Donut County (Switch) - Review
Donut County is a wacky game with an even wackier concept. Play as a raccoon controlling sinkholes that grow bigger as more falls into it via an app. The game is essentially a physics-based puzzle game that combines a wide variety of elements, topped off with witty dialogue and a sprinkle of concentrated joy.
The gameplay mainly consists of controlling a moving hole that grows the more that it devours. It’s strangely addictive as the satisfaction of clearing an area via a moving endless pit is oddly calming. But you can’t just go for anything from the get go. Oftentimes, there’s a certain order to proceed based on the size of each item. This makes Donut County less of a mindless world destroyer and more of a strategic… world destroyer.
From one level to the next, the game does a fantastic job at keeping things fresh. In one segment, there are puddles of water that when you go over them, the hole fills with water and it can no longer make other objects fall into it. To combat this, you need to bring the hole in front of the bird who will then drink the water out of the hole – Genius! However, rules from level-to-level can often feel inconsistent, with one action being doable in one and not so in the next.
In handheld mode, the game can be played by using the touch screen. Whilst it certainly is a nice option if you’re needing to do so as it works perfectly fine with those controls, using the Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller is certainly a much better experience. However, controlling through menus is always frustrating when you need to use a cursor, in which case the touch screen is a much more intuitive option.
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If you’re familiar with our reviews, you’d know that we love a good dose of HD Rumble. Donut County does a great job with this, often recreating the feeling of certain situations as they occur, but without going overboard.
Despite Donut County only lasting for two hours, I still found it to be quite repetitive. When the initial excitement of the quirky mechanics fade, the new gameplay options that get introduced don’t seem to do enough to mix things up.
The fact that the entire premise of Donut County is based around a raccoon who controls a moving sinkhole via a phone app is hysterical! The idea is so wacky and creative that I would really love to meet the person who initially fathomed this concept. I figure that would be an interesting coffee-date.
Most of Donut County is a recount, meaning that it takes place after everything has fallen into the sinkhole and the townsfolk are sitting around a campfire regaling the events that lead them there. These musings serve to give you context to each segment of gameplay, which is an absolutely brilliant way to progress with the game.
The dialogue is witty and joyful, often using teenage slang words like “sick” and “kewl” (well, writing that sentence sure made me feel old).
Graphics / Art Direction
The simplicity in Donut County’s graphical art direction absolutely plays to its strengths. The characters are endearing and the lack of shadows makes the world more vibrant and colorful. Donut County is just such an aesthetically pleasing game to look at.
Music / Sound Design
Donut County’s soundtrack is wacky and full of personality, exactly what you’d expect from a game with a premise such as this. It fits the bill perfectly, often making you smile along the way.
However with all that said, not much of it remained memorable, but it certainly did its job at the time.
Final Score: 78%
Donut County is such a unique game that I cannot remember ever seeing another game quite like it. It’s characters, dialogue, art direction and overall presentation is nothing but cheerful and lighthearted, a great game to play if you’re stressed or feeling down in the dumps.