This frantic wedding planning is well past the honeymoon phase.
For many people, getting married can be one of the happiest moments of their lives, but the amount of planning and preparation that goes into making the big day perfect can bring with it a tremendous amount of pressure. People get so stressed out that they break down and hire a wedding planner. It’s no wonder that business is booming for Quinn in Wedding Dash 4-Ever, the newest installment in PlayFirst’s popular wedding-themed Diner Dash spinoff franchise.
As this bridal-themed time management game unfolds, wedding planner extraordinaire Quinn gets a surprise visit from her mother, who hasn’t been informed the engagement between her daughter and Joe, the photographer, has been called off. When mom swoops in to micromanage the wedding planning business, she also begins planning Quinn’s wedding, leaving the supposed bride-to-be in a bit of a pickle. With some help from her pal Flo (of Diner Dash fame), Quinn has to figure out how to keep up with a new batch of weddings to plan while also dealing with the situation with her mother.
With Quinn’s mom in the picture to handle the nitty-gritty prep work, one of the biggest changes to the series found in Wedding Dash 4-Ever is you no longer have control over any of the pre-wedding details. Instead of selecting wedding accoutrements for a couple based on their budget and interests, you’ll focus on making sure the reception and other aspects of the festive event go off without a hitch. As in past games, this means you’ll seat guests based on their personal quirks, provide them with three food courses, keep them from wrecking the occasion, and make sure everyone has a good time – including the bride and groom.
The gameplay has you simultaneously controlling Quinn and Flo to queue up various tasks in order to keep guests happy and earn enough points to progress through each stage. Clicking on context sensitive tasks sends either Quinn or Flo scrambling about to handle the little details and food-related jobs respectively. This aspect of the game hasn’t changed in the slightest. You get bonus points for chaining the same tasks together and lose points when guests get too grumpy. Failing to meet the minimal score in a stage forces you to restart, while beating it lets you push for the tougher-to-achieve expert score benchmark.
Wedding party guests still have oddball preferences about who they do and don’t want to sit next to, many of them eat at different speeds, and some have explosive behaviors that you have to quell before things get out of hand. You’ll run into chatty aunts who freak out about their missing pooches, wedding crashers who try to ruin the party, old guys who fall asleep and forget which course they’re eating, and bratty little ring-bearer girls who throw food fight tantrums, among others. Though the drawings are a little different, a lot of the same special character behaviors are carried over from the last game.
The bridge and groom also want to get in on the action, and they like to mingle with the guests as much as possible, making handling their needs part of the big chaotic shuffle. Quinn has a few special duties as well, including ushering guests in front of the camera for a picture with the (hopefully) happy couple, providing the microphone for any guests that feel like spouting words of praise for the bride and groom, and fixing any unforeseen issues that suddenly arise with the venue or guests.
A few new mini-games and other activities have been added in to replace the elements that have been cut from Wedding Dash 4-Ever. Each level now has a new hidden object element to it. In each case, the bride and groom have lost some important set of items, and you can try to hunt them down in the scenery amidst all the hustle and bustle. This earns you extra points and unlocks a special gift for Quinn’s wedding, and it adds an extra level of challenge when you’re juggling the needs of so many guests at once.
There’s also now a seating mini-game lets Quinn help seat guests at the wedding ceremony itself, which is a first for the series. You’re given a bunch of guests with specific seating needs and a limited number of seats on the pink bride’s side and the blue groom’s side available to work with. It has a fun puzzle element to it, and doing a decent job earns you extra money for upgrades.
You’ll also find a new conga line mini-game that has you picking up guests along the way and delivering them to the bride and groom. While they’re not major game-changers, these diversions happen several times in each of the five wedding locations, and they change the gameplay up at the right moments.
New wedding venues, special mini-games, and a few other subtle updates offer enough change to appease fans of the series who simply want another solid helping of Wedding Dash fun, but the lack of real growth in this fourth installment in the series is a bit of a disappointment. To be sure, it’s a well-made and enjoyable game that has tons of stages and plenty of challenge. It just doesn’t have that extra spark to make it completely stand out from its predecessors.