The following article is from Game Teahouse about the hit game “Paper Wedding Dress 4”. This game is one of the most popular games using Cocos Creator today.
Introduction: More than half a year after the previous game, the suspense-solving game “Paper Wedding Dress 4 – Red Silk Wrap” was finally officially released this month, and it topped the iOS free game list and the TapTap hot list on its first day. The “Paper Wedding Dress” series was developed by Xinxin Interactive Entertainment and produced with Cocos Creator. The unique Chinese horror game comes with a touching story, and emotional presentation keeps many players immersed in it.
On the day of the launch of “Paper Wedding Dress 4”, the editor of the teahouse issued this sentiment, “Is Paper wedding dress already a master of Chinese horror games?”
Perhaps it was a coincidence of timing (being close to a Chinese holiday), coupled with the high reputation accumulated by the series of works, “Paper Wedding Dress 4” immediately became the No. 1 hot search on Weibo after its launch.
When the game developer Xinxin Interactive Entertainment revealed that the game was launching in 10 minutes, millions of users “flooded” to download the game.
This has also attracted the attention of the teahouse. From December 2020, with the addition of the series prequel “Hospital No. 13”, why does “Paper Wedding Dress 4” still have such high vitality even as the fifth series in the series, and what is the game experience like? As a Chinese horror puzzle game, the subject matter is relatively small, the puzzles are complex, and it’s extremely dense with advertisements. Not only has it not stopped players’ enthusiasm for the game, but it has also increased its popularity. The answers to these puzzles are also the game-making code to unlock the “paper wedding dress.”
Familiar recipe and familiar taste
The “Paper Wedding Dress” series review scores are around 9/10, and “Paper Wedding Dress 4” is no exception.
The game chose to be launched before the Mid-Autumn Festival, and the story happened in spooky Yichang Town. Many daring players decided to clear the game overnight.
If you are a fan of the paper wedding dress series games, the game plot may not be as expected because you will hope that the game will follow the epilogue of “Paper Wedding Dress 3”, telling the story of the reincarnation of the evil general Liang Shaoping. However, the familiar story background and sound effects will make players forget this and be interested in the new story.
Similar to the previous work of using legendary novels, “Paper Wedding Dress 4” is based on “The Story of the West Chamber,” which tells the story of a couple breaking through the traditional concept of “arranged marriages” and the lovers finally getting married. The modern story takes place in Yichang Town, where an apparent evil chat message brings a couple to the deserted town. By completing rituals such as temple offerings, solving numerous puzzles, and escaping from the town, the couple can unravel the sinister plot of the story—a shady marriage of sisters from the family decades ago.
From the perspective of puzzle-solving design, the game’s puzzle-solving difficulty is still tricky, and it is pretty textual in terms of Chinese traditional culture. The design of the puzzles, such as using a compass and using dozens of ancient books, all reflect the intentions of the production team. What left a deep impression on me in the game puzzle-solving experience was the temple event, changing the time by beating the gong, traveling between different times, and solving puzzles. In addition, inheriting the gameplay of “Paper Wedding Dress 3” in the last chapter, the male and female protagonists take risks simultaneously, which also brings the fun of two-player games.
As a thriller, the game’s initial horror points are dense and held in place with detailed performance design. For example, initially, the heroine receives a chat message at the window. The phone has your attention as you go from receiving chat messages to putting the phone down, picking it up again, and seeing feet get closer and closer in view below the phone. This and similar performances presented in the final destruction of the five elements bring a sense of horror and suspense.
If the above is where the game makes people feel that the production team is full of making you fight to stay alive, then in terms of plot and immersive experience, the game also shares feelings of helplessness and regrets from the characters.
Since the game is free, advertisements are the primary way to make money. Whether to skip to the next chapter or get clues about props, it is difficult to escape the sudden 30-second advertisement. Although loyal players have become accustomed to it, with the high density and difficulty of puzzles in the late game and the lack of relevant clues, players need to frequently click on advertisements to obtain clues, which makes them somewhat tired.
It’s like a TV show in the past that always played to the highlight and suddenly inserted a generally disappointing commercial break. Although understandable, it still destroys the immersion of the game.
According to player reviews, the emotional buildup of the plot in Paper Wedding 4 is slightly lacking in heat. Compared to its predecessor, where the foolish couple needs to make hard decisions to save each other or having love brings martyrdom. Although they are sweet to each other, perhaps because the characters’ motivations are not well laid out, it is hard to get emotionally involved with the heroine saving the hero at the end. In addition, other supporting characters did not leave a deep impression, such as in the first part where you follow an older man climbing the building.
Therefore, because the sense of acquisition of the plot is difficult to offset the intake of advertisements, it also causes “Paper Wedding Dress 4” to have less of a good aftertaste.
But on the whole, “Paper Wedding Dress 4” is still well-made. As a transitional work, this work is less related to past stories making players still have expectations for “Paper Wedding Dress 5”.
In any case, it must be said that the “Paper Wedding” series has indeed become a model for Chinese folklore horror games. Since December 2020, a new “Paper Wedding” has been released about every six months, leading to a spurt of “Paper Wedding”-like games on the mobile side of Chinese horror, with similar folklore themes or UI interfaces and themes ranging from mountain villages to urban weirdness.
