Which game of dominos do you play? Are you one of those people who solely know the blocking variant or do you play Muggins (multiples of five to score)?
It’s an important question for determining whether Voodomino will appeal as it offers only the first, and simpler, of the two variants, and while it does add a few diversions onto the basic rules it can’t escape the fact that the core game is shallow.
Knock ‘em down
If you don’t know Dominos at all, then let me fill you in.
Two players start with seven tiles in their hand. These tiles are split into halves with a number on either side. The idea is to place the tiles down so that the numbers match up with what’s on the board, with the ultimate goal of ridding your hand of tiles first.
While Muggins is all about scoring points from multiples of five, the simple blocker variant solely relies on reducing the numbers available for the opponent to play.
If a player can’t place down a tile, he's forced to pick another from the boneyard (the tile bag) and see if that one fits. If it doesn’t, he misses a turn.
Voodomino attempts to add a little more to the basic game by adding special squares around the board that bestow upon the person who places a tile on them a special card.
These cards can be played at any point during the player’s turn and perform actions such as removing an end piece or moving twice in a turn.
They’re an interesting idea and are intended to add a much needed tactical layer to the game, but the effects are often overpowered (placing twice in a turn is essentially game over), and it’s hard to consciously aim for one due to the very nature of game.
Live and let die
The main gameplay may be disappointing, but the presentation of the package is definitely a highlight.
As you can guess from the name, the presentation is wrapped up in voodoo-like motifs such as voodoo dolls, Baron Samadai styled top hats, and curving snakes.
The controls when placing a domino down on the board are a little odd – with left and right skipping across the board rather than moving relative to where your cursor is – but as there’s no pressure to place the piece it doesn’t impact negatively on the game.
As a title that simulates the blocking variant of Dominos, Voodomino is a solid and well presented game.
As a mobile game, however, the lack of any advanced tactics and the over-powered specials keep it from being much more than a diverting way to spend a few minutes.