Many videogames feature holes a hero inconveniently falls down. They’re annoying. You want to banish them forever. But in Donut County, you get to be the hole, sucking everything into your circular maw and taking it deep underground. It turns out this is quite a lot of fun.
Your escapades occur in the titular Donut County, a place populated by quite a lot of bipedal cartoon critters, a number of which are raccoons. Rather suspiciously, people have started to disappear since the raccoons moved in – and you soon discover why.
Donut order one
The game’s star raccoon, BK, is supposed to run a store that sells donuts. Only when someone orders one, he just sends them a hole. Said hole is controlled by his tablet, and sucks everything around it into oblivion. This is where you come in – controlling a kind of cross between a sinkhole and vacuum cleaner.
Guiding the hole is dead simple – you just drag it about. But the order in which you attempt to swallow items is important, because the more you eat, the larger your hole grows. So although at first you’ll barely be able to gobble a blade of grass, a few minutes later you’ll be gulping down houses and mountains.
It’s satisfying stuff, not least because the game is full of lovely touches that keep your interest. Early on, you suck in corn and then some fire. Popcorn subsequently explodes from the hole. Often, you need to figure out cunning ways of getting to out-of-reach items, to keep the story moving.
Said story is also pretty great. Frequent cut scenes feature Donut County residents. Trapped underground, they recount their tales, and blame BK for their ills. The script is genuinely funny, with the raccoon offering plenty of snark – on being told he’s gross and loves trash, BK snaps back: “You love trash – otherwise, why would you make so much of it?”
A bit shallow
If there’s any criticism (bar a weirdly arcade-oriented final level that feels oddly out of place), it’s that many of the game’s smart ideas are transient in nature. When you find yourself armed with a catapult or a frog to belch from your hole, that feels more a sketch than a mechanism that’s going to be expanded on.
This makes Donut County come across as a series of nice moments rather than a deep, challenging puzzling experience. But that’s fine – not every puzzler needs to smash out your brains with a brick. So approach Donut County knowing you’ll be quietly and pleasantly entertained being a hole for a few hours and you’ll think it a fiver well spent.