanks and Pigwidgeon, respectively) that can scuttle up into crevices and retrieve necessary items.
Given the game’s laid-back difficulty, Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is an ideal game for younger players, even though there is still lots of fun to be had for older Harry Potter fans, too. As you progress through the game, you collect Lego studs to buy new items and increase your wizardry rank, and you can also backtrack and access new areas as characters with new abilities join your party.
Pretty standard stuff for an iOS action game. Do note, however, that there’s a whole lot of moving around and wand-dueling in this title, and, as usual, controlling your character can be a slippery affair with a virtual d-pad. If you’re already used to playing Lego games on iOS, then no problem. Otherwise, keep in mind that Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is currently available on every game console in the universe, so a traditional control scheme is an option, albeit a more expensive one.
Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is fun, it’s often funny, and it’s not the most intense action game on iOS, but that’s okay. It’s a cute parody of a beloved universe, and it gives you all the fun of playing with Lego without the risk of stepping on a rogue block with your bare feet in the dark of the night.