Who would of thought playing as a hole could be so much fun?
If someone says a game is a puzzle game, you usually have a good idea of what to expect. There could be deduction puzzles such as Access Denied (reviewed here). There could be more 3D type puzzles, such as the Portal games. You can even have adventure games with convoluted solutions to getting past a goat (Broken Sword!).
But a puzzle game where you are a hole? It took me a while to warm up to the idea. Even the trailer doesn’t really explain the game in such a way that you ‘have’ to try it. Check it out:
But I bought it on Switch and it has been sitting there until I had time to sit and play it. And with most of my gaming all packed up and a tired brain, it seemed like a good time to try it.
And I am really happy that I did 🙂
Don’t let the ‘puzzle’ aspect of Donut County put you off – this is a fun little experience. The goal is to almost always just to drop everything on the map down the hole.
You start each level as a small hole, and as things are dropped down the hole it gets bigger. And bigger. Eventually, you will be consuming entire buildings!
While you need to work out how to get to some parts, at no point does the game put you in a state where you will lose. Just keep at it, and you will get through the level.
Because Donut County is so simple, there really isn’t much more that can be said about the gameplay itself. It’s a game you knock over in an afternoon, with a semi-traditional ‘boss battle’ at the end of the game.
Eating everything on the screen and seeing how the hole interacts with things though is calming. It’s got a similar zen state as Tetris in this way, and there are two levels in particular I can see myself replaying just for this feeling.
Even though you can drag the hole around the screen with the touchscreen, I used the Switch Joy-cons and it behaved pretty well. For really fine movement the analog sticks moved a little too much. The end result was normally a fun flick of something across the screen, so it wasn’t frustrating at all.
The real fun of Donut County is hidden in the humor and story of the game. Everything you have eaten ends up at the bottom of the hole, and between levels, the story slowly unfolds as to how everything has come to be.
It’s far from an epic tale of intrigue and suspense, but almost every story put a smile on my face and made me want to see what happened next. There is even a little redemption arc for BK 🙂
Another fun little part is the Trashpedia. Between levels, all the trash you have collected in the hole gets an entry added to this tome.
Reading the descriptions of the items from a Racoon’s point of view is really fun, and worth the minute or so to flick through the new entries 🙂
Even some of the level design has elements of humor to them – but I will let you discover those ones for yourself 🙂
Donut County is a fun little diversion that I can see appealing to a lot of different people. The new elements are introduced in a logical manner, and I never felt frustrated with the game at all.
I enjoyed this on the Switch, and it felt like the best platform for it. I can see it working well on mobile, but the required touch screen controls I think would work against it overall.
On PS4 I just looked up it has a Platinum trophy as well. I don’t think I will rebuy it just for that, but if that is something that would sway you think about it 🙂
Basically, playing Donut County for an afternoon where I was physically tired was a fun experience, and totally worth it. It’s one of those games that I will most likely play again just because of how good it feels to gobble everything up with a hole!
Until next time,
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