When you first hear the words Donut County, it’s hard to imagine what a video game with that title might entail. So when I hopped onto a PC and pressed start, I didn’t know what I was getting into. As it turns out, Donut County is a hilarious and outrageous game about a literal hole in the ground that grows as it envelops more and more. The idea for it came out of a game jam, where developers pitch ideas and then go execute those ideas in 24 or 48 hours. Ben Esposito, Donut County‘s creator, thought this idea was so good, though, that he is working to finish it. It’s ridiculous, but also super satisfying and even has an oddly compelling little story.
Donut county is a quirky little town with definite LA outskirts influences and full of Animal Crossing-esque characters who all have very distinct personalities, as well as some good, albeit ridiculous dialogue. The dialogue is done similar to Animal Crossing as well, with the characters making little noises instead of actually speaking. The art style is simple as much as it is pastel, which helps give it an offbeat vibe, especially when coupled with the perky, upbeat music. The whole vibe of Donut County is really something special because it makes your eyebrow go up in slight confusion while simultaneously making you smile because you know something totally stupid is about to happen. It’s a great feeling to get from a game and it’s exactly what Esposito was going for, as he told Hardcore Gamer.
The story of the game is built as a frame story, told by the residents of the town that have been sucked down underground by the ravenous hole. Each member of the town tells their story of how they ended up being swallowed up by said hole, and you then play through that person’s story, which just has you swallowing up everything in sight as you drag the hole around the map. And that’s pretty much the whole game. There’s more to the story, of course — you’ll eventually learn where the hole came from and what its purpose in Donut county is, but the game itself is simply going from level to level and clearing everything out. It seems all of the citizens are blaming the new girl in town who runs a donut shop, or maybe the raccoons. I don’t know what they have against raccoons, but some of them think it’s all their fault.
So by no means is Donut County a puzzle game. There’s no real challenge at all, really. Your sole purpose is to swallow up everything that you can in the order that allows you to do so. But even with the lack of challenge, the game is still a lot of fun. This is helped massively by the great art style, the quirky humor, and the story that, from what I’ve seen so far, effectively takes something completely ridiculous and makes it a mystery that I actually want to know more about.
Donut County is planned for release on Steam and iOS. For more on the game, you can check out their website.