No One Can Stop Mr. Domino: An Afterthought

Puzzle games are one of the oldest genre of video game out there. Even before mega hit Tetris gamers were playing arcade games like Boulder Dash console games like Pipe Mania and so many others. In the modern landscape of gaming, puzzle games are among the most common type of mobile game out there, with match-3 games like Candy Crush still pulling in crazy amounts of players. While we’ve been puzzling over our next move for the better part of four decades, a lot of these games had similarities to one another. Placing pipes and placing Tetris pieces isn’t all that different when you break it down. Same goes for lining up similarly colored blocks or “Puyos” or what have you.

That is why discovering a game No One Can Stop Mr. Domino feels so refreshing. It’s something different from the sameness of the games we’ve been playing for years. At its core, Mr. Domino is an action puzzle game. You control the titular Mr. Domino (or a Mrs. Domino, and other Domino-people as you unlock them) as he navigates a small handful of levels with a goal of creating a chain of falling dominos to trigger specific actions. Activating said actions will initiate world events to occur, like an item falling down and triggering another set of events to happen, which can in turn continue your streak of falling dominos en route to a high score and stage end. If you’re thinking “What the hell are you even talking about,” welcome to No One Can Stop Mr. Domino, and let me explain further.

We all know Dominos. The little plastic rectangles with pips on each side that some folks play a matching game with but most folks just stack and watch them fall down one after another. That second concept is core to the gameplay of Mr. Domino. In each of the game’s six stages your character automatically runs forward, but you have to decide if you want to leave a standing domino behind your character, when to change to one of the stages three lanes of movement, and how to dodge increasingly absurd and difficult obstacles. Once you make a lap through the stage, you’ll bump into your previously set dominos, and watch them fall in sequence. Causing a domino to land on a specially marked space is required to not only chain together falling patters, but to also complete the stage. If you run out of time, or run out of dominos to place, it’s game over and time to try again.

It sounds weird, I’ll admit. But I also have to say how freaking addictive and fun the game is. Unlike other puzzle games where an answer isn’t readily apparent all the time, you almost always know what to do in Mr. Domino. Also, there isn’t a variety of ways to complete each stage here. Rather, there’s one ideal path, which is honestly the only way to complete some levels. Mr. Domino drives a hard bargain and demands perfection to win, but dammit if it isn’t satisfying when you do! Conquering each stage feels like an earned victory: you overcame the level, understood the patters, and most importantly successfully navigated the level and hazards all while placing dominos perfectly. It’s fantastic, and unlike anything I think I’ve played before.

No One Can Stop Mr. Domino isn’t without fault. First and foremost, this is certainly not a game for everyone. Frustration can creep its way into the game very early on, and if you cannot get over that it will only get worse as the stages progress. This is a Playstation game, and as such it’s a bit clunky in response times compared to modern games. I know I suck at the game, sure, but I swear there are times I’m getting my directional input in but it doesn’t reflect in the game itself. And then Mr. Domino dies and I feel sad for an anthropomorphic game token, which is a weird sentence to type. Lastly, this game is quite short, clocking in around an hour if you can perfect a run, a couple hours if you play first and learn the concept, and only a couple more on top of that if you want to play through the same stages again as different characters (which don’t really offer anything new outside of additional challenge from them being slower or faster than their base counterparts).

The coolest thing about Mr. Domino is for sure how unique it is: there really isn’t anything quite like this game, and I don’t think there ever really will be again. A spiritual successor came out for the Nintendo Wii called Domino Rally (or Minon: Everyday Hero in PAL Regions (or Go! Go! Minon in Japan)) but wasn’t nearly as well received, and also isn’t really the same type of game, incorporating more platforming elements. Mr. Domino remains a true PS1 classic, and the only place you can experience one of video games most quirky puzzle games.


DownStab has been a personal endeavor of mine for many years. Please enjoy the content and let me know if you have questions, comments, or just want to connect. And as always, game on.

– Jason J

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