My favorite thing about the Harry Potter
series is Quidditch, so for a few weeks now I'd been eyeing the Harry Potter Quidditch World Cup
game. Laurie, who is way more of a Potter fan than I am, received an On The Spot award at work and with the attendant gift certificate bought herself a copy. Since we mistakenly had the idea that it could be played head-to-head over a network, I bought myself a copy as well. (It has a two-player mode, sort of, but it requires you to both play huddled around a single keyboard -- yuck. I suspect it's designed with platforms in mind.)
I played a little of it on Sunday night and a little more last night after getting scripts done for the next couple of weeks. So far, the game is very wonky -- controls act in bizarre ways, there's lots of weird and unnatural button combinations, and so forth -- but for all that, it's actually quite a bit of fun. What impresses me most about it, really, is that the actual gameplay does a very good job of capturing the Quidditch feel. The gameplay is fast and furious, but emphasizes teamwork -- passing the quaffle from player to player is a necessity, beaters are instrumental in both attack and defense, and so forth.
The basic thrust of gameplay is that at any given time, you control either the chaser who has the quaffle (if your team has possession) or who's trying to get the quaffle back. However, you can launch a bludger attack (taking over the role of beater temporarily), and after a certain amount of time the game goes into Snitch Chase mode, at which point you become the seeker. You can unlock special moves (that require weird button-mashing action to pull off), team combos, and other cool bits, and there's lots of neat little things going on all the time to make the game interesting.
All in all, it seems a cool game -- my only real complaints are the wonkiness of the interfaces/controls, and the lameness of the multiplayer mode. Head-to-head network Quidditch would rule utterly and totally.
-The Gneech, Gryffindor Chaser