LEGO Harry Potter then, is the sixth stud collectathon in the series. It may be based on the Harry Potter films this time instead of Star Wars, Batman or Indiana Jones, but despite the magical makeover, the gameplay is very much the same as it has been for the past six years. Of course, this isn't a bad thing. The LEGO games are often praised for their ease of use, great drop-in and drop-out co-op and sense of humour and this latest edition in no different.
Take Harry, for example. One of his spells is the ability to use Wingardium Leviosa, which lets him levitate nearby objects. This works in almost exactly the same way as the Force in LEGO Star Wars.
These are mechanics that have already been proven to work. When you fire magic to blow up objects and levitate others it's as satisfying as it ever has been. New abilities that have been added to the game are more hit-and-miss. For example, Wingardium Leviosa also allows you at times to actually control the object you're levitating, rather than just holding a button and making it follow a set route. These usually take the form of building puzzles where you have to connect LEGO blocks Tetris-style to form a staircase or what have you. Great idea in theory, but one that's let down by fiddly controls.
Hogwarts is also an intimidating place at first - the level is so vast and the levels so randomly scattered that you'll be spending a lot of your first few hours with the game wandering through numerous corridors, following the ghostly LEGO studs left behind by Nearly Headless Nick as you plod on to the next stage.
LEGO Harry Potter does get a lot more enjoyable as the game progresses. Thankfully, after the first awkward chapter, things eventually get less overwhelming and you start to feel more in control over where you're going.
Graphically the game's also superb and the animations are crammed with character. Once you get your head around the sheer number of things to do, you also get more out of the game. There are a staggering 170 characters and a couple of odd-looking LEGO bonus stages to play, though these were a bit buggy when we played them.
If you or your young sprog are Harry Potter fans and this is your first LEGO game, it's an essential purchase. The LEGO gameplay is still great fun for those experiencing it for the first time and the familiarity of the Potter characters and environments will make this one of the best family-friendly Wii games you'll play.
If, however, you've already fought your way through Dagobah, Tattooine, Gotham City and the Temple Of Doom, heading to Hogwarts won't feel too different.
This is an edited version of a review that will appear in the August issue of Official Nintendo Magazine. For more screenshots, in-depth analysis and boxouts buy the mag when it's in the shops.