This review is based on the iOS and Playstation 4 versions of Donut County.
The best things in life are generally simple: taking a walk in nice weather, enjoying your lunch or sleeping in on a long weekend. For casual games, the same principle applies as titles like the Katamari series, Tetris & Puyo Puyo have become staples of accessible gaming for all ages.
Donut County excels at delivering quick hits of fun with a really simple premise: you have a hole on the ground: the more that falls in, the larger it gets & the more items you can drop in. Not since Katamari has a game captured the visual delight of snatching up increasingly large items from a stray brick to an enormous house in the span of a few minutes while bouncing around cheerfully bright worlds.
Building on a concept that came up during a game jam, developer Ben Esposito has created an easy to grasp & not that much harder to master game: the difficulty curve doesn’t scale up as it does with other puzzle games. Officially described as “A story-filled physics puzzle game where you play as a hole in the ground”, Donut County is a linear experience that pair small game worlds with rapidly changing environments to tell the tale of a town under siege by a raccoon squad bent on collecting the world’s trash. The occasional cameo of high powered drones or urban gridlock pop up in & around an Animal Crossing-esque town that you’re tasked with saving using the power of gravity + an increasingly active hole…!
The audio has a fun mix of smacking, plopping & whooshing sounds that fit tightly with the visual style. Background tracks are soothing melody loops while the character dialogue is full on Charlie Brown parental squawking that comes across as thematically appropriate.
The iOS version is as equally enjoyable as the PlayStation 4 version, the cartoon graphics still pop out of the screen & the quirky animations still engaging across different screen sizes. The only minor frustration on mobile is obscuring part of the screen as the hole is clicked & dragged around with my finger, but it’s a common challenge with mobile games; having a dedicated navigation point at a corner lacks the precision that some of the trickier puzzles require.
Donut County is a fun & distinctly styled game that deserves a place on everyone’s digital library. The complete experience is fairly short (I finished it on a short plane flight) but the levels are fun to revisit & filling out the complete Trashopedia provides a rich stack of quirky, pun filled descriptions to giggle over. The experience is equally fun in full HD on a console or the confines of a mobile screen, it’s worth checking out for gamers of all types.
Have a Garbage Day!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars