Kim Kardashian is about to take you under her wing and make you a celebrity. Soon you and the reality star will be BFFs. At least, that is the premise of the free-to-play mobile game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.
The game starts off by creating a name for your would-be celebrity avatar. You are finishing off a shift as a shop assistant in a clothing store, and you have to close the shop. Just as you are locking up, Kim Kardashian appears with some sort of crises, and you can choose to help her with an outfit.
After Kim Kardashian, whose real voice features in the game, hooks you up with a manager, you soon have an endless string of minor gigs and photoshoots to attend in your quest to rise from an E-list celebrity to an A-list celebrity. The game is similar to The Sims, but instead of working your way up the employment ladder you are playing for fame.
Your resources in the game are money, energy and K-stars. In order to accumulate money and stars you need to perform various tasks at the assignments your manager, Simon, lines up for you. This requires no skill but instead relies on your energy amounts which allow you to tap a bar. Your performance is rated in a five-star rating bar, and is subject to a time constraint.
You also have to make contacts and go on dates. Relationships are important for increasing your celebrity status. Going on dates requires more energy and more tapping of bars to perform actions. Your performance is rated in a five hearts bar.
Soon your limitations when playing the game for free becomes apparent as your energy levels are quickly depleted, and only regenerate at a rate of one unit every five minutes. You can trade the K-stars for additional energy, or pay the monthly VIP subscription to the game.
K-stars can be obtained by either purchasing them with genuine currency, by watching a 30-second advertisement clip (mostly about other mobile games) or by signing up or purchasing various other mobile software. You can also buy game money with real money.
This strict restraint on energy to perform tasks in the game can be frustrating. Unless you are willing to pay with real money, you are likely to end up spending more time watching advertisements than actually playing the game. The free-to-play version is also plagued with pop-up advertisements every few minutes.
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, which is mostly targeted at teenage girls, was developed by Glu Mobile, and was released on Android and iOS on 27 June 2014. “It was a concerted effort by me to do five or six deals that could reuse engines but could add popular appeal,” said chief executive of Glu Mobile Niccolo de Masi.
The game can be annoyingly addictive, as it is played in real time. As Nadia Oxford wrote in her review for GameZebo, “the character dialogue is often hilarious, and there are scenarios that are, frankly, intriguing.”
With a rating of 57 on Metacritic and 56.25% on GameRankings, the game received mixed reviews. “I struggled morally with the type of message this game is sending to its players and the example it was setting. Everything revolves around your image,” said Alex (Noodles) in her review for Calm Down Tom.
“If you’re a fan of Kim Kardashian, Hollywood, or any kind of tap-a-thon game, feel free to check it out. If not, you’ll find no real joy here,” concluded Matthew Figueira in his review for Critical Hit.
Apparently, the game gathered enough paying players to land Kim Kardashian on the cover of Forbes business magazine under the headline “the new mobile moguls.” According to the magazine, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood has been downloaded 45 million times and generated $160 million in revenue by July 2016 – of which Kim Kardashian made $45 million.
“I became really intrigued with the tech world. I started spending a lot of time in San Francisco,” Kim Kardashian told the magazine. “I realized this is really going to be the next cycle of my career and this is what I want to focus on.”
The New York Times called the game “an unlikely mobile video game hit.” According to the article in the paper, the success of the game is directly related to Kim Kardashian’s following on Instagram and Twitter – what The New York Times calls “the network effect.”
Whether you love or loathe the Kardashians there is no denying that they have the Midas touch. Whenever they put their name on a product it becomes gold. This surely stands in testament to their real-life fan base and celebrity status…whatever it is that they are famous for.