Game Review: Donut County

Release date: 2018
Version played: Xbox Series X in 2021

Created and developed by Ben Esposito, and published by Annapurna Interactive (Maquette), Donut County is an arcade puzzle game. As a group of wacky characters sit around a campfire, they recount how they ended up in their current situation as players play though those events, controlling a literal hole in the ground. As the hole moves, every object it swallows makes the hole grow larger.

+ the core gameplay is exciting and unique for all of two minutes before quickly losing steam. A few minor variations on the main concept come too late in the already very short story to be of any real benefit

– the story is weak at best, seemingly padded solely by memes and ‘wacky’ speak between ‘wacky’ characters. There is no real escalation of events to the expected conclusion I had; the fact you start each level as a small hole, and not instead as a ‘donut’ large enough to eat an entire county is disappointing to say the least.
– the gameplay never advances from the very simple ‘small hole eats small objects to get bigger and eat bigger objects’. There is almost no strategy to any of it. For example, there is no way to swallow large objects before eating the smaller ones, so every level is basically just mentally sorting things by size and moving toward them one after the other. It’s literally a game for babies

> when I first saw a trailer, and almost on visuals alone, before playing this I compared it to What The Golf? as a ‘short burst’ arcade game. That is not the case.

Should you play this game: No. This was the first game I chose to play from Game Pass, after recently upgrading to that on Xbox, and what a disappointment. I thought it looked cute, but it was just a short, repetitive and boring waste of my time.

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