“Donut County” Is a Perfect Game For People Who Need a Break From Their Rage

I have been watching people play a lot of hard video games this month. Dark Souls, Bloodborne, PUBG. A cool thing about these games is that they make some people very mad when they play them. Not everybody, but some people. It takes a real go-getter to see a couple hours of downtime stretching out ahead of themself and think, “Man oh man, I cannot wait to get angry!” I admire that kind of fire. Me though, I just can’t do it. I can’t handle those games. I don’t need another anger hobby, I have Twitter. Give me easy games, bud. That’s what I want.

If you also like easy games, I am about to make your day! Donut County is the easiest game I have ever played, and it’s also a real nice time! Look at these neat colorful graphics. Look at these cute animal people. Look at this hole!

Look at it!

Speaking of holes, this is a game in which you play as a hole. As a hole, your job is to make things fall into you. It’s like eating, but with a plot. The plot is that a raccoon summoned a hole and now things are falling into it. It doesn’t ever make much sense but it makes the exact amount of sense that was intended, I think. The raccoon sucks things into a hole to fulfill a hole filling quota, then his friend gets very upset about how he has sucked so many townsfolk into a hole that she steals his hole and sucks him into it. Then, from within the hole, they concoct a plan to use the hole to suck some other things down into the hole with them, so that they can get out of the hole. But if your entire town has been sucked into a hole, what is really even the point of getting out of the hole? That is a moral dilemma you’ll need to solve for yourself.

That’s it. That’s the plot.

The way the game works is that everybody who has fallen into the hole has a story to tell about how they wound up in the hole in the first place. You act out that story by being a hole, and dropping down small things like grass and soda cans and then bigger things like cinder blocks and beach balls and then the main characters of this game and then every single object in the immediate vicinity. The more you eat, the bigger, and therefore better, you get. A big hole is inarguably better at being a hole than a small hole is. I think we can all agree on that.

It feels like a very simple, not quite as satisfying Katamari Damacy. As you progress to later levels, there are new mechanics introduced organically that you have to figure out on your own, but nothing ever gets too complicated. Figuring out what you have to do to maximize your hole potential in a particular level always feels like “Ah. Neat.” (In another Katamari-like nod, you also get to check out what kind of trash you’ve collected after each level.) That’s really all there is to it, and it might honestly not be enough for a lot of people. The gameplay is consistently fun, but definitely not super deep. The only way to lose is if you run into a bug where an object flies just out of the playable space so you can’t suck it down into your self-hole. Then you just restart the level and all is well. (I ran into this bug exactly once.)

An Important PSA.

It’s a game that could very comfortably be for kids. Maybe it even is for kids. But the writing feels like it’s for me, and for other people in this exact age of the internet. It speaks a very specific language that felt right on time when I played it on Tuesday, August 28th 2018, but might already be out of date by the time this review is posted, because what even is time anymore. It’s definitely meme-ish. I liked that. I like to be in a joke. But if you think that, like, “Puppers are so last year” or something along those lines, you might still like this game because you’ll get to feel superior and more with-it than the writers. Or you might hate it.

Progress, but at what cost?

I really liked this game. It doesn’t shoot for the moon. It’s a fun little story built around a handful of solid and satisfying mechanics. It doesn’t run on too long. For $15, the two-hour playtime is maybe a little on the short side, but it ended when it should have ended. There’s no padding. The story bits are short and charming, the levels are short and charming, the boss fight is not a massive annoyance. Everything is intuitive and nice to look at.I would recommend this game for people who do not want to get angry, people who want to feel nice with very little effort, and people who would love to be a hole. I would also recommend it for actual children.

Donut County is currently available for Windows and Mac, Playstation 4, and the iOS app store.

Do you have what it takes to win?


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Sarah lives in the Boston area and plays a lot of video games. Her interests are cats, bragging, and foods that can be eaten lying down. She has too many sneakers and not enough pants.

sarah has written 30 articles for us.

11 Comments

  1. I want to play this game a hole lot. The world seems cruller than usual and I donut want to think about it (sorry).

  2. Liz

    This sounds like an absolute delight. I’ve been replaying The Road Not Taken, a puzzle game with a fairly strong existential theme and cute graphics. Somehow the very direct way they deal with mortality and unfair social structures (while you’re tossing deer, shrubbery, and forest spirits) is soothing when the world’s a mess. Also it employs the singular they, you can marry whatever gender(s) you’d like and as many folks as you’d like too. All the queer/poly-ness probably helps.

  3. This game has been my life for 20 minutes at a time! It’s cheeky, cute, and just perfect. I have hopes for a sequel or dlc at least since it has a lot of buzz and is on many platforms.

    I was surprised in a good way to see it posted here but the game is kind of queer in a way. Insofar as it has a protagonist at all, she is a brown woman. All kinds of creatures are represented. A hole is the ultimate yonic symbol, and so on. Plus it always made me happy because every new chapter starts with the townsfolk commiserating down the hole, kind of like we all are in the world today. A+!!

  4. Bex

    “Me though, I just can’t do it. I can’t handle those games. I don’t need another anger hobby, I have Twitter. Give me easy games, bud. That’s what I want.” RELATABLE AF. i make games for a living, the kind that are designed to frustrate people (for clarity i do not design them), and i honestly don’t get the appeal. my downtime is not for being frustrated! enough of my life is that already!

    this game sounds exactly like a thing i want – if it was on switch it would be perfect, but as it is i’m gonna have to find time to sit at my pc because being a hole is honestly goals

  5. I was way into this game as a way-dialed-down Katamari – I love Katamari but MAN it is intense, some of those levels get me really aggro. Also, I think the soundtrack (on Spotify) is fantastic. I’ve gotten so much listening out of the soundtrack that it’s probably stretched my $15/2hr playthrough to a solid 15 hours…hah.

  6. “I don’t need another anger hobby, I have Twitter.” – This spoke to me.

    Also, tag yourself; I’m the Trash King.

  7. rbxcodes

    I don’t need another anger hobby,

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