If it feels like everyone around you is not only playing the Kim Kardashian game, but also can’t stop talking about how they are playing the Kim Kardashian game, that’s because they are and they can’t. With one analyst projecting that the Glu Mobile game could make $200 million this year and the app sitting pretty at #1 on the App Store’s Top Free charts (#5 on the Top Grossing charts), we're on a trajectory toward Candy Crush status here, people. (You know what I'm talking about, Environmental Protection Agency.) And while it’d be easy to moan and complain about the state of humanity on this one — I’ve clocked quite a few hours (okay, days) playing this thing, and it’s pretty fun! In fact, it’s a really well-made game that even a Kardashian hater might love. And I’m prepared to make my case for it, so strap on your Louboutins. (They’ll cost you 5 K Stars.) Here's why Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is a legitimately good game.
Because it’s a funny and well-written parody.
This is by far the most baffling thing about KKH. The game is very funny! And not just in a “ha-ha, look at me, I’m so crazy and stupid for playing this Kim Kardashian game” way. It plays off the absurdity of Kim’s entire career (she’s famous for “nothing”!), yes, but also the general absurdity of Hollywood and conceived vapidness of celebrity. You can see it in the people you meet to “flirt” or “network” with: “I’m a dental hygienist,” one of them tells you, the status letter next to his name a big fat D. After you gain access to cooler clubs, you meet C-listers who introduce themselves with: “Lovely to meet you. My name is Nevaeh. While I spend my days as a wealthy socialite, my heart yearns to break free. Your acquaintance is a ray of warm sunshine on a dull day of tedium.” Sure. If you happen to be a fan of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, you'll recognize the shout-outs, but even if you're not, it's still very funny. Take this this offhand remark from a salesperson at the So Chic Boutique:
Because it's already a meme.
If you chat with KKH fans, there are few things that will always come up: There’s Willow Pape, your Paris Hilton look-alike rival; your manager Simon Orsik, who is just full of dad jokes; a Miami nightclub hilariously called "Lif"; the game's frequent outages, and the hysteria that follows. Just like a TV show so popular that it crosses over into popular culture (see: Lost or Breaking Bad), if you're playing KKH at the peak of its popularity (a.k.a. right now), there's no question you'll find thing things to celebrate (new hairdos!) or commiserate (running out of energy during a photo shoot).
mom: you're always in your room, go out and get some fresh air me: what are you talking about I was in Miami five minutes ago— Kardashian Logic (@kimklogic) July 17, 2014
It's time! Time for your photo shoot! It starts in 8 hours.— Simon Orsik (@hi_its_simon) July 18, 2014
Because it lets you interact with your actual friends in hilarious ways.
The Game Center aspect of the game is pretty buggy, so be wary, but within the KKH universe, you should be able to see (and hang out with!) your IRL friends. That means you can tease them about their D-list status, take them out on dates, buy them expensive fedoras and crop-tops and send them screenshots of you doing so. Maybe this immediately doesn't sound so fun, but with the lack of multiplayer games in the App Store, KKH goes above and beyond the bottom line of creating an engaging game.
Because it's accepting of all looks and sexualities.
A small detail, sure, but something that really stood out to me about KKH was after Kim K herself first tries to set you up with her friend and accuses you of not being "into him" (or her, if you choose to be a man), she basically asks you if you're gay. And after that: You can date whomever you choose. The only person you can't date? Kim. (She's married!)
Because it never directly demands that you pay for it.
This is a big one. I hear people complaining about having spent "hundreds" of dollars on in-app purchases — on either energy (so that they can completely photo shoots faster) or game money (so that they can buy cute outfits). Sure, you're impatient and want to make your way up the social ladder: I get it. But nowhere in the actual game does it ask directly for money to continue playing. If you are patient (fame takes time, people!), you can play the entire game without paying a dime. Clearly, Kim K and the people behind the game had to find a way to monetize things — and they're being rewarded by those of us without self-control. But unlike other games that will sometimes demand a small fee to advance to a new stage, Kim K will never directly charge you money. (At least, not real money.)
But there are still some issues. Here are some continuing KKH mysteries, which I will now list off without context:
- Why can’t I play this on the subway? Or on an airplane?
- Why does it make me turn my phone sideways (so I can’t hide the fact that I’m playing it?)
- Why do I have to tap endlessly to pick money up off of the floor?
- Why are there energy bolts hidden in the fire hydrants? (And behind pigeons?)
- Why does it cost more money to get to Calabasas from downtown L.A. than it does to get to Miami?
See, you're already curious.