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Santiago Rodriguez
Santiago Rodriguez

Donut County !!INSTALL!!

Human Mira works for her friend BK, a raccoon, at the local donut shop in Donut County. She finds BK more interested in a new mobile app, trying to earn enough points for a quadcopter drone, which he does by scheduling the delivery of donuts to the residents of Donut County. However, Mira discovers that these aren't donuts being sent by the app, but actual holes which have been consuming the homes and residents of the place.

Donut County

BK refuses to acknowledge he did anything wrong, and when he receives his quadcopter, Mira purposely destroys it and then orders a donut to the shop, swallowing it up as well. They join the other residents trapped underground, and they all try to reason with BK of what he did was wrong. They come to learn that this was part of the plan of BK's boss, the Trash King - to acquire more trash, the Trash King and other raccoons developed the app to swallow all the trash it could find, ignoring the whims of the people that lived there.

Sprinkled between each puzzle are small narrative sections in which BK's friends and neighbours - all trapped "Nine Hundred Ninety-Nine Ft below" courtesy of the rogue holes popping up around town - huddle around a fire, surrounded by the detritus of their belongings as they each take their turn to blast BK for his selfishness. The dialogue is perfectly, wonderfully crafted, and each character stuffed with personality and charm. It becomes apparent that everyone affected by the hole had recently ordered donuts online. BK starts getting a little defensive, particularly when his friend and employee, Mira, leads the charge against him. And while the cast very much plays second fiddle to Donut County's main character - BK's gaping chasm - it's surprising how distinct and well-formed each of the supporting characters are.

The in-game explanation for these holes is that BK, a raccoon who works in the county's donut shop, is controlling them via an app. Most levels play out as flashbacks, with cutscenes showing the people BK has swallowed up reminiscing about what has happened to them while gathered around a fire in their new underground home (the earth, as it turns out, is hollow). The plot goes in some strange directions as it casually works through and untangles its own strange internal logic, and the script is full of irreverent 'Internet' speak--the term 'lol' pops up frequently in the dialog, which is very casual throughout. The flippancy of the script is charming at times, but it also means that Donut County is difficult to get truly invested in. BK is not particularly likeable, and his friendship with Mira--his human best friend, who encourages him to face up to what he has done--feels one-sided. The game clearly isn't striving to offer a deep narrative experience, but there are quite a few 'story' scenes and most of them aren't particularly engaging or funny.

The levels are interspersed with story scenes, which tell the tale of what the hole is all about, with what I'd argue is some degree of helpless reaching. A raccoon, you see, owns a donut shop. But everyone who ordered a donut from him instead had their local area fall down a hole he controlled by, um, an app on his phone. Each individual's incident is then played out by you, before returning to the location a thousand feet underground where a group of anthropomorphised creatures and one human berate the raccoon, who acts as if he's done nothing wrong.

@Indielink Well, for one, this is one of the shortest games I've ever played personally. I'm not a person who views game economics in terms of how many hours of enjoyment I get per dollar, but there's still a line that has to be drawn somewhere. I enjoyed donut county, but I'll probably never play it again.

iPhone, PC, Mac, PS4; Ben Esposito/Annapurna InteractiveWith an odd cast and strange situations, this puzzle game allows you to victimise the users of a donut delivery app by gradually swallowing up all of their possessions

iPhone, PC, Mac, PS4; Ben Esposito/Annapurna InteractiveWith an odd cast and strange situations, this puzzle game allows you to victimise the users of a donut delivery app by gradually swallowing up all of their possessions

Donut County was created by Ben Esposito, designer on What Remains of Edith Finch and The Unfinished Swan. It is the result of six years of solo development, dozens of donuts (for research), and one fateful encounter with a raccoon.

The residents sitting around this campfire will recall how their lives literally fell into the earth. Yet as they tell their stories, they discover a common element amongst all of them: they each ordered a donut from the donut shop. You the player know what's up from the get-go as you control the hole in the ground that destroys these people's lives and livelihoods. In-game, the hole master is a raccoon named BK, who's your typical jerk who tries to avoid blame for the chaos he sowed. The writing, however, remains witty and almost like banter as everyone realizes what BK did.

