Yes, we spent 24 straight hours with Demi Lovato. Well, the mobile game version of Demi Lovato, at least.
The singer has released a new mobile game with Pocket Gems this week. Named Demi Lovato: Path to Fame, the gaming app has fans play as Lovato’s tourmate as they try to expand their social following and find superstardom. Unlike Kim Kardashian: Hollywood (which we reviewed last year), arguably the biggest mobile game fronted by a celebrity to ever hit the market, Lovato’s Path to Fame allows players to “choose their own adventure” through different dialogues. The game’s outcome varies depending on how the players choose to interact with other in-game characters. (For example, you can get kicked off tour — but more on that later.)
Aside from its main “Path to Fame” plotline, the game also has other side stories that players can dive into for a fuller in-game experience. The app also itself also aims to add more “chapters” to the main plot so players who quickly finished the main game — like yours truly here — will still be able to
continually mess up during Lovato’s tour progress their own journey to fame.
As a totally serious entertainment journalist, I was tasked with playing Demi Lovato: Path to Fame for one full day.
What follows is a series of blunders that prove why I shouldn’t to be a celebrity and embarrassing encounters that explains why I’ll probably die alone. Here’s my path.
I begin in choosing my avatar. Like many games before it, Path to Fame allows you to customize your look from hairstyles to lipstick shades to the color of your skin. As you can see, I have decided to give myself some Kylie Jenner lips and truly “on fleek” eyebrows. While I applaud how specific you can get with each customization, it’s a little weird that you can’t choose to be a curvier model. I mean, this is Demi Lovato — the girl who proclaims that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes in almost EVERYSINGLEINTERVIEW she does — that we’re talking about. You also cannot be a guy or select your preferred sexual preference (which, as you will see later on, relates to the gameplay). Oh well, I guess having a realistic food ponch or being gay is something only the likes of The Sims can handle for now. Onward!
My actual journey to stardom starts with… my ex-boyfriend. Wow, really? Okay. This is kind of disappointing considering Lovato has always seemed to be a champion of the “uteruses before duderuses” mantra, but I guess some drama is needed for this game to be fun. Here I am talking on the phone about my breakup when the devil himself walks up to me. My ex, Sam, says he wants to “have a talk” about our relationship. As a newly single woman who — as the game’s title suggests — is on the path to fame, I choose to focus on my career. I clearly don’t have time for his guilt trip, but the game sadly doesn’t offer “Bye Felicia” option. I inform Sam that we can me up at a later time.
I then get phone call from my BFF, who the game also allows you to name and customize, asking me to meet her in line at the Demi Lovato concert where she’s attempting to buy rush tickets. As with your own avatar, the game forbids your BFF to be male. Seeing this, I name my friend Jennifer Lawrence because who doesn’t want to be friends with Jennifer Lawrence? Again, the game think it’s more important that we talk about my love life than, say, some singer whose show I’m trying to get into because I’m apparently such a fan. In-game J.Law drops some serious truth bombs on me, which makes me think that actual Jennifer Lawrence and I would probably make great friends as well.
Apparently, there are only two backstage passes left. The game gives me the option to use some of my gems, which are kind of like in-game points, to buy the passes. I accept. J.Law and I head inside and we run into Demi Lovato’s opening act. He
provides us with some valuable exposition mentions that the winner of the GlamLips singing competition, which is happening before the show, gets to go on tour with Lovato for two weeks. J.Law has a huge crush on him, but I’m skeptical and see right through his douchey demeanor. He kind of reminds me of Justin Bieber. Take that how you will.
J.Law and I finally meet Demi Lovato. The game gives me an option to name drop Lovato’s real-life boyfriend,Wilmer Valderrama, and I begrudgingly give in. We talk about how I make my own amateur music videos — you know, because I’m a struggling musician on the path to fame — before I get down to brass tax and ask dear ‘ol Demi how I can enter the GlamLips contest. Before she responds, she’s whisked away by some blonde handler. J.Law suggests that we try to find the sign-up list and cracks a joke about celebratory burritos. Though my in-game avatar brushes off her quip about food, I personally take comfort in the fact that I have named my BFF appropriately. In-game J.Law is a lot like real-life J.Law, no?
As we’re sneaking around backstage, we’re caught by security and taken to the same blonde handler that cockblocked me into getting into the GlamLips contest. Just as it seems like we’re about to be kicked out, the story provides some deus ex Demetria and Demi Lovato shows up and invites me to give an impromptu audition. The game tells me to tap out the beat to her new single, “Cool for the Summer,” to impress her. Even though I am essentially just button-mashing like a clueless child playing Super Smash Bros. for the very first time, Lovato’s nonetheless impressed with my rhythm and I get my name on the list. During the tryout,
Lovato’s PR team J.Law throws some shade before baiting me to make fun of my competitors. Wanting to be on Lovato’s good side, I take the high road and choose to focus on my vocal warm up.
Before my big debut, I am whisked away for one of the game’s many wardrobe changes. I choose to go for a “Revealing Rocker” look because it’s common knowledge that sex sells. During my performance, I attempt to wow the crowd by doing The Whip and, to my surprise, the audience eats it up. “You look cool up there,” the game informs me. If only my drama teacher had said the same thing to me in high school…
Despite my awesome dance moves, I don’t win the contest. (Some other blonde chick did.) My in-game avatar throws shade even without prompting. Deciding to #RiseAboveTheHate, I change clothes and join J.Law in the crowd to dance my troubles away for the rest of Lovato’s concert. However, like what Lamar Odom allegedly did to Khloé Kardashian outside of SoulCycle, my ex ambushes me at the show and says he needs to talk ASAP. Ugh. Can I live?!
