Last month Sony launched Book of Spells, a Harry Potter augmented reality game that takes advantage of the PlayStation Move and new ‘Wonderbook’ peripheral. The game, which is intended for children, uses the Wonderbook as a tracking marker for the PlayStation Eye camera. The PlayStation Move is used as a wand. Together the peripherals appear to create a quite compelling augmented reality game world. But is it any fun?
Book of Spells is one of the most immersive commercial augmented reality games that I’ve seen. This is in part thanks to the power of the PS3 and the apparent quality tracking of the Move and Wonderbook combo. I’m happy to see Sony trying combine entertainment with augmented reality instead of just interactive marketing as so many other boring AR concepts have done.
Wonderbook: Book of Spells Augmented Reality Game Review
Game Trailers has a great review of Book of Spells. While they have no complaints about the responsiveness of the experience (which is great to hear), it seems that Book of Spells is significantly lacking in the gameplay department:
Game Trailers’ Rating of Book of Spells (out of 10)
- Story: 5.0
- Design: 3.0
- Gameplay: 4.0
- Presentation: 6.0
- Overall: 4.5
It’s a shame that Sony was unable to turn Book of Spells into a decent gaming experience. The visuals and tracking look excellent even if the gameplay doesn’t deliver. The demographic is definitely a consideration, but any great gaming experience should be appreciable at any age.
The Wonderbook (which comes with the game for $45) can be used with future games and stories. I’m hoping that Sony will fund another stab at and augmented reality game because it looks like it could be very fun if done right!
This is a pretty cool use for augmented reality but I feel like the experience would be far better with a head mounted display It’s odd to look at the screen and see see stuff floating around that doesn’t exist in the real world but does in your TV. A head mounted display tracked by the Eye could create a first-person wizard perspective. You could even see yourself wielding a virtual wand which would be far more immersive in first person than in third person as with Book of Spells.