BEST OF 2018

Game of the Year: Donut County

Donut County

Be a hole

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Donut County is iPhone Game of the Year because: It manages to make wreaking havoc meaningful.

Few puzzle games go as deep—literally and figuratively—as this triumphant indie. And frankly, Donut County might be just as fun even if it were more superficial. After all, who doesn’t enjoy playing a hole in the ground that swallows everything in its path?

That aspect of the gameplay evolves brilliantly as you tear through the town. At first you’re simply devouring trees, rocks, and unlucky townsfolk—and growing wider with each gulp. Later you start sucking down fireworks to aim at distant targets and launching frogs that snag buzzing bees in midflight. Before you know it, you’re flinging objects to sink a hot-air balloon.

But there’s more to the experience than destruction (and gluttony).

Early on, you learn that everything and everyone you’ve consumed is now trapped a thousand feet below the surface. Your character—the misguided raccoon controlling these holes—hadn’t considered that consequence. And despite the playful banter between him and his pal Mira, who’s buried like the rest, she’s as mad at him as all the other locals are.

In this wildly original masterpiece, the mostly animal-like characters share a very human connection.

Can you somehow save the day?

Donut County creator Ben Esposito milks this tense situation to hilarious effect—folding a quadcopter, corporate hacking, and shady garbage collectors into the game’s quirky, heartwarming resolution.

You ate corn, then a campfire. Of course you’re spewing popcorn everywhere!

“I wanted it to feel really personal when you’re exploring this world and taking it apart piece by piece,” Esposito says. And he’s done just that. In his wildly original masterpiece, the mostly animal-like characters share a very human connection. Halfway through Donut County, you’ll know you’re in a place like no other—yet you’ll feel right at home.

    Donut County

    Be a hole

    VIEW

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