I recently had a chance to check out the unique puzzle game Donut County at the Penny Arcade Expo, and I have never fallen in love with a game mechanic so quickly.
The simple idea of eliminating everything in your path is something that speaks to my very soul and made me quite giddy as the hole continued to grow and caused more havoc. Amazingly, the only control is for the hole, using the control stick — even so, it works so well. I honestly feel as if this mechanic is certainly unique enough to stand a fair way out from other raccoon-based physics games that take place in a county.
Donut County has you play as a sly raccoon named BK, who uses a remote-controlled hole to steal people’s trash. Eventually, as per usual, things spiral out of control and he ends up within the hole himself, sparking the comical story. The unusual dialogue telling bits of the story is told by the residents now residing within the hole, sitting around a campfire. Each encounter then leads to individual levels recounting the events that led to them being holed up in their current predicament.
The area I was able to play started with an account from a ranger named Helen, a fox who looks out for snakes from a watchtower with her searchlight. Starting with consuming grass and small rocks, your hole eventually gets large enough to start swallowing the snakes themselves, progressing the story and opening up new areas to devour. The smart gameplay doesn’t confine you to particular rules, instead allowing you to mercilessly swallow up everything in your path by starting small and working your way up to destroying huge objects and set pieces.
One of the coolest features is how some of the things you swallow can help you in your puzzle-solving. After downing a bunch of the snakes, I was lead to another area, where there was a huge sign displaying a ‘Snake Danger’ alarm. As I swallowed up a blue snake in a cage, the snake’s tail stuck up out of the hole and became an ‘arm’ of sorts, letting me better interact with the environment.
I could now interact with the chickens scattered around the environment — each one, when scared, progresses the ‘Snake Danger’ alarm one tick. After scaring them all, the meter fills, the tower shakes and the snake-looking tower explodes, revealing the source of all the snakes: the tower itself. You continue to grow progressively, eventually gulping up the guard tower and Helen herself.
I really enjoyed how each level seems to tell a story about each individual resident of Donut County and can’t wait to see what the rest of the levels are like. Annapurna has been showing off the game a lot lately and, with a release date somewhere in 2018, it looks like it won’t be too long before we get to play out the rest of this ‘holey’ adventure.
If you want to learn more about this deep puzzle game, Donut County, then check out @Donutcounty on Twitter or check out their website.