Donut County is delicious. It's a story-based physics puzzler where you play BK, a raccoon who ostensibly works as a donut store delivery dispatcher. But instead of dispatching donuts he is dispatching holes (via a mobile game interface) in order to suck up objects, people and creatures because a) raccoons LOVE to collect trash and b) BK really wants to level up his game and earn a sweet quadcopter.

The story was kind of wacky, it made me laugh, and it had a kind of moral to it in the end. It's not heavy moralizing, but it makes you think about whether you really should be tossing out so much trash for a donut hole to collect. I wished the story was longer and the game had more things to do besides capturing things in a hole. But the story was lighthearted and the gameplay was fun. If you don't have high expectations, I think you'll find Donut County is a nice diversion.

Katamari-likes are not quite a genre, but Donut County makes a case that it should be. Its inspiration is clear, and it takes the toy-like nature of its vision farther with a resonate message at its center. Moving around a hole and consuming all the low-poly things that lie in your path never really gets old from a mechanical perspective, even if the scripted scenarios do upon a replay from its level select. Donut County may not only make you hungry for donuts, it'll make you hungry for supporting your local family-run shops too.

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.

My wife ended up not really liking it, despite being a big Katamari fan...ended up feeling "so sad" for all the animals getting swallowed up by the hole, LMAO. Wouldn't be so bad if not for the cute backstories (i.e. swallowing up an old dog who only went out to get a donut for his son, nevermind the horror of being consumed by an ever-increasing hole).

The plot centers on BK and Mira, who works for the donut-peddling raccoon, and most of the puzzles amount to flashbacks that recount how the entirety of Donut County ended up living underground. (Hint: It's the raccoon's fault.) You spend time with the colorful cast during scenes situated between each level, with the now-homeless community chattering about their plight in front of a campfire.

The patter is charming in its intentional weirdness, with dashes of textspeak thrown in -- characters proclaim "LOL" and "OMG" as if they're IMing or texting -- all throughout. The crux of the dilemma this community faces stems from BK not knowing, or really just not accepting, what actually qualifies as a donut.

To the raccoon, "donut" = hole in the ground. So donut deliveries -- did I mention the donut store delivers? -- become a game of trashing each neighbor's property as the hole slides around the ground and makes the world disappear. Mira plays the "straight (wo)man" role of trying to explain to both her friend and the Donut County community why donut = hole is wrong.

So BK is a self-absorbed turd who justifies the mischief he's caused as noble, charitable deeds and an aspect of his job. He's all too happy to gaslight his friend Mira, who insists over and over that donuts aren't the same thing as holes in the ground.

The writing is everything here. There's a sense of rhythm and timing in the way each line is delivered. The story hangs on this absurd idea that there's room for debate on whether a hole in the ground is actually a donut. The shreds of story delivered between each level are all the reward you need for making progress.

The premise of Donut County is simple and silly: You, as a raccoon, have to deliver "donuts" (holes that objects fall into) to "customers" (the people and places inside the in-game town). Every level, you start off with a tiny hole that's only big enough for small objects like tennis balls or blades of grass to fall through. Once you collect enough of these small things, your hole will start to grow in size. This allows you to consume more objects and continue the cycle until all objects in a level are within your hole.

So, it all starts as a normal day in Donut County. The sun's shining, the neighbor's honking their head off as usual, and Mira's texting her best raccoon buddy/co-worker, BK, all about it. BK, wishing she'd come into work at the Donut County donut shop located in Donut County sooner, decides to deliver the neighbor a donut.

Cut to six weeks later and the whole County's stuck in a cavern nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine feet underground. Turns out BK's been sucking everyone and everything down remote-controlled sink-holes using a tablet app under the guise of the donut shop's delivery app. Apparently, the raccoons have been staging a covert invasion to acquire non-raccoon-kinds vast quantities of "trash" (read: everything man-made that isn't nailed down... and everything that is!). Admittedly, BK didn't really know what he was doing, he just wanted a shiny new quadcopter. So now it's up to Mira, BK, and the rest of Donut County's colorful denizens to find a way out of the holes, turn the tables on the Raccoons, and get their town back. And maybe get BK to admit that, yes, this is totally his fault. 041b061a72


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