A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
A chance meeting with Nicki Minaj launches you into a new friendship and a burgeoning rap career in NICKI MINAJ: THE EMPIRE. Now you'll spend your time shuttling between Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan as you juggle rap battles, recording sessions, VIP parties, photo shoots, lunch with Nicki, and meetings with your producer. All the while, you need to keep writing new lyrics, upgrading your wardrobe to keep up with the changing styles, outfitting your apartment, and still staying true to your friends. A visit to Beatbook, the in-game social media experience, gives you the opportunity to connect with other players in an open chat, as well as make new in-game friends. If you're lucky, they'll "like" your music and give you a boost on your record sales. You may also want to record some of your raps and submit them for a chance to be heard by Nicki Minaj herself. Each Quest requires you to complete a certain number of tasks within an allotted period of time, so you'll need to budget your energy levels to earn five stars. A five-star Quest may earn you record sales and new fans, while a two-star Quest might drop your ratings. Beware your enemies, though. They're always out to steal your thunder and take credit for your hard work.
Is it any good?
Despite some mindless tasks and the pressure to use in-app purchases, this rap-mogul simulation is addictive and fun and offers opportunities for creativity. Nicki Minaj: The Empire does what Kim Kardashian: Hollywood failed to do: provide an interesting and substantive simulation of rising in a difficult industry. Is it realistic? Not really. But the story makes some sense and you have more to worry about than your appearance (although style does count!). The addition of the Beatbook social network experience makes it less kid-friendly but adds a social dimension that teens will appreciate. But perhaps the best aspect is being encouraged to write and record your own rap songs. It makes you feel more connected to the game experience. Though there's still a lot of sitting around waiting to get enough energy for the next Quest and not a lot of decisions to be made within Quests themselves, most kids won't mind this at all. They'll be busy practicing their rapping skills so they can try to catch the eye (and ear) of Nicki Minaj.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the rap-artist lifestyle as depicted in Nicki Minaj: The Empire. Does this seem like an accurate depiction? How do you think it might be different in real life?
Discuss your family's rules about in-app purchases. If you give your tween or teen a virtual allowance, are you OK with them spending it on any in-app purchase, or are there guidelines?
Think about the persona of the main character in the app. How are you like the character you play? How are you different? Are there things you admire or dislike about the character?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (with in-app purchases)
- Release date: December 6, 2016
- Category: Simulation Games
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Size: 580.00 MB
- Publisher: Glu Games Inc.
- Version: 1.0.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 4.0 and up
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.