Like its console-based counterparts, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for the PC is a kid-oriented action adventure game based on the recently released movie of the same name. Apart from that, this PC version is generally unlike the game you'll find on the PS2 or Xbox, because Prisoner of Azkaban on the PC is an entirely separate game created by a different development team, rather than a simple port of the console version. The game is exceptionally easy and surprisingly brief, but while it lasts, it's a fun romp for its target audience through Prisoner of Azkaban's twisty storyline.
Harry's steps are dogged by escaped wizard convict Sirius Black in Prisoner of Azkaban.
Harry's third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is beset by Sirius Black, the murderous wizard who is said to have betrayed Harry's parents to their deaths at the hands of the evil Lord Voldemort. Having recently escaped from the wizard prison Azkaban, Black is hot on young Harry's trail and presumably looking to finish the job he started more than a decade earlier. Of course, there's a lot more to the story than that, as anyone who has read the book or seen the movie can attest, although the game glosses over most of the major plot details in favor of playable sequences that aren't in the original storyline. The game feels like a companion piece to the book or film, as if you're expected to have gone through one or the other prior to playing the game--and presumably, just about anybody who's going to play this game already has.
The gameplay here is a straightforward point-and-click affair. You'll control Harry, Ron, or Hermione (as the game dictates) through a series of dungeonlike action levels with equally light combat and puzzle-solving elements. The controls really couldn't be simpler: You move around with the standard WASD configuration, jump with the right mouse button, and cast spells with the left mouse button. Spellcasting is context-sensitive, so you merely point your wand at an object, and the game will figure out which spell you need to cast. This design is charming in its simplicity, as you can run around zapping enemies, pushing blocks, and magically flinging yourself across chasms without ever so much as fiddling with a menu. It takes most of the guesswork out of figuring out the proper course of action in a given situation, which is largely what makes the game so easy.
In the action levels, which are few, you'll usually control only one of the three friends as they try to complete a linear dungeon filled with easy puzzles and the occasional monster. Harry gets to use the glacius spell to freeze water and slide down it in a sort of pseudo-race sequence; Ron can use his carpe retractum spell to pull blocks around and also grapple across large gaps; and Hermione can use lapifors and draconifors to take temporary control of a rabbit and a dragon, respectively, for the purpose of puzzle-solving. Sometimes you'll engage in combat or encounter a puzzle outside these dungeons when your friends are close by, and they'll help you fight it out or cast combo spells automatically in these instances.