Posts Tagged: Wonderbook

Sep 13

15 Top Autumn Family Gaming Highlights

Family Gaming Tips

Family Gaming Tips

With the children back at school and the weather turning autumnal the thoughts of families turn to inside pleasures. Not least of these are the great video-games we can play together as the nights draw in.

Here are my tips for family games just out that you shouldn’t miss this season.

Skylanders Swap Force The third iteration of the collectable toy figure game offers a new gimmick — mix and match characters. This refreshes the toy-line as well as the gameplay but will face still competition from Disney Infinity this year.

Beyblade Evolution 3DS The spinning top playground craze makes the jump to Nintendo’s 3D handheld in some style. Every battle is simulated in Beyblade Evolution and will match real world outcomes as players customise their spinning tops and use motions controls and augmented reality to play the game.

Lego Marvel Superheroes The next in the Lego games that offer a platforming and puzzle challenge. For co-operative two player fun go for the console version, or play on the move on 3DS or Vita. No Wii version this time round, does this mark a decline in support for Nintendo’s ground breaking hardware?

The Wonderful 101 An original title made exclusively for the Wii U that uses the tablet controller to command an army of super heroes. This PEGI 12 game offers the exuberance and thrills of older rated titles but in a more age appropriate package. It offers hours of fun for all the family in its five player multiplayer mode.

Minecraft Xbox, Xbox One Quite possible the most popular game of the moment for families. Here in Xbox form it not only offers value for money but an easy way to get started in the world of exploration and block building. With new updates coming thick and fast, this is a great way to game together as a family.

Knack PS4 A family launch title for Sony’s new PlayStation 4 hardware. Gaining visual and gameplay advantages from the extra horsepower Knack creates a loveable platform challenge that all the family will warm to.

Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DS The evolving world of Animal Crossing changes with the passing seasons in the real world because it is tied to the 3DS system clock. On 3DS the game not only gains a 3D look and feel but many more features and ways to play it. Families can share the same island, each with a different character, and work together to keep their neighbours happy and craft a perfect life.

Disney Infinity This offers not only another take on the toy-meets-video-game play that Skylanders popularised but also a chance to make your own games in the Toybox. Go for the next generation versions on 360/PS3/Wii U for all the features, while Wii and 3DS offer scaled down experiences.

Zelda Wind Waker HD A rerelease of a classic Zelda adventure on the Wii U. This cartoon style game has a tonne of depth and playability for families. Solve puzzles together and take turns to work through the different dungeons as you control young Link on his quest to save princess Zelda.

Super Mario 3D World Wii U This takes the 3DS Mario game and paints it large on the Wii U. Not only multiplayer but also a variety of new abilities and outfits await the famous plumber and his friends this season. The challenge is considerable and will keep you and the family entertained for many hours.

Forza 5 Xbox One The classic driving experience updated to not only keep dads and sons happy but the whole family. A whole host of driving aids in this version means that anyone can pick-up and play, whilst experts will still find the usual challenge they expect. On Xbox One it looks and feels (with the new controller) even better than ever.

Mario Kart 8 Wii U The same classic Mario racing game comes back with a twist. Anti-grav karts let you race on the wall and the ceiling. New characters and new vehicles also keep the competition fresh. Along with new visuals and controls on the Wii U this is an ideal way to get the family racing together this autumn.

Angry Birds Star Wars II iPad This may sounds like another derivative update for Angry Birds but actually this introduces new Telepod characters. Like Skylanders this uses the toys to unlock characters and content in the iPad game. Moving into the collectable toy-game market may make financial sense for Angry Birds, but we need to see how convincing this is in terms of gameplay when the game is released later this month.

WonderBook Book of Potions This follow up to Book of Spells is again written by J K Rowling no less and offers more interactive witch and wizard adventure. On PlayStation 3 you use the physical book peripheral to navigate and interact with the game. What starts as a simple story book experience soon has you concocting various potions and spells.

WonderBook Walking With Dinosaurs This uses the Wonderbook physical peripheral to enable players to excavate and piece together their own dinosaurs. Not only can you complete the various puzzles to find all the bones, but then watch them come to life on the page.

Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) is a freelance Family Gaming expert for the BBC and produces Family Gamer TV.

Jan 13

Just Magic: ‘Wonderbook: Book of Spells’ is a total page turner

I loved my pop up book when I was a kid – and would turn the pages until it was nearly falling to pieces. Things have certainly moved on a lot since then.

The Wonderbook takes the idea of a pop up book to the next level. It looks and feels like a regular book, but once it’s put in front of the PS3 Eye camera it’s completely transformed, with content bursting from each previously blank page.


Book of Spells
is the first release in a series of games that will use the new book peripheral, and this one is specially for fans of the Harry Potter series. The premise is that it’s a spellbook found in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry 100 years before Harry joins as a member of Gryffindor.

It’s been developed with the collaboration of JK Rowling, author of the boy wizard series, and features a good bit of new content written by her especially for the game.


Players get the chance to learn and practice spells that Harry and co will be eventually using in their quest against the evil Lord Voldemort. These include skills such as shrinking, growing, and levitating – you might find yourself dropping the jar of eyeballs just to see them scatter all over the place. To do this, you make use of your movement sensitive Move control, which becomes a magic wand.

