App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Donut County is a game about holes. Quite literally, you pilot a hole around environments and swallow up everything in sight. Mechanically, it feels like an off-shoot of a Katamari Damacy game, but Donut County is more than just a zany physics-puzzler. It’s an adventure that is touching, creative, funny, and insightful at almost every turn.
The world of Donut County is a bit surreal. There are anthropomorphic creatures living alongside humans and donut shops that—for some reason—spawn holes that engulf everything around them whenever someone orders from them. One of these donut shops is staffed by BK, a raccoon, and it’s his holes you pilot throughout your sojourn inDonut County.
Every level in Donut County starts with someone ordering a donut, which allows for a small hole to emerge nearby. With this small hole, you can swipe around the screen to move your hole under things and swallow them to get bigger. Over time, you grow big enough to swallow just about everything in sight, and doing so usually marks the end of the level.
Donut County’s mechanics are simple, though they’re made enjoyable by the game’s fantastic art and creative level design. More compelling than its gameplay though is Donut County’s narrative. The game tells the story of two friends, Mira and BK as they try to undo all of the problems caused by the holes that swallow everything in the county.
It’s a bit of a silly story given the game’s bizarre premise, but Donut County’s charming writing and intriguing plot turns make for a game that’s hard to put down once you start playing it. At the outset of the story, you may just be laughing at the goofiness of it all, but by the time the credit roll, Donut County definitely leaves you with some food for thought.
A whole hole
Donut County is a special game because of how extremely detailed every aspect of it is. From the simple—though well-executed—gameplay to the music in each level, it feels like a complete work in the way that lots of games typically don’t. This is all to say it might not feel like the most ambitious, complicated, or lengthy game out there, but everything that Donut County has to offer feels like it has a purpose.
There’s no filler to Donut County, and all of its component parts come to a head in the game’s final stages in a way that feels like the full realization of the game’s mechanics and story. Nothing repeats itself, and no stretch of the game makes you do a bunch of stuff just to get to the next plot point. This is a simple thing, but it’s something that so few games actually do, which only makes Donut County feel all the more special.
The bottom line
Despite being a game about holes, Donut County is a remarkably complete experience. It’s got the charm and silliness of something like Katamari Damacy, but with some added depth, interesting character work, and compelling storytelling to boot. This is an absolute must play.