As wonderful as weddings might be, the preparation can sure be complicated and troublesome. In Wedding Salon, a new time management game by developer Sugar Games, you can experience this exciting rush by following Holly, who manages wedding shops all over the country while planning her own marriage at the same time. We were fairly entertained by Wedding Salon, but not enough to give it a stellar rating.
Wedding Salon features 70 levels in ten different shops, although that sounds much more than it actually is. Experienced time management players will probably finish all levels within three to four hours, which still is a convincing playing time. The game only introduces one mode, but the player can at least try to reach an expert goal in each level. Those expert points can then be spent on Holly’s own dream wedding, a feature that is very similar to the decoration of a VIP lounge in Hotel Dash. You can choose the meal, the wallpaper in her suite, and a lot of other details, which is quite fun and actually a good motivation to get expert scores in every level.
The gameplay of Wedding Salon can be easily compared to Sally’s Spa or a previous game by this developer called Wendy’s Wellness. Customers enter your store and take seats in the waiting area. You can then drag them to the appropriate stations according to their wishes displayed in thought bubbles. Those stations differ from shop to shop, and you have to play mini-games at most of them to increase the patience of your customers.
Those mini-games mainly consist of multiple-choice tasks, such as clicking the appropriate earring, create the desired cake, or choosing the correct pattern and color for a dress. If you finish those mini-games successfully your customers will earn hearts, which means that you will earn more money. You are also able to click roses or hearts inside shops to increase the patience of the currently least patient customer. The game also introduces a different kind of chaining. Instead of colors or similar actions you are rewarded for treating men and women at separate stations. The only reward for doing so is that you don’t have to perform the mini-game after treating three persons of the same gender at one station.
Customers do not differ notably in Wedding Salon with only one exception. Younger customers will want to visit stations backwards, which regularly messes up your carefully planned order. Certainly you are also able to upgrade each shop with the money you earn, although those upgrades do not really differ at different locations and generally lack any originality. You are able to improve the coffee machine, hire assistants for various stations or upgrade stations themselves. Every once in a while there are also shorter, but quicker levels where you have to perform the same mini-game in a limited amount of time.
As you probably have already recognized by now, I’m not overly excited about this altogether run-of-the-mill time management game. Wedding Salon does nothing terribly wrong, but it lacks any pleasant features, welcome surprises, or at least the polish of similar titles. While the game is quite challenging at times, there is no real strategy about it, so that replaying levels is not as entertaining as it could be. Controls become a bit annoying at times, too. Between all the clicking and dragging and the pop-up mini games, there is no real flow, which is one of the decisive factors determining whether a game of this genre is fun or not.
Furthermore Wedding Salon also lacks real variation – the mini-games are rather similar, customers do not differ enough to require or enable strategies and the graphics are definitely outdated, although they at least convey a certain charm considering the theme of the game.
In the end, Wedding Salon is a nice variation of the popular Sally-series in a very different setting, but with much less polish, uninspired mini-games, and at times annoying controls. Nevertheless it cannot hurt to try the game for any time management game fan. New releases in this genre are few and far between right now, and at least Wedding Salon offers a somewhat fresh setting, a convincing playing time, and an interesting challenge in some levels.