Game Title: LEGO Harry Potter Collection
Company: TT Games, Warner Bros Interactive
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail | Digital Download
Battery Life: 2.45 – 4 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 12.1 GB
LEGO games are something I love, but also something I’ve been a bit behind on. Due to various reasons, I haven’t been able to financially cover many LEGO games recently, particularly the newer ones like DC Villains, Incredibles, and others. A lack of PR contact between me and TT Fusion could be to blame here, but I’ll just bring it down to financial situations with me and other games out at the time.
Getting back into the LEGO scene wasn’t hard, though, as all of the games seem to go on sale pretty often. I got a big LEGO collection awhile back that I’ve been slowly working on between other review games and I’m finally ready.
A port of a previous collection of some pretty early LEGO videogames, here is my review of LEGO Harry Potter Collection for the Nintendo Switch!
The story of the LEGO HP Collection is simple: It follows the same plot as the 8 Harry Potter movies. You start with Sorcerer’s Stone and go all the way through Deathly Hallows, but split into two parts as this is more based around the movies than the books, themselves. Be it Harry’s first class at Hogwarts or the Triwizard Tournament, all of the major scenes from those 8 movies are showcased here as levels.
That being said, these are two of the earlier LEGO titles, which was before they incorporated voice-acting into the games. SInce there is no voice-acting and there are very rough comedic representations of story scenes, it’s pretty recommended for you to have seen the movies or read the books before playing this game. The game doesn’t really go too far out of the way to explain any of the story bits to you. It’s more for fans to see comedic parody scenes of the story they already know.
LEGO Harry Potter Collection is a set of 2 puzzle-action games with platforming and combat elements thrown into the mix. Throughout every level of both games, you’ll be navigating 3D areas and using spells to solve puzzles to open up new areas and fight against bosses. It’s the same formula these LEGO games has used since LEGO Star Wars.
As a collection, this piece of software contains 2 separate games: LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 and LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7. You get a launcher where you can go into one game or the other. As such, Free Play characters from 1-4 can’t be used in 5-7. Despite being one peice of software, they’re still 2 separate games.
The nice thing is that this marks the first time we have the full LEGO Harry Potter Console experience on the go. The PSP got the LEGO Harry Potter games, but that was when TT Fusion was still making handheld games separate. 5-7 on PSP was all isometric with levels missing, but on Switch, it’s just like it is on PlayStation/Xbox in regards to the hub world, camera angles, and everything. This is the full experience on handhelds.
Progression in the game is fairly simplistic. You’ve got a Hub World that you wander around with constant areas that lead you towards the next story level as well as a bunch of optional areas in the Hub where you can use skills to unlock new characters to use in Free Play. This is similar to previous LEGO games, but the hub isn’t really “Open World” like the more recent games. It definitely is a large hub, but is more of a room-to-room thing rather than a sandbox.
When you get into levels, the game really starts to feel like a puzzle game. Rather than being mostly combat like recent games, LEGO HP is more of a puzzler. Every level has several objects that require you to use learned spells on to create objects and open up paths towards the next area. There are enemies in some areas for you to fight off, but I’d say about 80% of the levels are puzzles like assembling blocks with Leviosa or destroying objects with Reducto.
The biggest problem with this is the lack of direction. When you’re in the hub, you do have ghosts that lead you towards the next Story Level, but in levels, there’s no real indication of what you do first. You just have to roam around and see what you can or can’t interact with. This is something not too hard to adjust to, but it’s easy to get lost in interactions meant for Free Play before you actually find what you’re -suppsoed- to do, rather than what you’re not or can’t do yet.
This, unfortunately, is still in Years 5-7 but is a bit easier. Instead of having to manually switch spells to interact with different objects, you will automatically change when you try to interact with each piece. It’s still a bit confusing on what you can or can’t do, but it is a bit of an improvement.
In terms of content, there is a ton of unlockable stuff. Each game has dozens of characters, but there is a bit of a problem here. There are tons of characters in the Harry Potter universe, but most of the characters are just reskins of other characters. As much as I adore character like Luna, James, and Harry, I don’t need a copy of them for every character they’ve ever worn. To state an example, there are almost 40 different characters for Harry across both games.
In terms of length, there’s a lot here. Outside of doing Free Play to unlock everything, each movie should take you around 3-5 hours a piece, leaving both games at a total of around 40 hours to complete.
Controlling this game is pretty easy to do. Moving around is done with the D-Pad or the Left Analog Stick, while the Right Analog Stick is used to move the camera around. The L and R buttons are used to cycle between spells to use while the ZL and ZR buttons are used to swap characters during Free Play.
Then we have the face buttons. You use B to jump and A to fire off spells. Y is used to lock-on with spells and X to swap between current party members.
Graphically, the game doesn’t look terrible, but it depends on which game you’re playing. Visuals are pretty smooth in Years 1-4, but Years 5-7 has a significant blurring effect, especially in handheld mode.
Performance is also different. Frame-rate is nice and steady when you’re playing Years 1-4, but there is a lot of slowdown in a lot of the levels in Years 5-7. Once again, this is more apparent in handheld mode, but it’s also there in Docked Mode. It’s pretty clear that 5-7 isn’t optimized for the Switch nearly as well as Years 1-4.
This game is about the same as the other LEGO games, at least the ones I’ve played. Here are my Battery TImes, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 49 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 58 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 36 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 50 minutes
Like with the others, you’ll get between 3 and 4 hours out of this collection, which isn’t bad at all.
In conclusion, the LEGO Harry Potter Collection is a fun way of having console-level LEGO HP on the go. On the downside, the game is a bit dated with its lack of direction and far too many reskins in its character roster. But past this and a few technical hiccups, handheld Potter Fans should definitely check this out as there’s a lot of content to enjoy.
Final Score: 7/10