Donut County Review: Even for short time, it’s a whole lot of fun.
Played On: PlayStation 4 (Original)
Coming from a “Game Jam,” an ideation session where developers come together to create a game in a short amount of time, Ben Esposito originally came up with the idea for Donut County. It’s interesting to think that Esposito didn’t even plan on making a full game and now with six years of development, did he create a game that embodies all of his hard work? Well it’s definitely fun and has a very colorful and hilarious style that isn’t seen in other games, but lacks an amount of content to feel fully satisfying.
Donut County has its players play as a sinkhole designed to suck down buildings, rattlesnakes, and pretty much anything in the area. While this kind of gameplay seems like it can get old rather quick, it actually get more fun with each new area. It definitely borrows from the Katamari series, but finds a way to use its concept to delve deeper into more puzzle solving mechanics.
These gameplay mechanics, while fun, don’t present much challenge. Honestly, the word “challenge” shouldn’t really be associated with Donut County as none of the 20 levels the game has to offer present much challenge to the player. The answer to most of the game’s puzzles is just sucking everything down the hole. But, this does lead to some fun uses of the environment. Using a catapult to throw frogs in the air and the tails of rattlesnakes to activate levers and press buttons adds to the uniqueness of each level.
Each level, players are introduced to an odd and interesting cast of characters that have humorous interactions with one another as they attempt to figure out where this hole came from. There are some funny quips and reactions from the characters and each has their own level that shows their importance in Donut County.
As a whole, Donut County is just a relaxing experience to be had. It has a great score that really eases player’s minds and it lets players just relax into a game for a little bit. It’s a, roughly, 2 hour experience that many will enjoy if they expect that type of experience.
But if they are not, many will run into the game’s real main crutch in that there isn’t much else to do after that quick two hours. You could replay levels, but there aren’t many new things to experience. Trophies do offer some new experiences when replaying levels, but with the short of easily obtainable trophies there isn’t much else to find. This doesn’t mean that the overall experience isn’t satisfying nor does it mean that the story is hindered by the shortness of the game, but it can feel a little underwhelming from time to time.
Speaking of story, there isn’t too much to say about it as the story is pretty thin and not necessarily the most compelling story. But Donut County never really tries to be anything big and instead focuses more on hilarious dialogue and a fun gameplay loop that rarely gets old. Not to mention, the end boss-battle that Donut County has is probably one of the most fun and unique boss fights I’ve in games in recent history.
Now having left Donut County behind and reflecting on my experience, the only word that fully reflects my feelings is: more. I want to see more from Espisito, whether it’s in more of Donut County or not. Donut County shows the potential for Espisito to create laughably great characters, fun gameplay mechanics, and has unique ideas for the industry. Hopefully there’s more to come for Donut County and if not, it was fun while it lasted.