Annapurna Interactive and Ben Esposito‘s Donut County has been an indie game to watch for quite some time now. The concept itself is supremely fascinating — in Donut County you control what is essentially a mobile sinkhole… that grows as it consumes objects. Essentially it’s a puzzle game, but the gameplay is different than your usual puzzler. You’ve got to be creative and utilize physics to clear some of the stages by tipping objects onto their sides in order to pull them into the sinkhole.
Really, it works a bit more like a black hole or a singularity, except it isn’t a gravity well.
Because you play an inanimate force of nature/ supernatural occurrence, Donut County’s story has nothing to do with you directly. You may be able to affect change in the world, but you’re the enemy. You are the thing that must be overcome. And that’s something of a first for video games as a whole. It also means the development team get to have quite a bit of fun telling the story in nontraditional ways.
The hero and villain of this story are a young woman and a raccoon respectively. And while they are not a traditional protagonist/antagonist duo, their interactions dive the story in a fantastic way. Our villainous raccoon isn’t exactly evil. He just wants to sell donuts and believes donuts solve all the problems. Which is fair. Donuts are great. However, those donuts cause holes to appear all over the county — which makes him an accidental supervillain.
Our heroine is much the same. She’s the protagonist because she’s the one capable of shaming our erstwhile enemy.
And they’re friends.
Honestly, this demo had me the second the survivors of the sinkhole apocalypse had a circle of shame around a campfire.