Donut County is a 2018 indie puzzle game that you can currently find on Game Pass for the Xbox. The game has often been compared to Katamari Damacy, which is kind of a fair comparison, but much like Katamari, it’s also pretty hard to say “it’s like anything.” The game follows Mira and her raccoon friend, BK. Mira works for BK at his donut shop, not realizing that it’s really all a clever ploy to help the raccoon and that the “donuts” are really massive trash-sucking holes.
The game starts with BK helping Mira out but then flashforwards to Mira, BK, and everybody in town, being stuck at the bottom of one of the holes. Mira is angry with BK, who attempts at first to defend himself to eventually agreeing to help Mira put everything back to rights.
The first few levels are flashbacks of various townspeople talking about what they were doing when they either ordered donuts or had them ordered for them, and BK showed up with his hole.
In it, you control a hole that you have to use to suck up things in each environment, and your hole will grow as you do – hence the Katamari comparisons. In addition to just having the standard challenge of growing your hole so that more will fit in it, you will have other puzzle-solving tactics to use. Sometimes you will have to catapult things out of your hole to trigger different parts of puzzles or collect out-of-reach things. Other times you will need to light either your hole, or something in it, on fire to trigger the next part. Little things like this that keep the game from simply being grow your hole and suck things up.
Unlike Katamari, each of the levels is relatively short and simple. The puzzles are also often pretty simple with a straightforward single solution. This is not a knock on the game; sometimes more simplistic games like this are nice. Even when the game gave me pause, I never felt entirely out of my depth, so there is something nice about that. This is a game that people of all ages will be able to pick up and work their way through the various puzzles and challenges without much in the way of difficulty. It’s not so easy or straightforward that you will get bored, though. You will find yourself having to stop and think things through, or even just try a few times because some challenges are harder than others (soup roaches, for instance).
The game is also super cute. The art style is fun and pops, and there are a variety of adorable animal characters. Mira and BK’s story is pretty simple, but it’s fun and keeps things moving, even if not the most involved.
Really what it comes down to is whether or not you like these indie puzzle games. They often have the same things going for them. Fun art style, check. Decent, enjoyable gameplay, check. Nice music, check. Something slightly unique and different than what you’ve experienced, check. Bottom line, if you have Game Pass, you have no reason to not try this game out. It’s free, pretty short, and worth the time investment. If you don’t have Game Pass, it runs for about 13 dollars and can be purchased on a variety of systems, although I might recommend waiting for a sale. Either way, I think people should give it a go. I am glad I did.