The Cambridge Geek

Donut County

Ever played Katamari? That game in which you play a tiny guy running around collecting everything in sight and turning it into a giant ball, in order to please an unloving god-king? Well, I haven't. But I'm still going to use it as a reference for this game.

This game is basically Katamari, but instead of a ball, you've got a hole.

BK is a very naughty raccoon (scientific name trashus pandicus) who has got himself an app that lets him remotely control holes, which he pops up all around the eponymous Donut County. He's an amoral monster, with no real motivation above and beyond getting himself a new quadcopter, so he's not at all averse to dropping things, people, homes and worse into a hole and leaving it all below ground in an unexpectedly hollow earth.

I'll have a hole, and make it snappy!

What that translates to in game terms is moving the hole across various locations, placing it under progressively bigger objects to expand the hole. Unlike that puzzle "what gets smaller when you add to it?", here dropping things in the hole magically makes it bigger.

In fact, the hole is even more special than that, because if you're lucky, things you put in it might combine in interesting ways to allow you to solve a range of (admittedly simple) puzzles. This might involve setting things on fire, breeding animals, moving water around and setting things on fire. The puzzles never really require that much thought, which is a shame.


Those puzzles are also weirdly spaced out. The first 2/3rds of the game (about an hour) is really repetitive. There is usually one slightly different aspect in each level, but that only takes up maybe 20% of it. The continual slow growing of the hole is the main mechanic, and that's what you'll spend enough time doing that it can get more than a bit boring. That first hour feels like a browser game that just happens to be a bit longer than usual with spiffier graphics.

Frogs, the natural enemy of bees.

The final half hour is considerably more thrilling, with some novel concepts, both involving the throwing of things back out of the hole and levels which demand more of the player, but they're still solvable with relatively little thinking. If the game had all been along the lines of that last third, I'd probably have been friendlier to it. I just got sufficiently bored getting there that it wasn't enough to redeem it.

The style is cute, and the graphics are impressive enough, even if there are occasional wonky bits with the physics engine and some weird clipping, particularly where an object is infinitely tall, but then has to fall into the hole. However, what definitely isn't cute is BK.

The majority of the game is told in flashback form, with BK and the rest of the local population huddled together for warmth underground. Each tells the tale of how they got there, with helpful interjections from Bk "for the bants". The dialogue tends to be a bit pained, and is evidently intended to be funny, but doesn't quite manage it. The same is true of the "trashopedia", a list of every item you've collected at the end of each level, with a sarcastic comment about each.

The game is lovely, but it's all style, no substance.

Score 2

Tagged: Game Puzzle 3D Easy difficulty PC