Deus ex Demetria strikes again and Lovato invites me up onstage before I could give Sam a response. She tells me that the winner of the GlamLips contest has been disqualified for some reason and I have been chosen to join her on tour instead. I also get the much-coveted Demi Lovato selfie and game invites me to tweet it out to me real-life friends. (I don’t.) As I head to the tour bus, Sam breaks up with me for a second time — wait, when did we start dating again? — because he feels I am choosing my career over him. Whatever.
On the first stop of the tour, I meet Sonja, an exec who wants me to plug GlamLips wherever I go. She also threatens to kick me off the tour if I don’t. I reluctantly agree and she suggests that I interview someone on Lovato’s tour to bump up my fanbase and boost online views. I find Maria, Lovato’s backup singer, for the project. Despite the dead look in her eyes, she has nothing but kind words to say about her boss.
Though I was able to bump up by fanbase score from a 36 to a 52 with my video interview, Sonja still wants me to pimp out more GlamLips products. She suggests I find someone to kiss to prove just how long-lasting their latest lip gloss is. Despite my attempts to turn down the offer, I somehow end up on a “date” with Lovato’s guitarist, Taylor, and is given the opportunity to make my video. Taylor is giving me crazy mixed signals, so I tell him point blank that I need to kiss him in order to appease the corporate overlords. He kindly obliges before suggesting that he’s actually into me and we should probably date. As much it’s flattering that some fictional hipster likes me, it’s a little disconcerting that a game whose celebrity sponsor claims she’s been a “feminist before it was cool” allows me no option to just focus on my career, but rather forces me to humor it as I play out these date missions in order to actually progress the story. Is my worth only defined by my relationship with a man?
Thanks to some unforeseen reason, one of the backup singers has been called away from tour. Lovato asks me to step in and I accept immediately. However, I royally mess up my chance to impress her when I wear the wrong lipstick to my first concert. (Thanks a lot, GlamLips.) I get a good talking-to from Demetria and I vow to never be a pushover for GlamLips again. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t take this new stance very well and Sonja tells me she has found someone else to replace me. Since I’m technically getting kicked off the tour, does this mean I’m failing the game?
Surprisingly, Lovato, who has gotten me out of tight spots in the past, is nowhere to be found to help keep my spot on tour. To make matters worse, my ex decides pop back into my life despite previously dumping me not once, but twice. At this point, the game feels like it’s harassing me with suggestions that I should nab myself a man by dating either Sam or Taylor. In fact, Path to Fame kind of seems adamant on seeing me fail as a single, career-driven woman as it also brings back the backup vocalist that I was filling in for. Wow. Et tu, game?
Being stubborn and perhaps a little curious to just how much I can actually screw up my path to fame, I ignore its subtle attempt to set with up with a suitor and tell Taylor and Sam that I don’t want to date either of them. Unlike what Destiny’s Child told the world circa 1999, being an independent woman isn’t all that its cracked up to be. Instead, Demi Lovato pours some salt on my wounds and hammers in the last nail on my coffin, inviting me onstage for one last performance before I’m officially off the tour. As I stare into the abyss that is a sea of Lovatics, the game fades to black and I catch a glimpse of my dejected reflection on my iPhone screen. Though the game informs me that more storylines will be made available in the near future, I feel like my journey has already come to an end.
Like with all mobile apps, Path to Fame makes time fly by. It was a breeze completing all 12 episodes of the main “Path to Fame” plot. Hell, I even had time to play a few of the side stories — though I found that it wasn’t as rewarding as it didn’t boost my relationship or fanbase score. Overall, I wasn’t bored.
Path to Fame sets itself apart from the crowd in that the game actually feels like you’re doing something. As someone who is
too cheap to purchase in-game boosts waits around for her energy bar to replenish in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, it’s refreshing to see that I can actually progress the story without having to spend money or waste time idling. It’s also pretty nice that the missions itself aren’t as repetitive as some of Path to Fame‘s competitors.
However, it is odd for a Lovato-endorsed game to impart such a skewed sense of morality on its players. What Path to Fame thinks is “right” for a player is confusing at times. Though the real-life Lovato preaches self-acceptance and finding happiness by being your own person, the game appears to have a set ideal on how one should achieve it. Though a player is given the opportunity to be career-oriented, they aren’t rewarded as much for choosing that option. In fact, the only true choice the game gives a player is a superficial one in altering the avatar’s appearance and outfits — and even that option is slightly limited seeing how you can’t be “curvy” or male.
It’s funny how Lovato, who boasts about her individuality and how she’s not like “a lot of girls in pop,” has a game that heavily focuses on keeping up with appearances and dating as opposed to working on your inner self. Like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, Path to Fame a chunk of gameplay involves maneuvering love triangles and getting guys to like you. (At least Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is honest by telling its players upfront that dating helps make you famous.) Despite my multiple attempts to avoid getting caught up in boy drama, I am constantly thrusted into situations that forces me to deal with it.
Oh, the path to fame. It’s sure as hell frustrating.
“Demi Lovato: Path to Fame” is now available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.