Pop CultureSeptember 25, 2017

Sam’s Celebrity Game Reviews: Kevin Hart’s Gold Ambush


Next up in Sam’s Celebrity Game Reviews, Sam Brooks plays an incredibly strange Kevin Hart game that is unfortunately aimed at families, maybe.

How fortuitous to be reviewing a celebrity mobile game that is mildly relevant to the news of today.

Last week, we found out that Kevin Hart cheated on his pregnant wife, and there might be a sextape. Unfortunately for him, this is the week where he releases his very family-friendly and family-oriented mobile game.

I decided to play that game because time is apparently unlimited and the most bizarre and far away I can get away from the harsh haze of reality is to play a fantasy game where Kevin Hart builds a castle to protect his family against… other Kevin Harts?

So, okay. The premise of Kevin Hart: Gold Ambush, as this game is apparently called, is that you play as Kevin Hart, although you can also eventually unlock other members of his family to play as, and you do some nominal platforming through some stages (swiping up and down to jump and roll, left and right to turn), as he runs around raiding castles and gaining gold so he can build his other castle fortress for his family.

Now, if you don’t know who Kevin Hart is, let me enlighten you. Kevin Hart is a famous stand-up comedian, who has been in film such as Ride Along, Little Fockers, Central Intelligence, Top Five and other films you probably haven’t seen because many films made primarily for African-American audiences tend not to get released here. (I spent a lot of time trying to find somewhere that screened Tyler Perry’s For Coloured Girls… in 2010. Is that relevant? No, but I would like this struggle and weird blindspot of NZ multiplexes to be acknowledged.)

He hosts a lot of things, and is famous for being short and quite funny. I have almost zero opinion on Kevin Hart, except he seems like not the greatest guy, based on the news this week.

I wouldn’t consider myself a connoisseur of celebrity mobile games, more like a witch who keeps drinking a poison so she understands exactly how it will kill her enemies, but the theme of the games I’ve played thus far seems to follow a pattern. There are games that are clearly intended for the celebrity that fronts them from the very first meeting (see Demi Lovato: Price of Fame, Nicki Minaj: Image Rehabilitation) and then there are games where the celebrity comes onboard sometime in development (Eminem’s Chainsaw Throwing Game). Finally, there are those games that seem 99% made and then a celebrity’s name is thrown onto it so it’ll shill extra copies (Tom Daley Diving Boy, Shootin’ Terrorists with Jason Statham).

I have no goddamned idea where Kevin Hart: Gold Ambush sits.

I never knew so much beauty could be captured on iOS 10.

The graphics, which are quite good and advanced for a free mobile game (with purchases), imply that Hart’s been involved since the very start, which cannot be possible. I just can’t imagine the meeting where Kevin Hart sat down and wanted the game he was involved in to be a bizarrely intricate blend of a platformer and a tower defense game, with multiplayer elements.

Is this what Kevin Hart loves? Is this the game he sorely wanted not only to play but have his cartooned-up face all over? Or did someone pitch it to him or his people and they were like, “Yeah whatever sounds good let’s get back to swimming in this Scrooge McDuck pool of money we’ve got.” Who can say. Who can say.

Oh, yeah! There’s multiplayer elements. For some reason, you can raid other people’s castles – other people who are playing as Kevin Hart – and they can raid you! You even get a little push notification when they do so, just in case in your life when you’re not playing Kevin Hart: Gold Ambush, you feel like worrying constantly about your fake Kevin Hart and his fake family getting raided.

Absolutely not.

Who is the audience for this game? Who is the audience for any celebrity mobile game, really? But specifically this one? Who wants a mobile game this deep? Is it also the kind of people who buy 60 hour Final Fantasy games for their phones? It’s weirdly in-depth, it doesn’t conform to any genre, it seems to require near constant attention, and it doesn’t really align to Kevin Hart’s established brand of ‘funny man who does jokes’ as there are no jokes in it at all.

It confuses and angers me.

Amount of game played: About 45 minutes. Then I closed it and the game informed me my castle had been raided. I promptly deleted it off my phone. If somebody else playing this game, for whatever reason, wants my castle that bad they can have it. Godspeed, other people playing this game. May your priorities continue to be in the exactly correct place.

Amount of [insert celebrity name here] in [insert name of celebrity game here]: Too much, frankly. It seems a bit oxymoronic to say that there’s too much of a celebrity in the game they have burdened with their presence and brand, but there is a distracting amount of Kevin Hart in this. It makes me question the reality of this game, and what world it is set in. Why does Kevin Hart own a castle? Why is there more than one Kevin Hart? Why are they raiding each other’s castles and not living in harmony or communion with each other? Why do they continue to raid each other but not claim land? Are the multiple Kevin Harts trapped in some kind of endless struggle from which they will never emerge? Is it a metaphor for… something?

I have already thought too much about this, and that is why there is too much Kevin Hart in the game that bears his name.

Amount of $$$ spent on microtransactions: Zero dollars, but there is an option to spend $150 of your human dollars on this game. The person who does this is godless and beyond salvation. Bury them at sea, immediately.

Amount of shameless promo: None, really? I mean, it does try to sell Kevin Hart as a family man, which might’ve been much more plausible before the events of this week. Hell, if it had come out maybe a few weeks later it would maybe work as some kind of brand rehabilitation. As it stands, it’s just a really awkwardly placed release of a game.

Should you play this?: No. Go play Destiny or something.

Next in this celebrity-branded series: The absolutely unauthorised Leonardo DiCaprio game, Leo’s Red Carpet Rampage.

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