How many developers can say their game was inspired by a tweet from a parody Twitter account? Donut County's central premise of controlling a hole in the ground and swallowing up objects is wonderfully novel, and has resulted in a game that's more entertaining than you'd think. In the best possible way, it's one of the silliest games on PS4, wrapping a truly daft story around a mechanic that's a pleasure to toy with.
The story is this: a selfish raccoon named BK has inadvertently sent the entire Donut County and its residents down a gigantic hole in the ground. Instead of delivering donuts from his shop, he's been sending holes, hoovering up all that he can to level up the app on his tablet and earn enough money for a quadcopter drone. We told you it was daft.
The levels are the flashbacks of each character recalling how they came to be hundreds of feet below the surface. Aside from a few instances of BK and his friends texting each other, the game consists of moving a hole around each environment in order to engulf everything in sight. Similarly to Katamari Damacy, the hole grows as you feed it, allowing you to quickly move from grass and coffee cups to entire buildings. While this alone might not sound particularly enthralling, it's surprisingly satisfying to send a wide range of paraphernalia tumbling into oblivion.
Almost immediately, the game will also start throwing in some basic puzzles, giving you something to think about other than simply devouring all and sundry. An early example is swallowing a kiln to set the hole alight and then using the hot air to send a balloon into the sky. Combining specific items within the hole leads to some amusing solutions. A little further in, you'll also unlock the ability to catapult certain things back out of the hole, either to solve yet more conundrums or to cause some extra damage to the scene. While the puzzles throughout the game are extremely simple, these extra wrinkles in the levels are fun additions that help to break up the gameplay.
When you complete a level, you'll be able to view the Trashopedia, a screen that shows you each item you've consumed along with a description courtesy of BK. They're worth scrolling through as there are some cracking lines to be found, much like the script in general. The irreverent tone allows for some great exchanges between the handful of characters. The visuals also help sell the whimsical vibe, opting for a low-poly look and block colours.
It's all rather lovable, but it's a shame there isn't a little more to it. The game wraps up nicely, but it's all over within a few hours, and beyond finding a couple of secrets and completing the Trophy list, there's little reason to return. We also can't help but feel that more could've been done with the core mechanic -- solutions to puzzles are rather straightforward, and a few more levels or more ways to interact with the world would've helped to flesh it out.
Much like the sugary treats in its name, Donut County is sweet, satisfying, and you'll wish there were more when you're done. It's a jovial little adventure that has some great ideas; moving a hole around making objects fall in is surprisingly addictive and entertaining. Serving as a bite-sized snack between bigger titles, this definitely hits the spot, but those looking for a more filling experience may be left a little hungry.