Although this is aimed at the seven-12 age bracket, mum and dad will love playing along. The novelty of actually seeing yourself in the game takes a long time to wear off – and little ones never seem to tire of waving to themselves in the TV screen. Be warned though, adult gamers may have to sit on their hands to stop themselves snatching the Move off younger players and showing them how to do it properly.


Although this is essentially a one player game, it feels like the whole family can get in on the action – one person doing the spell, another turning the pages of the book – which looks so real on screen you can hardly believe it – and others shouting encouragement (or criticism!)

For Harry Potter fans – and even those who aren’t massively into the series of books and films – this is a great buy, scoring top marks for originality, look and the interactive factor. It’s a good investment too, as Sony have promised a steady stream of Wonderbook games, with ones already in development including BBC Walking with Dinosaurs, Diggs Nightcrawlers and some Disney titles. Story time will never be the same again.

Dec 12

Essential video games for festive family fun this Christmas

There’s still time for some last minute Christmas shopping – and there should definitely be some room in Santa’s sack for at least one fun computer game. Mum and dad can join in too – and it sure beats a game of charades on December 25 after the presents have been opened and the turkey’s been polished off. But which one to choose? Andy Robertson, family gaming expert, lends a helping hand with his top ten family games of the season.

Nintento Land

Nintendo Land Wii U

Nintendo’s new console may seem similar to the original Wii, but Nintendo Land’s set of games is a case in point of how the new Game-pad controller makes a big difference. Playing with five people at the same time lets everyone get in on the fun. Whether playing hide and seek with Mario Chase, shooting aliens in Metroid Blast or hunting ghosts in Luigi’s Mansion this offers a substantial amount of family fun.

Wonderbook: Book of Spells

Wonderbook for PS3

What better way to spend Christmas than in the world of Harry Potter? Wonderbook: Book of Spells not only has new writing from J K Rowling but also creates a whole new way to play video games. Put the blank pages of its big blue book in front of the PS3 camera and they spring to life with all sorts of interactive creatures and pop-up elements. More games for the Wonderbook peripheral will also be out in the New Year.

Skylanders Giants

Skylanders Giants PS3, 360, Wii, Wii U, 3DS

This toy collecting craze, that also has videogame functions, is top of many children’s Christmas list for good reason. Skylanders Giants uses the toys to access special characters and levels in the video-game and saves progress back to the figure itself with no wires or buttons. You can even take your figure to a friend’s house and use it in their game no matter which console they have.

Clockwork Racers

Clockwork Racers iPad, iPhone

This simple racing game starts with players winding up their vehicles on the iPod Touch or iPhone touch screen before using them to race each other around a variety of courses displayed on a central iPad (or big screen via AppleTV). The novel play style and simple controls makes it great for gamers of any age, and there are plenty of levels to download to keep them entertained for hours.

Kinect Sesame Street TV

Kinect Sesame Street TV 360

This is the first of a new series of games for the 360’s hands-free Kinect controller that is aimed at pre-school players. The game uses a TV show style format with Sesame Street characters and then includes optional interactions. Because it continues even if the player gets things wrong this is well suited for the often overlooked younger gamers. More episodes will also be available to download in the New Year.

Paper Mario Sticker Stars

Paper Mario Sticker Stars 3DS

This is a Mario game with a difference — it’s a role play adventure rather than a platform game. This means things are slower paced and the story is much stronger –meaning it depends on much more than reaction times and button pressing. Paper Mario on 3DS is more a strategic and features a novel sticker-collection challenge, and it’s even better if played on the 3DS XL’s larger screens as the whole family can join in and suggest the best way forward.

Need for Speed Most Wanted

Need for Speed Most Wanted PS Vita, PS3, 360, PC

Racing games used to be about going round and round the same small track. Need for Speed Most Wanted changes all this with an open world to explore. This not only means that families can play the game at their own pace but can also plan their route from the start to the finish line. Most impressive is the Vita version that squeezes the full game onto Sony’s new handheld.

Mutant Mudds

Mutant Mudds 3DS eShop

This will have mum and dad reminiscing about the video-games of their youth while the kids enjoy the 3D platforming action. Mutant Mudds is an old school platform game with an innovative layered world that players navigate by jumping back and forth. Music and visuals are a nod to games from the Spectrum and Commodore era while at the same time looking bang up to date.

The Unfinished Swan

The Unfinished Swan PS3

This is a beautifully narrated modern-day fairytale on the PlayStation 3. Players navigate a black and white fantasy world by throwing paint to reveal the path ahead. This simple interaction leads them into a story about a little boy looking for his mother and the painting she hadn’t finished painting. The result is an emotional tale about the challenge of growing up — enjoyable and educational at the same time.

AppMates Cars 2 iPad

This driving game is controlled by placing a real plastic car on the iPad screen to explore the digital world of Pixar’s Cars films. The car is not only designed to ensure it doesn’t mark the screen but also offers a natural way for children to play. This tactile and engaging experience includes nice touches like car headlights on the screen in-front of the toy, day and night modes and new maps to download. It’s ideal for families with younger racers or Pixar fans.

Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) produces Family Gamer TV and the Family Gaming blog. He is also editor of the Ask About Games site for Ukie.

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