Unlike other celebrity apps like the Kendall and Kylie game, which simply let you style your own character and follow a predetermined story line, The Empire also offers an outlet for creativity. For starters, as mentioned, you can create your own rap lyrics and record yourself singing your words over what Glu says are "studio-quality custom beats."
Those who aren't as confident or eloquent can choose, as I did, to use a template and fill out some keywords, Mad Libs style. The app offers some word options with which to fill in the blanks, but you can also enter your own. They can turn out pretty wacky too, which adds to the fun of the game. I wouldn't call the songs I created "inspired" per se, but at least they sort of rhyme. You can choose to go straight to rap mode to avoid the hassle of watching the built-in story line unfold or stick around for the drama in Story Mode.
The story line in The Empire largely follows the blueprint laid out by other celebrity games: You're a nobody who, by some miraculous stroke of luck, befriends the titular celebrity. She takes you under her wing, helping you record your first single and giving you tips on how to promote it. The goal is to earn song sales and grow your number of fans. All the while, the game tries to inculcate values. In the Jenner game, it was the importance of friendship; in The Empire, it's the power of believing in yourself.
The game's graphics have a distinctive style that's strongly reminiscent of street art. Characters are rendered in bold colors and wear hip, urban outfits, which is apropos for the Queens, New York, neighborhood you start out in. As a New Yorker, I found that setting one of the most endearing things about Minaj's game, compared to the LA backdrop in the Kendall and Kylie app. Your tastes might be different than mine, of course.