Hot Hands!

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Hot Hands! App Poster Image
One-note trivia game pushes celebrity brand recognition.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Difficulty depends on how well you know your celebrities.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Things are definitely easier with in-app purchases, but app isn't pushy about them. Some pictures clearly have company logos branded on them in the background. Game features in-game ads.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hot Hands!, a trivia game, is the latest mobile adaptation of a game played on stage on Ellen DeGeneres Show. The game unapologetically pushes Hollywood celebrity, expecting players to know (or learn) famous entertainment names and faces. Multiplayer can't be played unless your friends play, too (there's no general match-making). The app is free-to-play but features in-app ads. The in-app shop lets players spend money for faster category unlocks and is only mildly promoted. The easy-to-read privacy policy explains the types of information collected by the app. Read the privacy policy in full.

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What's it about?

HOT HANDS! has no story, only an endless round of movie, TV, and music industry stars for you to identify. Three modes (multiple-choice, initials, and voice) present different ways to approach a range of celebrity categories, from couples to comedy stars. Then you're given 20 images to identify. There's a set time limit (three seconds per image), and at the end, you're scored according to the photos you've identified correctly. Doing well earns you stars, which you can use to unlock additional celebrity categories.

Is it any good?

This is a transparent attempt to push Hollywood branding on mobile users. Though it pretends to offer different activities, it's really all the same activity: learning the names of entertainment business entities. ("Entities" is the correct word here, since public figures long ago traded their personal statuses for "brand identity.")

Hot Hands! does its best to impersonate a game by employing a timer and voice, initials, or multiple-choice modes. The first lets you shout your answers into the iPad's built-in microphone, while the latter modes use tap/virtual keyboard input. Still, it's really just another version of nursery school flash cards, except in this case, it's Hollywood luminaries rather than animals or shapes appearing at three-second intervals. Sure, there's a range of categories (TV stars, couples, comedy stars, musicians), but that doesn't up the entertainment ante since you're doing the same thing in each one. The app's most promising aspect is its multiplayer mode (after all, nothing gets a person's heart racing like a little friendly competition), but it fails by not allowing you to take on other online Hot Hands! players unless they're already your friends. In the end, the only reason you'd enjoy this app is if you're a dedicated Ellen fan or have a serious case of celebrity addiction.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the business of celebrity. How do celebrities use their images to make money?

  • Discuss how celebrity reality shows relate to real life. Despite the word "reality" TV, do these shows present their subjects realistically?

  • Think about the part celebrity news plays in your life. How important is it to you?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Pricing structure: Free (Contains optional in-game purchases.)
  • Release date: April 6, 2017
  • Category: Trivia Games
  • Size: 108.00 MB
  • Version: 1.20
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 9.0 or later, Android 4.2 and up
  • Last updated: February 25, 2020

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