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No One Can Stop Mr. Domino!

For quite some time in the 90s, console puzzle games were dominated by titles that took a lot of cues from Tetris. There were legions of games with falling blocks that had to be fit in gaps or needed to match colors. This began to change toward the end of the decade. Suddenly there was an explosion of puzzle games trying to do something different. No One Can Stop Mr. Domino! was one such example.

In the game, players could choose from five anthropomorphized dominoes. From there they would march their little guy through half a dozen looping stages. The goal is to avoid any obstacles in their way while strategically placing dominoes behind them in certain areas of each level. This is simple enough to spot with a little flashing square indicating a start point, and a symbol marking where to stop. Once all of the dominoes are laid, the next time players starts a new lap, they need to run their domino person into the placed domino. From there, a chain reaction will start as the dominoes tumble over. From time to time, they may activate devices on the edge of the stage that will trigger the next row of dominoes to fall over.

What makes this interesting is the limited amount of control players have over their character. Once the stage begins, Mr. Domino starts running and he can’t be stopped. This requires players to make decisions quickly, before the little guy runs past key areas of a level. It’s quite possible to run right past an important area and miss an opportunity. As such, practice and paying attention is important.

Each stage has its own theme. There’s a games room with dice, backgammon boards, and the like on the floor. Another level takes place on the shelves of a convenience store. One takes place in a family’s house while another is at a theme park and another on city streets. There’s a little bit of everything, and it all looks pretty darn good. Better still, the game has a fantastic soundtrack. Folks that like 90s style electronic music will likely quite enjoy what No One Can Stop Mr. Domino! has to offer.

At the end of the day, No One Can Stop Mr. Domino! has a very simple concept. The thing is that it is so very unique. There haven’t been other puzzle games to attempt anything similar before or since. This makes the game really stand out. Falling blocks are nice and all, but sometimes a change of pace is in order and this game does that magnificently.

- IroIro
October 17, 2019
Platform: PlayStation
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: ArtDink
Publisher: ArtDink
Released: 1998

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