Domino Run Review

Domino Run Review

Jul 20, 2011

I don’t know about most people, but I LOVED playing with dominoes as a kid. Standing them up while building crazy Rube Goldberg-esque machines just to watch them topple over was such a fun thing to do that it was years before I realized there was a game you were supposed to be playing with them. What a revelation it was when I realized what the series of dots printed on each domino was actually for!

Domino Run takes the same fun of knocking down dominoes and turns it into a physics-based puzzle game. You have a set of dominoes standing on a layered platform that must be arranged so that when you tip them over, they knock over a special domino last. If any of them fail to knock over the special domino last, you fail the level and have to try again. The idea is to do it in a few moves and as little time as possible.

As you progress through the 70 levels spanning 3 worlds, you encounter other special dominoes with their own physics-altering properties. For example, some dominoes continuously roll rather than just flop to the ground. Others stand in place and force any domino that hits them to bounce back and fall in the opposite direction. Then you have the dominoes that can bridge gaps and more. It gets really challenging as you try to get around obstacles while figuring out how to use every type of domino to your advantage.

However, the game does have a few annoyances. My chief complaint about Domino Run is the controls. Picking up and moving dominoes around is simple enough and works well — you just touch and drag. But knocking over a domino can take several attempts to accomplish. You tap a domino to select it, then drag in the direction you want it to fall. Sometimes, it falls right over. But I’ve found that I’ve had to repeat the process several times to get them started. It feels like the sensitivity needs a little adjustment. There are other, smaller annoyances; for example, the pictographs that pop up to explain how each new domino works — I didn’t understand them, at all. Maybe I’m just thick, but they didn’t make any sense until I went into the help menu to read exactly how they were supposed to work.

What makes Domino Run great are the levels that require you to get very creative with your solutions. For example, Level 1-15 took several attempts to solve until, on a whim, I decided to see what would happen if I tried moving one of the “bouncer” dominoes while the sequence was in progress. Turns out, it worked perfectly. Kudos to Shiny Egg Studios for including a puzzle without an obvious solution into the mix. Maybe I’m not so thick, after all?

Domino Run is great game that requires a lot of creative thinking while offering all the fun of knocking down dominoes. Best of all? There’s nothing to clean up when you’re done!

Domino Run Review Rundown

9
Graphics/Sound - Great graphics, and the multiple settings in each world help keep the look fresh. I assume the lines on the sides of each domino were put there to aid players who are colorblind? If so, great, forward thinking. Also, the inclusion of "landscape" mode by tilting your device to the side makes seeing the whole levels much easier.
6
Controls - As mentioned in my review, trying to knock the initial domino over to start the sequence is rather hit or miss; mostly miss.
8
Gameplay - Great puzzles that require a lot of creative thinking to find the solution. Watching the dominoes fall is a lot of fun. Would have liked to have to seen some more inventive setups requiring tricky devices and other basic machines to complete a puzzle.
6
Replay Value - The scoring system based on getting the best times and fewest moves is a good way to bring players back for more, but once you've solved everything, there's nothing more to do.
7
Overall - A great puzzle game that suffers from some bad control problems and a lack of replay value. Fixing the controls would go a long way towards a better score, along with the addition of more simple machines to open up newer puzzle types and more open-ended solutions.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Demo version is also available on the Google Play Store »

Dale Culp
Dale Culp has been writing about video games in print and on the web for the better part of the last 10 years. From the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360 and beyond, he's covered just about everything. You'll find his work in places such as TheWeekender.com, GoLackawanna.com, Gamesylvania.com, EscapistMagazine.com and even IGN.com
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