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Wedding Dash (DS) artwork

Wedding Dash (DS) review


"The problem is that everyone is different. Betty is a snotty rich woman, so no one wants to sit next to her. Chloe, on the other hand, is so popular that all the other guests want to be with her. Chuck is impatient and wants to chow down as soon as he arrives. If you don’t keep track of someone’s demands, they’ll eventually get angry and start docking points from your overall score. Not only do you have to keep the guests satisfied, but you’ll also have to deal with several other hazards as well. Weddings make Aunt Ethel go into tearful hysterics, so you’ll have to keep her from going berserk. Same goes with Uncle Ernie, who loves getting drunk and making an ass out of himself."



Wedding Day. It’s supposed to be one of the most important and momentous parts of a couple’s lives. Even if you’re not the one getting hitched, it can still be memorable. Celebrating the romance between two loved ones. Visiting with relatives that you‘d otherwise never see. Getting to know the other family and hopefully creating new friendships. Dressing in your finest clothes. Eating great food and gorging on a ridiculously massive cake. Listening to generic party music and making half-assed attempts at dancing. It’s a fun, amazing experience that stays with you for years to come…

Assuming it isn’t an utter disaster, of course.

There’s something far more important lurking behind all the festivities: the planning. There’s no way a wedding can just go without a hitch. It’s impossible. It takes months of preparation and careful consideration, and one minor flaw could screw up everything. Quinn, the heroine of Wedding Dash, has less than a week to pull off the perfect reception. She never asked for that kind of responsibility - she’d be insane to do so - but her reputation for quality service leads dozens of couples to her business. The game lightly touches upon Quinn’s surprise at her ever-growing enterprise and the pressure that goes with the job, but it never goes much further. Though the lack of story keeps things focused on the gameplay, it feels like a missed opportunity. Rather than developing Quinn’s character, you’re given a few sentences of monologue before moving on to the next project.

She’s got it easy, though. Planning a wedding requires you to solve tons of issues, but Quinn only has to deal with the basic ones. She’s in charge of catering and the destination of the couple’s honeymoon, all of which is determined by the instructions left by her employers. You could get a groom with a weak stomach, so you’ll have to choose a dish that isn’t spicy. Or maybe you’ll have a bride who abhors chocolate cake and absolutely must have the decorations match her bouquet of flowers. They might want to visit the Caribbean or stay close to home. Once you’ve read everything, you’ll view and choose from all of the potential options. This part is almost insultingly easy; unless you’re completely inept at following clues or don’t know much about food, there is no way you can screw this up. Selecting the correct options nets Quinn some extra cash, which helps boost the ending score needed to beat the level.

Serving at the reception, however, is another story entirely. The game makes it a complex system of arranging things and coordinating of the staff in real-time. You’ll be able to organize the guests by tapping on each person with the stylus and dragging them to the tables. Some people want to be seated in certain areas. Others want to sit next to specific family members, while less popular folks are left to rot alone at the other end of the room. The seating arrangement is vital to your success; each guest will award you with bonus points depending on how well you meet their demands. Having everyone in the right spot and serving multiple people allows you to rack up the point combos needed to complete the challenge. After you’ve gotten someone seated, you’ll have to deliver the guest’s gift to the bride and groom, then circle back and hand out food. After your target is given an appetizer, main course, wine, and desert, they’ll leave the table and spend the rest of the night dancing awkwardly to the music.

Simple, right?

The problem is that everyone is different. Betty is a snotty rich woman, so no one wants to sit next to her. Chloe, on the other hand, is so popular that all the other guests want to be with her. Chuck is impatient and wants to chow down as soon as he arrives. If you don’t keep track of someone’s demands, they’ll eventually get angry and start docking points from your overall score. Not only do you have to keep the guests satisfied, but you’ll also have to deal with several other hazards as well. Weddings make Aunt Ethel go into tearful hysterics, so you’ll have to keep her from going berserk. Same goes with Uncle Ernie, who loves getting drunk and making an ass out of himself. The bridesmaids are prone to petty infighting, which you’ll have to quell before someone gets slapped. The chef’s table occasionally catches on fire, a swarm of bees might terrorize the party, and the cake could tip over at any moment. If you can’t handle all of this, the bride will turn into Bridezilla, a hulking, fire-breathing monstrosity.

It’ll rarely come to that, though. The levels are usually easy to complete as long as you stay on top of a few combos and keep enough guests from freaking out. The controls pose your only serious problem. Everything is done with the stylus; you tap on the guests, their corresponding food, and any other locations where attention is needed. While this works decently enough, it can become hectic in later levels. It’s difficult to be accurate when you’re serving thirty people at once. With so many potential targets, it’s easy to miss the guest on whom you’re trying to focus. You could accidentally select someone else, wasting valuable seconds as your avatar walks mindlessly to where you pointed. The game could misread your dish selection, leaving you with only one free hand and forcing you to deliver a dinner that nobody wants. These missteps might not seem major, but they can hinder your score combos and doom you to replaying the level. Though none of the parties are long, having to restart one because of a simple error is annoying.

At least the game does a good job of communicating each of the guests’ needs. Rather than spending time explaining via text or voice acting, the characters will use thought bubbles and visual cues to make their demands. If someone wants to sit at a particular table, they’ll show the symbol that corresponds to it. If they don’t want to be near a particular partygoer, they’ll show a picture of the person’s face with some lines through it. When someone gets mad, their bubbles get edgy and they’ll scowl at you. Though this system works well for keeping track of the party, the presentation comes off as lacking. All of the characters have tiny, poorly animated bodies. The reception rooms are drawn with little detail and have too much empty space. Aside from the traditional wedding theme, the music is bland and generic. It looks more like a low-end GBA title than it does a DS game. That’s a shame, considering what could have been done.

It’s too bad. Wedding Dash has a pretty clever concept, but doesn’t refine it. The management aspects of it are great; the sheer amount of guests, the variety of demands, and unusual obstacles make for an interesting experience. It’s a great example of how to use real-time gameplay to focus on multiple objectives and develop strategic efficiency. The combo system provides a good incentive to approach each level with a plan. Unfortunately, everything else comes up short. The story is almost non-existent, the difficulty is minimal, and the controls can prove awkward. The poor animation and bland design makes for one of the least impressive presentations on the DS. All of these problems drag an otherwise decent game into mediocrity. Hopefully your wedding goes better.

Rating: 6/10

disco's avatar
Freelance review by Justin Boot (January 19, 2010)

Disco is a San Francisco Bay Area native, whose gaming repertoire spans nearly three decades and hundreds of titles. He loves fighting games, traveling the world, learning new things, writing, photography, and tea. Not necessarily in that order.

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zippdementia posted January 20, 2010:

Another good review, Jason, that saves me money because it makes me feel like I've played the game by the time I'm through with reading. I wasn't honestly expecting much out of Wedding Dash. Your review works because you give it a chance and then let it dash those chances to smithereens with the broad end of the stylus. And you carry the wedding theme throughout. Well done, sir.

EDIT: My bad, I thought I saw this posted under Jason's name. The praise is for Disco, then!
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disco posted January 21, 2010:

Thanks, dude! I thought the writing was kind of bland, but it worked well enough. Hopefully my next few reviews will turn out better.

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