Every once in a while, I just want to play a fun and simple game that doesn’t require me to think much, preferably a game that I can beat in a couple of hours.
Donut County, which I recently played on Nintendo Switch, is a great example of this.
Developed by Ben Esposito, Donut County is about a raccoon named BK who works at a donut shop with a hidden agenda. Instead of delivering actual donuts, BK controls a hole in the ground that steals people’s trash. He does this so he can earn points and get himself a quadcopter drone.
There’s only one problem – those who get swallowed by the hole get sent off underground – and BK is more than happy to clean up the town so he can get his quadcopter.
Fast forward, the entire town has been swallowed and everyone including BK is stuck 999 feet underground. The townsfolk confront BK and the story unfolds in a series of flashbacks as you clear each level.
The gameplay is simple and addictive. For each level, you start off with a small hole to swallow little things like rocks and grass. Every time an item gets swallowed up, the hole slowly gets bigger to the point where it can swallow houses and wipe the entire town clean.
You do this for about 10 levels, with a slight variation in each level in terms of puzzles and challenges to spice things up. For example, you can catapult things back out of the hole to solve puzzles in creative ways – or just destroy stuff. The game lets you do that too.
Some other puzzles require you to set fireworks off and make soup while avoiding bugs. On the whole, the puzzles are fairly intuitive and don’t require much effort to figure out.
There’s no time limit, so you’re free to experiment on each level to see what works. It’s a relaxing game that anyone can play.
In addition to its zen-like gameplay, a part of Donut County’s charm lies in its humorous writing. An example of this is the ‘Trashopedia’, a record of sorts which contains a list of trash collected by BK.
Each item has a brief description written by BK, such as a measuring cup (‘Turns food into Math’) and a lounge chair (‘A chair that wishes it was a bed’). BK also seems to have an odd fascination with aliens, judging by several entries in the Trashopedia.
In terms of characterisation, BK is arguably the most entertaining character among the cast. Although everything is obviously his fault, BK insists that he hasn’t done anything wrong.
From BK’s perspective, he has “reunited feuding brothers, solved a civil servant’s snake problems, and given a child the gift of flight”. If anything, he’s a “hero”.
It’s a joy to play from BK’s perspective as he wreaks havoc in town and tries to patch things up later in the game.
Overall, Donut County is a game that lets you play as the bad guy and have fun while you’re at it.
Is it wrong to send people off underground just to steal their trash and get a quadcopter? Yes. Is it fun? Absolutely, yes.
It’s a game that is best enjoyed as it is. You won’t find a deep storyline or a groundbreaking gameplay mechanic, and if you’re okay with that, you’d probably enjoy Donut County.
In my case, I just wanted to play as a quadcopter-obsessed raccoon and wipe an entire town clean, and that’s exactly what I got. I’d recommend Donut County to anyone looking for a fun, simple game that they can beat in a couple of hours.
Donut County is available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Windows, Mac OSX and iOS.