Donut County Review
Final Score 8/10
Have you ever wanted to hear the story of a talking raccoon who works at a donut shop? What if that raccoon had an app on his phone that could summon a hole in the earth that swallowed up everything in sight?
(See trailer for Donut County above)
Well, that is pretty much the premise of Donut County. Ever since this game was initially announced, I was completely enamored by it and put it on my anticipated list for this year. The art style is so fun, colorful, and filled with a child like innocence. There is something lovable about the talking raccoon named BK who has just gotten himself and the entire town in trouble. To this surprise, the donut ordering app summons a destructive hole in the Earth. (Can't make this stuff up folks.) Plus the concept itself, of a puzzle based game where swallowing up different map elements grows a hole larger and larger until it eats everything is just oddly satisfying to watch and pretty unique. One of the best parts of playing indie games is seeing the unique gameplay mechanics that different developers can come up with. The popular mobile game hole.io had a similar premise, but while beating Donut County to market, Donut County had this idea first and implements it with more detail and love. In donut county, there is a three-demensionality to the hole mechanic that better shows how things fall into it. Plus the game, introduces more than just swallowing things endlessly.
Players must use the hole to solve puzzles as depending on the map, swallowing certain items can bring abilities, like swallowing something on fire releases smoke that rises a hot air baloon, or a flash light gives the hole a beam of light to illuminate a dark map. The different locations, and items swallowed, gives a very creative variety to what could be an otherwise repetitive gameplay system. Plus, interwoven to the levels is a full story. While the writing in this game leave something to be desired, at times the dialogue is pretty poor, it almost felt intentionally simplistic adding to its innocent atmosphere. The main character is a cartoon raccoon after all. Despite that, the story is something you may find yourself skipping through, but mostly because you are excited to get to the next level. It does set up a funny story of how the entirety of the town is eventually swallowed up and you get to see mounds of destroyed town down in the “underworld” where all the characters talk about the scenario they are in. Whether you enjoy the story or not, the gameplay itself is what is truly charming.
I found myself wanting to keep playing the game to see what the next level would bring. The game is available on iOS, PS4, and Mac/PC so you have multiple platforms to try it on. The mobile version runs fine and regardless of platform is a must try for any fans of the puzzle genre. This is not a serious game, nor something meant to get the blood flowing, but if you are looking for a simple relaxing puzzle game with cute cartoon creatures, then go for it.