Hollywood U: Rising Star (iOS Store)
A mysterious benefactor offers you enough for Hollywood University, the most prestigious college for anyone who wants to make a living in show business. Will you attend as a movie star, fashionista or a director?
Even though Pixelberry abandoned this game for Choices, you can still download it on your smart phone or handheld device. This game does have a story attached to it, such as finding out whom the mysterious benefactor is paying your way through Hollywood University. You also have your own enemies to deal with in the form of Bianca and her father. The MC and Bianca have a rivalry similar to Jem and Pizzazz from the 80s cartoon show. However, there are two differences. For instance, Bianca knows how to turn everyone against the MC and make herself look like the innocent victim. This is something Pizzazz could never pull off. The other difference is that the MC doesn’t get everything handed to her as Jem did. He or she has to struggle through various obstacles in order to succeed. Let me tell you, it gets rather tough. I can’t recall how many times I’ve empathized with the MC and actually felt frustrated or upset with what he or she goes through.
The game does not shy away from certain issues found in Hollywood. For instance, one of the characters, Addison, used to be a movie star until she had an affair with a director. The director in question lied to her about leaving his wife and, when the affair became public knowledge, he lied by claiming that Addison seduced him. However, if you ask me, even if his version turned out to be true, he’s still at fault. These incidents happen in Hollywood with one example being Kristen Stewart’s casting as the title character in Snow White and the Huntsman. The news reports revealed that the reason the director cast her is because of an affair. Many people slut shame her though, since I don’t know the whole story, I won’t pass judgment. I do know that it cost Kristen Stewart her job while they still kept the director. Some people call a double standard but, personally, I believe that it’s because Kristen Stewart was more expendable. I’m sure you can find many other stories of such instances all throughout Hollywood but, more often than not, people blame the woman and it ruins her career.
Another instance from real life the game drew inspiration from is Miley Cyrus in order to create the character of Lisa Valentine. She is a former teen pop star who played the main character in a children’s show called Lisa Mermaid. Now that Lisa’s all grown up, she goes out of her way to remind everyone of this, something her mother and manager disapproves. While most works would portray Lisa’s mother as the sympathetic one and Lisa as the evil slut, this game does not fall victim to such thinking. Instead, Lisa is the one in the right and the game implies that, if she wants to be a party girl, that’s her choice. No one has any right to judge her for it. As I said, the game drew inspiration from Miley Cyrus for this after her Hannah Montana days were far behind her. Except I always suspected that her father encouraged her to act crazy in order to stay in the spotlight. Now that Miley Cyrus is voicing one of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, I don’t think she needs to act crazy anymore. I am not kidding; she voiced the robot in the credits teaser showing the original Guardians.
The game play is that of a typical smart phone game, with you assigning characters to task. It can take up to 24 hours to finish tasks, so you’re free to clean house, do homework and take care of anything else while you wait. I call it the video game version of the Crockpot. You can also throw parties to attract certain character types and go on dates. You can hook up various characters in Couples Corner and send the MC on dates in the Amour. You can also purchase buildings and collect money.
Oh, and those character types you collect from partying each come with their own side quests. The game comes with many extras, such as A-Listers and side quests, but you have to pay in diamonds, which costs real money to purchase. Let me tell you, the game is very addictive and you’ll want to see everything it has to offer. After you’ve collected all the characters and done all of the side quests, the game loses most of its appeal. By then, you just want to continue playing to see what happens in the story.
This game is addictive and intriguing. It deserves 9 out of 10, emotionally affective but not enough for a full mark.