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On a Roll – Donut County Review

Donut County is remarkable. Donut County arrested my attention so much that I accidentally burnt my dinner. Donut County is so good that I played it start to finish in one evening. Donut County is what mobile ports of PC games should aspire to be. I suppose you could say, I rather enjoyed Donut County.

Donut County is a treat.


Starring determined girl Mira and her meddlesome raccoon friend BK, Donut County is equal parts an absurdist comedy and a surprisingly involved mystery. There’s this blending of Twin Peaks meets Looney Tunes that works far better than it has any right to. Told mostly in flashbacks, you learn how the citizenry of the titular Donut County ended up beneath the earth, and the scheme against their peaceful habitation. I won’t spoil anything but boy do things escalate quickly.

Like a delicious donut, it’s gone so fast that you’ll mourn its exit, only to start again.

The wonderful gameplay chocolate to Donut County‘s peanut butter story is that for all the jokes and twists, the game itself is strangely soothing. It’s sort of like a reverse Katamari Damacy. With a simple tap and drag, you guide an ever-widening hole around a variety of levels, swallowing up items that help you solve puzzles and devour more and more. Brilliantly, you don’t actually have to keep your finger over the hole, but instead, can control it from wherever you tap on the screen.

Combine this with the methodical nature of about 90% of the puzzles where you’re just swallowing up the town and you get this zen-feeling like when you clean a room. It’s aesthetically pleasing, with smooth low-poly models and a storybook color palette bolstered by some hilarious animations and dynamic physics.

Further selling this chill mood is the sound design. You’ve got some brilliant synth tunes that waft like a breeze, and jibberish lines of dialogue that make your ears tickle. It captures the game’s coastal town tone perfectly, and when moments of tension ratchet things up, the music follows along in lockstep.

Really, the only thing that might jar you is the decision to conclude the game with a very traditional videogame(TM) BOSS FIGHT that, while not bad, feels a tad bit rushed and out of place. It’s like going from 0 to 60 in a SNAP. Not badly executed, but I’m still not sure if this is the ending that –Donut County– needed. That said, the credit sequence was incredibly clever.

I could go on a baker’s dozen more times, but I think you get the picture. Donut County is a gourmet fast food. Like a delicious donut, it’s gone so fast that you’ll mourn its exit, only to start again. Absolutely worth the asking price.

For more on Donut County, please be sure to check out our interview with its creator, Ben Esposito

Our Rating

Pros Cons
One of the best puzzle games of the year. A tonal shift at the end throws things off a little, but it’s a brief interruption.
Rating
9.5/10

Donut County ($4.99, App Store) →

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