Thinking about it, what about Paper Wedding makes it possible to profit from advertising and break out in the Chinese horror handheld game end?
The scarcity of related bizarre literary themes is probably the primary reason why “Paper Wedding Dress” has won market attention in 2020.
And under this premise, the “paper wedding dress” also injected an interesting formula into its popularity in two ways.
The establishment of the story universe of the paper wedding dress formed a network of characters—the other with interesting and lovely side characters and touching stories.
Generally speaking, it isn’t easy to make continuous updates or a new series of works after game makers seize the market vacancies and make a trend-making game. On the mobile game side, the only series of horror games seem to be “Paper Wedding Dress,” which even constitutes a plot universe of paper wedding dresses.
The plots of each “Paper Wedding Dress” are connected, and the relationships between the characters are inextricably linked.
From the storyline, the paper wedding dress series involves two timelines, the Republic of China and the modern era. There are also multiple locations, from the residential building in the city, the No. 13 ward, to Zangling Village and nearby villages, such as the third Moshui Village of the Ministry and Yichang Town of the Fourth Ministry.
In addition to the main plot, “Paper Wedding Dress” has a cinematic feel, and the epilogues will never disappoint. These easter eggs not only bring surprises but also make up for regrets and even bring more thought-provoking questions.
In addition to the story, the paper wedding dress is based on Chinese folk customs to build the cult belief of “Liu Zang Bodhisattva,” which reflects the villagers’ “creation of gods.” It gives the villagers’ reasoning a spiritual root. The story of the cult originates from Xuanzang’s return from a westward trip in the Tang Dynasty. He passed through the “Miasling Village,” where villagers often had hallucinations and stayed for a short time for treatment. Before leaving, he read the Jiuzang scriptures in the village and found the Liuzang belonging to a Western cult. However, the village chief enshrined the Liuzang scriptures, and finally the “Liuzang Bodhisattva” was fabricated, and various customs were derived.
From these points of view, the Chinese folklore described by the paper wedding dress production team has a story frame set up as a network of relationships and finds the spiritual roots on which to tell. These constitute the basis for the writing series of “Paper Wedding Dress” and let players look forward to a deeper understanding of the relationship network.
Interesting character design and puzzle design
In addition to the integrity of the plot, the literary heritage, interesting characters, and touching love stories of the paper wedding dress series are also commendable.
These touching love stories come from folklore. For example, short stories of the Chinese past are used by ghosts to describe people, showing the various states of the world. “What is scarier than ghosts is the human heart.” The paper wedding dress production team once revealed in the official Weibo column that the style of the paper wedding dress game is mainly creating this classical and strange literature.
However, the paper wedding dress not only takes its character relationship but adds this spiritual core to replace constantly used Chinese folk customs. The ignorance and traditions are used to criticize human nature and people’s hearts. For example, in the third game, the second grandfather worshipped Buddha wholeheartedly and begged for a son, which brought a debt of love for others. In the fourth part, he did everything possible to obtain a good marriage and eventually became the victim of being married after death for his possessions.
Compared with many free games that require “advertising,” the paper wedding dress is really artistic. In addition to the cinematics and the horror effects mentioned above, “Paper Wedding Dress 2” can be said to be the series’ pinnacle. For example, in the puzzle design of “Puppet Shadow Play,” the stage and the actual environment echo each other.
Interesting team, meticulous research
The developer of “Paper Wedding Dress” Xinxin Huyu is a mobile game development company in Chengdu, established in 2017.
According to relevant information, the team’s core members have been engaged in the game industry for more than 20 years. They did not want to start with a horror game but took a detour. Considering that the mobile game shows fewer ghosts and folk customs in Chinese traditional culture, they finally aimed at the market gap and started a project to make a “Paper Wedding Dress.” They hoped to bring a different and more localized folk world.
But they didn’t expect the paper wedding dress series to become an instant hit. In the past two years, the size of the game production team has also changed. According to the credits at the end of “Paper Wedding Dress 1”, the production and art team was no more than ten people, and there were no more than four people for setting scenes and modeling; when it comes to “Paper Wedding Dress 4”, there are only 15 people for setting scenes. The production team is now close to 30 people, and the team is getting larger.
The announcement of “Paper Wedding Dress 5” has also attracted much attention. According to an interview with TapTap, the game will be built soon.
On the whole, as a lightweight point-and-click horror puzzle-solving mobile game, “Paper Wedding Dress” can gain a high degree of attention, which is not unrelated to its solid script and detailed and rigorous research.
But as player concentration wanes, more lightweight designs seem to be needed. Now, perhaps in addition to the “paper wedding dress,” it is difficult to reproduce a game that has so much attention and is based on the commercial model of advertising monetization.
Players need the existence of a more pure enjoyment version or can get more hint opportunities by recharging. And this may be the reason why “Paper Wedding Dress 1” has launched a stand-alone version on Steam.
In addition, finding newer folklore themes has also become the most challenging thing in writing the “Paper Wedding Dress” series.
Whether it’s the theme or advertising, the “Paper Wedding Dress” series seems to need further exploration, expecting “Paper Wedding Dress 5” to bring more surprises, and require players’ patience.