A Hole Lot Of Fun
Sometimes the simplest of ideas breed the greatest results. When it comes to Donut County, this really couldn’t be more accurate. 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 has been vilified by the town of Donut County thanks to numerous holes in the ground which have destroyed half the town. With a basic and amusing plot line nailed, the rest of the game plays out through 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 here with dialogue full of text slang and humorous quips. Accompanying BK through his adventure is a girl called Mira, who quickly destroys BK’s quadcopter and as a result, causes the two to become entangled in a heated feud.
The levels are full of items and objects to drop down your ever-growing hole
Alongside these cut scene segments is the meat of the game itself, which sees you take control of BK, or more specifically a small hole in the ground. The aim here is simple – drop every item in the environment through the hole to move onto the next stage. Using the left analog stick allows you to move this around and the more objects you drop, the larger your hole grows. This in turn allows you to drop larger items with this pattern of gameplay continuing through to the end of each level.
It’s a simple enough idea and the story woven between these sections helps give meaning to what you’re doing rather than just aimlessly destroying environments. Donut County constantly mixes things up too, preventing the gameplay from growing stale and keeps its physic based levels fresh and unique. As you progress through the game, extra layers of challenge are added too, including a catapult you unlock midway through the game which let’s you launch items from your hole into the air.
Some of the physic-based puzzles are really nicely implemented
One level sees you tackle water, which fills up your hole and prevents you from dropping anything until you solve this conundrum. Another sees you play with fire, setting off fireworks or heating items up, and these individual moments combine to create an innovative last level which takes advantage of everything you’ve learnt up to that point, even going so far as to include a boss fight at the end.
Adding to the humour of the game is a Trashopedia, accessible between levels. This little logbook of delights records everything that falls down your hole and annotates it with a clever quip or joke. It ties into the humour of the game perfectly which blankets every facet of this one, from the visuals and level design through to the quirky dialogue and story.
Donut County is bright, vibrant and makes great use of its environments
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 really isn’t much reason to dive back in unless you want to collect all the trophies. These are generally pretty easy to get too but do help pad the game out a little. Even if you do dive back into this one, the unskippable cutscenes are still present making it a little annoying that you can’t skip these on the second run through. Donut County is great fun though 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 offers up a really satisfying feeling of progression. Donut County is quite simply a really well put together game and one of 2018’s biggest surprises – even if it is a little short.
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