If you were going to create a game based on a celebrity, what would it be like? A one-on-one fighter called Charlie Sheen’s Tiger Blood in which twelve Charlie Sheens beat seven bells out of one another might work. So too would some kind of Pac-Man clone in which [redacted for legal reasons] lives out one of her usual pill-fuelled rampages. But what you probably wouldn’t suggest would be a Kim Kardashian game. Of course you don’t actually play as TV’s favourite “What does she do again?” star – but Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is the latest fad in social gaming nonetheless.
Social, of course, is a loose term. KK:H’s gameplay is entirely single player and the social interaction seems to be limited to sharing gifts etc. with other players. This is the model adopted by other successful micropayment farms like The Sims: Freeplay, and it’s actually rather less intrusive here than the game’s premise might imply.
Not that there’s much depth to it, mind. All the action consists of travelling between locations and being given a generous time limit in which to press appropriate buttons to earn points. Of course, each action requires some of your finite energy reserves and that’s where the micropayments come in.
The game’s actually relatively well-designed visually and there’s a charming level of colour to all the locations, even if they are populated by the most awful, vain, overly fashion-conscious people imaginable. Animations are relatively smooth and there’s a good variety of outfits to buy (often with real money, natch) although despite this fact there’s a curious tendency for characters to all look the same.
The game’s voiced over by Kim Kardashian herself at points although it’s glaringly obviously that she had very little to do with the game. Most of her character’s dialogue is unvoiced and she only seems to provide one or two lines per in-game event. It seems weird that she could be brought in to record those lines but couldn’t stick around an extra few minutes to record the rest.
As a social game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is a basically functional screen-tapper which should entertain for a few days before you move on to the next thing. As a piece of marketing, it’s pure genius, managing to capture the attention of millions of people who couldn’t quite believe that such a thing existed and just had to see it. Five stars to the marketing department, and a hearty meh to the rest of it.
Addendum: It’s just come to my attention that this review is being published on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities in the First World War. Maybe on this occasion it would be better to play something sober and worth remembering, rather than Kim Kardashian. If you’d like a recommendation, might I suggest Valiant Hearts?