A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Donut County is a downloadable action/adventure game for the PlayStation 4, Mac, and Windows-based PCs. The game is easy to pick up and play, with players moving an expanding hole around the environment and swallowing up anything in their path. There's very little violence in the game, as it's mostly focused on how items and people in the world are affected by the hole and the havoc that it causes. But any damage shown is cartoonish in nature. The game is a relatively short experience, taking about two hours from start to finish for an average playthrough for gamers experienced with these kinds of games.
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What's it about?
There's something a little strange about life in DONUT COUNTY. Sure, it might seem peaceful, but things don't feel quite right. Maybe it's the fact that most of the townsfolk are talking animals. Maybe it's the fact that everything from coffee cups to cafés have recently started to come up missing. Or maybe, just maybe, it's got something to do with that giant hole that seems to be moving around with a mind of its own and casting everything in its path to a deep, dark abyss. Yeah, it's probably the hole. Players take on the role of a raccoon, BK, whose new job involves swiping people's trash through the use of remote-controlled holes. There's more to the job than just dropping everything into a movable pit, though. Players can combine certain objects for unique effects, causing some extra chaos, and creating even more trash to collect. But who exactly is BK working for, and more importantly, what do they want with all that "trash"?
Is it any good?
Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most fun, which can also be said for bizarre ideas, but when you combine equal parts simple and bizarre, the result is almost irresistible. Welcome to the world of Donut County, where the absurd premise of the game is deceptively easy. You're given control of a small hole that you move around the environment, causing items to drop in along the way. The more stuff that falls in the hole, the bigger the hole gets. The bigger the hole gets, the larger the items that can fall into it. And the cycle keeps going until your hole is big enough to swallow up just about everything in the stage.
There are some occasional strategy/puzzle elements mixed in to keep things fresh. For example, one early stage shows a hot air balloon anchored to a couple of boulders next to a person making clay pottery. After swallowing some pots and benches, the hole finally gets big enough to swallow up the nearby kiln. Once the kiln drops in, the hole starts billowing up a stream of hot air, which can then be used to force the balloon to rip free of its anchors, leaving more rubble behind in its wake just waiting to be swept up. It's little quirks like this that make Donut County so hard to put down. Sure, you could just move around aimlessly and hope for the best, but it's more fun to experiment and find creative ways to interact with the environment. If there's one gripe to be had here, it's that there's just not enough content in the game. To get from the introduction screen to the end credits takes less than two hours, and there's not much in the way of replay value. The game is over way too soon, leaving you feeling much like the ever expanding hole you've controlled: hungry for more.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about crisis preparedness. What are some ways that families can be prepared for emergencies, like earthquakes, storms, or other natural disasters?
What's the appeal of more simple games like Donut Country over more complex gaming experiences? What creates a relaxing gaming experience?
- Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows
- Price: $12.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Annapurna Interactive
- Release date: August 28, 2018
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: E for No Descriptors
- Last updated: September 30, 2018
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