A Hole Lot Of Fun
Sometimes the simplest of ideas breed the greatest results. When it comes to Donut County, this couldn’t be truer. With simple controls, a relaxing soundtrack and a genuinely amusing story, Donut County is a charming little game and one of 2018’s biggest surprises.
The premise is simple – you control a raccoon called BK who’s been vilified by the town of Donut County thanks to his holes in the ground which has destroyed half the town. From here, the rest of the game plays out in two distinct areas. The first sees you huddled around a campfire with various inhabitants from the town lamenting BK’s destructive streak. Each character has a distinct personality with dialogue full of “lols” and humorous quips. Accompanying BK is a girl called Mira who’s destroyed BK’s quadcopter and the two become entangled in a bit of a feud.
The levels are full of items and objects to drop down your ever-growing hole
The other side of the game sees you take control of BK as you begin each level as a small hole, with the aim simply being to drop everything in the environment to move onto the next stage. You move the hole with the left analog stick and the more objects you drop, the larger your hole grows. This in turn allows you to drop bigger items with this pattern of gameplay continuing through to the end of the level.
It’s a simple enough premise and the story woven between these levels helps give meaning to what you’re doing rather than just aimlessly destroying environments. The way Donut County constantly mixes things up and keeps its physic-based levels fresh is partly the reason the game is as impressive as it is. As you progress through the game, extra layers of challenge are added. You unlock a catapult midway through the game which let’s you launch items into the air. Water prevents you from dropping items down your hole and fire can be combined with fireworks and other items to destroy bits of the environment. These moments work really well and lead up to an innovative last level which takes advantage of everything you’ve learnt up to that point. Even going so far as to include the surprising inclusion of a boss fight at the end.
Some of the physic-based puzzles are really nicely implemented
If there’s one gripe here though it comes from the length of the game. I was able to complete this in a little over 2 hours and when you’re done there isn’t much reason to dive back in. Unless you want to collect all the trophies of course which are generally pretty easy to get but do help pad the game out a little.
Adding to the humour of the game is a Trashopedia. This clever little logbook records everything that falls down your hole and annotates it with a clever quip or joke. When you finish the level, you’re given the opportunity to see what you’ve collected and read the joke made about each item. It ties into the humour here which runs rampant through the game but never feels overbearing or forced. This is partly the reason the game is as successful as it is and combined with the simple gameplay on offer, make this Indie game well worth the money.
Donut County is bright, vibrant and makes great use of its environments
It’s worth mentioning that once you’ve finished the game you can go back through and complete each individual level although the unskippable cutscenes and dialogue sections are still present here making it a little annoying that you can’t skip these. Having said that, Donut County is great fun and genuinely a game for the whole family. My 5 year old daughter had a blast playing this and, like me, wished it was a bit longer.
Despite its short length, Donut County is a brilliantly polished, refined little Indie game. Its premise is simple, well executed and incredibly addictive. There’s something profoundly satisfying with dropping items into a hole and seeing this expand and grow as the level goes on gives you a really satisfying feeling of progression. Donut County is quite simply a really well put together game and one of 2018’s biggest surprises.
- Verdict - 7.5/107.5/10