In Donut County you play as a sentient hole in the ground that gets larger and larger as it consumes all things in its path. It looks magnificent.
It’s an extremely simple concept, but goodness does it ever look weird and charming — with players gobbling up everything from tiny doughnuts to entire mountains and solving puzzles all the while. You might, for instance, fill the hole with water and transport that to a different part of the level or set off mousetraps.
The whole thing — grow larger-and-larger gameplay mechanic, gentle yet vibrant art, overtone of general bizarreness — reminds me of Katamari Damacy, aka that game where you rolled up everything on Earth with a giant ball. This is definitely not a bad thing.
But there’s more to it. Donut County will also dig deep into “fading Los Angeles history”, which sounds like a vein rich with poignancy. Oh, and there are raccoons on motor scooters, if that’s more your thing.
The hole itself, meanwhile, is apparently “mysterious”, which is a fantastic adjective to apply to a hole. I hope it’s also “sultry” and “a bit of a prissypants”.
The game is the solo project of Ben Esposito, who worked on PlayStation 3 indie hit The Unfinished Swan, trippy as all get-out skater Perfect Stride, and super goofy, um, thing Bubsy3d: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective. It’s being backed by Indie Fund.
Esposito showed an early version of the game to Patricia last year, when it was still largely a proof-of-concept known as Kachina.
Donut County is set to release on PC and various touch devices. There’s no release date yet, sadly, but I’ve asked Esposito if he at least has a particular timeframe in mind. I’ll update this post when I hear back.