Hollywood Star
| Hollywood Star

When reviewing Hollywood Star, we were tempted to dispense with words altogether. We wanted to put up a video of a chimpanzee drinking its own urine. We thought it'd be an ironic commentary on celebrity culture, not to mention funny.

But, much to our disappointment, we learned it had already been done elsewhere on the magical internet. Without wishing to look totally sad and unoriginal therefore, it looks like we're going to have to make do with old fashioned words instead. If you would be so kind though, try to visualise the chimp and the wee whilst reading this review, and then you can meet us halfway. Ready? Let's begin.

This is a strategy/simulation game in which you assume the role of an aspiring Hollywood actor/actress. A no-name nobody whose reputation amounts to a big fat zero, you start at the bottom of the celebrity ladder and must scramble to the top as quickly as you can. The methods by which you make your ascent however, are pretty conventional: get an agent, go the gym, get plastic surgery, maybe some acting lessons.

This superficial world of glitz and glamour is represented from a isometric perspective, a bit like The Sims. A bit TOO much like The Sims, actually. You start off in your pad, which is your base of operations, and then leave to explore other areas of town like the film studio and the night club. Various activities can be found in each location, along with a number of 'personalities' who can help or hinder you in your quest.

The game's controls are the main problem. Even though the grid is isometric, your avatar doesn't move in isometric diagonal directions, preferring instead to follow its own unique paths of up, down, left and right. We weren't that inclined to visit this world to begin with, but the movement being fundamentally flawed made us really irate.

Another problem is the interaction. You can talk to other characters in the game, currying favour by pandering to their likes and dislikes by choosing from a selection of subjects. You can even give them gifts. Where it backfires however, is that their reactions to your lines appear to be randomly generated, so it's difficult to make any headway in a conversation without making equally random guesses.

It's no surprise then that Hollywood Star comes across a sloppily developed mess from start to finish. The graphics are basic and bland, the sound effects non-existent and the action is boring. The tone is misjudged too. Even though it aspires to be a witty satire on the excesses of life in Hollywood, it somehow ends up celebrating it, the ultimate message being that having a nose-job to further your career is a good thing.

Of course, it's unlikely we're the intended audience. Presumably this is a game aimed at fashion-conscious teenage girls - copy of Heat magazine in one hand, texting using other. But it's hard to imagine even this demographic could derive much pleasure from this tripe, not when there's an exclusive interview with Sarah Harding about her new man (no, a newer one) on pages 12 through 17.

So we hope we've done our job properly and illuminated how utterly worthless this game is. If we've failed, we humbly apologise. Next time we'll definitely go with the novelty chimpanzee.

Hollywood Star

A lazy imitation of other, better made life sims, Hollywood Star is boring and pointless
Bulent Yusuf
Bulent Yusuf
Bulent Yusuf is a ladies man, man's man, and a man about town. His endless barrage of witty anecdotes and propensity for drink makes him a big favourite on the dinner party circuit. He likes writing, he likes gaming, and with Pocket Gamer he gets to do a bit of both.