I may have mentioned it too many times but I love casual little Indie games that make you escape reality completely while tasking you with trivial tasks. In some games, you write letters, open an art exhibit, or climb a mountain. In other games, you spray graffiti on walls or you visit your hometown. Point is, games take you on journeys and it’s what I love about them really. No matter how short or trivial they may be, the ways they’re implemented and presented are what makes them so memorable. And especially with how the world has been lately, it can be hard to feel like you fell into a hole… but games can help you in those cases to distract you for a while or to swallow everything as a whole. In Donut County, you can swallow the world, “cleaning up” the area in the process in some simple yet satisfying puzzle levels!
Developer: Ben Esposito Publisher: Annapurna Interactive Genre: Casual, Indie, Physics-based, Puzzle, Adventure Release Date: August 28th, 2018 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC (Mac, Win), Switch, Android, iOS, PS4, XB1 Copy was purchased.
Donut County tells the story of two friends, Mira and BK, as well as a whole town that got swallowed by BK’s hole. BK, after all, is a hole-driving racoon that ends up getting carried away in an attempt of earning stupid prizes. Because of that, some problems may have been solved… but a plethora more problems were created! That’s especially true now as the town’s community of anthropomorphic animals has been placed in a makeshift camp 999ft below the surface! But Mira has a plan!
As the different animals tell their stories, you’re tasked with making your hole bigger… and it gets quite big, in fact! Eat stones, bricks, snakes, trash, cars, umbrellas, chairs, people, houses, and eventually swallow everything in an attempt of cleaning up the world! It’s kind of like Katamari Damacy in a way but with a hole instead of a huge ball… and you’re not under any pressure. It’s delightful and not stressful and the game’s charming instead of going for those crazy vibes that Katamari has going for it. It’s weirdly zen to have the world succumb to your huge hole… and cleaning up each level is surprisingly fun as well, mostly because of the puzzles. In one area, for instance, I needed to swallow ignited firework rockets to progress by shooting things with those. In other levels, I’d make use of similar mechanisms based on items in the vicinity.
And the story-telling and pacing are quite well-done as well. The main story is told through the lens of the different townspeople, each talking about what they were going through before the holes came… and then you may have to text with people in-game and it’s quite simplistic, yet fun? I liked the dialogues a lot and it’s all incredibly light-hearted and entertaining, in my opinion.
The only issues I faced while playing the game were so small that they’re hardly worth noting, in my opinion. I mean, Donut County is physics-based, resulting in some fiddliness from time to time… the Sound tends to get a bit too loud at times for no apparent reason… and well, I would have loved a free play mode of sorts after beating the game so that I could create the biggest hole in the world or something? Or maybe a level creator. It’d be a lot of fun to play more levels because the game is incredibly short.
Overall, I had a blast with Donut County and while it isn’t the longest game in the world with a playtime of about two hours, it certainly is a game with a lot of interesting puzzles and ideas. The humour is on point and I love the concepts for mechanics and how it all was executed. Overall, I had a blast with this game and I can really recommend it to all fans of casual little puzzle games out there!