Dominoes have been around for centuries, and yet there’s always room for new game styles based on those classic numbered bricks. Domino Drop is a new iOS puzzle game from the makers of Pair Solitaire that attempts to offer a similar idea to Pair Solitaire in creating a new twist on a classic. Colored Dominoes comes in from above, and you drag them around a four column chamber and drop them into position. Your goal is to match the numbers on the dominos in pairs of two to clear them off the board, a bit like Dr. Mario.
Domino Drop is familiar, while still introducing a lot of differences beginning with not letting the player rotate the dominoes. You have to deal with the domino you’re given in its exact position, so you can’t rotate a horizontal domino to vertical to slide into a gap, or flip it around so a specific number matches. The limitation delivers a whole lot of challenge, and you really need to plan ahead how the board comes together with each domino you place. When you place each domino, it’s fixed to where it lands even if there’s a gap below one half of the domino. Domino Drop emphasizes gravity, so that when you match one half of a domino, the other half then cascades down into any empty spot. The cascade effect lets you build up combos, fill in the gaps, and clear multiple dominos at once.
The core gameplay delivers a very compelling mechanic in which every domino matters, and you need to be cognizant of how the board stacks. It’s quite rewarding to create big combos that drop the overall domino stack to a few rows at the bottom, but mistakes can just as easily build the stack back up. As soon as you lose, you will want to replay to better your score as you start to figure out how the dominoes piece together, and can cascade into one another. There are three game modes included with the main mode, tails mode that emphasizes the blank spaces on dominoes, and a pro mode that doesn’t show you a preview of the next domino. Everything included is highly polished with great detail applied to the game board and dominoes. There’s also a 12 track soundtrack with all music based on classic swing time music.
Domino Drop ($1.99, Universal) delivers an entertaining puzzle challenge that is well worth picking up.