Review: Donut County

Donut County is what happens when ridiculously cute animals are brought together with a unique gameplay mechanic that allows players, as BK the raccoon using an in-game app, to control a hole in the ground that grows as things fall into it. Think of it as sort of an inverse Katamari Damacy physics game where small objects fall into the hole and make it grow larger, allowing for bigger and bigger items to drop in.

BK the raccoon is a gamer who is trying to level up his game character to level 10 so that he can unlock a sweet quad copter. In order to level up, BK delivers a donut hole to each animal that has requested a donut. The story is told from a bit of an in medias res format as each level is presented to players after the townsfolk discuss how it is their particular part of the city has ended up almost one thousand feet below the surface.

Delivering donuts to all the townsfolk eventually causes a bit of an intervention between BK and the rest of the animals who don’t particularly like living so far underground, ultimately leading to a satisfying conclusion and even a legitimate boss battle, all built around the simple mechanic of a hole that gets bigger as it gobbles stuff up.

The levels are a simple joy to visit, evolving with complexity over the course of the game. At one point BK is forced to upgrade and install a catapult into his hole, which allows for certain items, once engulfed, to be shot back up into the air. Certain levels require objects not laying directly on the ground to be touched, so having the ability to squirt water up in the air, fire a frog high up so it can eat flies, or combine and manipulate objects in a variety of other ways using nothing but a hole, adds different puzzly interactions to the central gameplay mechanic.

Each level has a unique theme as well, which adds to the overall enjoyment of the game world. One level is lit with only a few candles, which need to be swallowed by the hole in order for it to grow larger, forcing players to stumble blindly around with the hole until enough objects have been engulfed. Another stage has chameleons hidden throughout the environment. Some are big enough that their blinking eyes are obvious, and when the hole initially moves under them, the large animals scamper away. The whimsy and humor of this game comes directly from these little surprises found throughout.

Right alongside the whimsical art style, the music fits perfectly into the quirky nature of the world. The wonderful banter and interplay between BK and the other animals only adds to the charm. Upon successfully completing each level, a Trashopedia lists each item that has been swallowed by the hole. Descriptions in the Trashopedia are humorous, written from the perspective of a raccoon and its relatability of useful garbage versus annoying objects.

Donut County is a treat of a game, perfect for the quick five to ten minute session or a complete single sitting run through in just a couple hours. I played it on my iPhone 7 Plus and finished in approximately 3-4 hours, plus there is an option to replay each level or start a new game (although there isn’t a new game plus option that I could find).

BuyIt

Game Info:
Platform: Reviewed on iOS, also on PC and PS4
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Developer: Ben Esposito
Release Date: 8/28/2018
Genre: Adventure
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1

Source: Game purchased by reviewer.

Buy From: Donut County is available on the iTunes App Store for $4.99 as well as Steam, GOG, and PlayStation Store for $12.99.

About the Author

Tim has been playing video games for more than 20 years. He manages to find time to game in between raising three kids and working as a network administrator. Follow Tim on Twitter @freemantim.