Sometimes the best ideas are born out of a moment of comedy. And if Donut County, a Steam downloadable game, is anything to go by, occasionally a good idea can come out of a game developer Twitter parody account focused on spouting off insane game concepts.
How to Download Donut County
Donut County can be downloaded from Steam or GOG.com. To start downloading click on the Download link below the review. There is also the original soundtrack – available for download separately.
The Game Review
Inspired by a parody account of legendary game developer Peter Molyneux (of Fable and Black and White fame), Ben Esposito created Donut County. It is a game involving a hole of ever-increasing size and premised on the puzzle-solving concepts introduced in Sony’s insane Katamari Damacy.
Unlike Katamari Damacy, the hole increases in size as it consumes objects rather than attaching objects to itself as in the sphere-based gameplay of the Katamari series. Released for iOS, Mac OS, Windows PCs and the PlayStation 4 (no Switch or Android versions available yet), Donut County’s combo of compelling and addictive indie gameplay with an off-the-wall concept makes it an oddball among puzzle game but one that deserves a look nonetheless.
Originally, this puzzle game was inspired by Hopi culture but this changed when the developer received some backlash from that community concerning his depiction of their cultural artifacts. Instead, the concept was switched over to that which makes up Donut County today. Expanding by consuming objects is a relatively simple concept and is one that is described the Ben Esposito as a physics game at its heart. And this is where the game struggles to find classification within the wider world of gaming.
Though ostensibly a puzzle game, Donut County can feel at times like a concept piece more than it does a full game. Even with its indie heritage, this becomes increasingly noticeable after just a little time spent with the game.
Graphically a simple but clean affair, the game relies heavily on a gameplay concept that is not fully realized during the course of the title but that holds incredible promise. Not forgetting its parody pedigree, Donut County also works hard to incorporate humor and quirkiness in its levels. The game proudly wears its indie heritage on its sleeves and this is not to its detriment though some players who enjoy puzzle games may find themselves wanting just a little bit more out of a game. Sadly, that is never going to arrive.
The Single Player Experience in Donut County
Another aspect that is strange given the somewhat experimental nature of Donut County is that there is only a single-player game mode. Typically in games like this, there is some kind of support for a second player especially when the content is so thin to begin. True puzzle gamers would argue that a puzzle game is often a single-player experience but this isn’t really justified by the game’s set up. If you recall the star collecting mechanic that Nintendo introduced in Super Mario Galaxy for the Nintendo Wii, then you have some idea of what kind of gameplay options could be explored in this title with the addition of a second player. Not only would this small update potentially broaden the gameplay and make it more fun but also could transform a skimpy experience into a more deep one.