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Bride Wars


Wedding Dash, a new time-management game for DS, is certainly not the most hardcore game currently on the market. There is a story, but it’s dispatched entirely in two to three sentence exchanges between levels. Leveling up is limited to selecting a power-up for Quinn the wedding planner and her staff of chefs and waitresses every three levels. Unless you’re really frightened that when things go badly in a level, the flames shooting out of the bride’s mouth might singe some of the wedding guests close to her, the game is also entirely free of any sort of battles or any other sort of violence. Even though most games released recently have these sorts of things, Wedding Dash is perfectly happy to be an arcade-style portable title with a fluffy exterior, and this works well for it.

When looking at the gameplay in Wedding Dash, even though it is entertaining, it is impossible to ignore how unoriginal it is. Every single thing about the game, from the title to the graphics to the gameplay itself, is incredibly derivative of the Diner Dash games. Since it’s from the same developer, this isn’t a serious allegation, and the game itself admits this, having Diner Dash’s Flo pop up as a friend of the main character and occasionally appear as a playable character. Still, if you’ve ever touched a game in the Diner Dash series, you’ll know precisely what to expect from Wedding Dash. You’re presented with a room full of empty tables and guests will pop into the room. You then have to sit them down at the tables and follow their every command with enough speed that none of them get impatient and start subtracting points from your score.

Though Wedding Dash sticks strictly to a pre-established formula, it does it pretty well. The wedding-specific touches, such as having to shut up drunk guests before they cause trouble and handing music requests off to the DJ, are cute and well-integrated, and moving from guest to guest, for the most part, works well with the touch screen controls. There are flaws in this game, however, and they become more and more apparent as the game goes on.

The most major of these problems is that when the screen gets busy, it can be difficult to control. Clicking on one part of the screen sends both the waitress and wedding planner to that place, causing unnecessary slowness and confusion when things need to be moving the fastest. This is very frustrating and tends to make levels more difficult to finish than they really ought to be. Wedding Dash’s second major flaw, however, almost entirely negates any problems that this might cause. The game’s chaining system, which is necessary and well-utilized in the early parts of the game, can be manipulated to get stratospheric scores when a large number of guests are in play. Even though this sounds nice, it leads to a massive drop in difficulty in the last few levels, making the game’s final stretch more of a slog than a challenge. As long as a few decent chains are maintained, the high score in any of the later levels can be decimated while everyone on screen is angry enough to be sapping points from your score at an alarming rate. These problems don’t make the game worthless, but they are apparent enough to stand out in an otherwise solid game.

Wedding Dash is also slightly uneven in terms of graphics and sound. Though the graphics in this game are cute and brightly colored, they could have been pulled off in an early Game Boy Advance game. The sprites look like strangely shrunken versions of those in the Diner Dash games for PC, rather than graphics designed specifically designed for the DS title, and though this doesn’t cause problems through most of the game, it can occasionally become difficult to tell a couple of the characters apart when quickly trying to fulfill seat requests. The difference in art style between Wedding Dash’s original characters and the guests from Diner Dash is also a little jarring, which could have been rectified by having one person come in and do one new drawing of Flo for the cutscenes between levels. The sound in this game fares better than the graphics. Nothing about it is absolutely outstanding, but the frequently changing wedding-themed music being is appropriate to the game’s conceit and pleasant sounding, while the sound effects help to alert players to problems on screen that might go otherwise unnoticed.

As an arcade-style game, Wedding Dash is fairly easy to recommend in terms of value. There are only 50 levels in the game’s career mode, but since they’re light on story and go by quickly, they are fun to replay one by one when a few minutes need to be killed. Each level also has an expert score that, in the earlier parts of the game, can be challenging to try and clear. An endless mode provides extra incentive to hold on to the cartridge, as it has a decent level of difficulty and has the addictive lure of high scores to defeat. There isn’t an unlimited amount of content in Wedding Dash, but what is there doesn’t lose much of its appeal on repeated plays.

Even though it cannot be said that Wedding Dash is a perfect game, it is enjoyable, and the fact that it doesn’t take itself very seriously is easy to appreciate it. The theme of weddings is cute and fits into the gameplay well, while the game itself is easy to pick up and set down at a moment’s notice, making it a perfect fit for the DS. Most importantly, however, the game is addictive enough that I’d find myself seeing angry guests with red thought bubbles above their heads when I closed my eyes. If you’re looking for a cheerful, casual and inexpensive title for your DS collection, Wedding Dash ought to fill that order nicely.

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