Donut County

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Donut County
Donut County Header.jpg
Developer(s)Ben Esposito
Publisher(s)Annapurna Interactive
Platform(s)iOS, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
ReleaseiOS, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4
  • WW: August 28, 2018
Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
  • WW: December 18, 2018

Donut County is an indie video game developed by Ben Esposito and published by Annapurna Interactive. In the game, the player moves a hole to swallow objects, which makes the hole increase in size. The concept originated in a game jam that used video game pitches from a Twitter account parody of game designer Peter Molyneux. It later expanded to be the inverse of Katamari Damacy. Other inspirations for the game included Hopi figurines—a theme Esposito later relinquished—and locations from Bruce Springsteen songs. Donut County was released in August 2018 for iOS, macOS, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows platforms while versions for Xbox One and Nintendo Switch will be released in December 2018.


In Donut County, the players control a hole. As players move the hole to swallow objects, the hole increases in size.[1]


You play a hole, you must move around an environment making certain elements fall into correct targets at the right time.

Peter Molydeux, a Peter Molyneux parody Twitter account, January 5, 2012[2]

Indie game developer Ben Esposito worked on Donut County in his free time while developing The Unfinished Swan.[1] The core game concept was prompted by a game jam based on video game pitches from a Peter Molyneux parody Twitter account, Peter Molydeux. Esposito made a game called The Pits from a pitch wherein the player moves a hole around an environment. The game grew to work as a "reverse Katamari": instead of a ball that expands upon touching items, as in Katamari Damacy, the Donut County hole expands upon swallowing items.[2] Esposito described the game as a "whimsical physics toy".[2]

Donut County was originally called Kachina,[2] based on the Native American "spirit beings that personify nature".[1] Esposito was inspired by the design of Hopi doll sculptures. Following a blog post that expressed criticism of his treatment of Hopi culture, and his subsequent effort to make an "authentic game" that incorporated the culture, he decided to change the title and abandon the theme.[3] Donut County also took inspiration from indie game Windosill's art style,[2] Los Angeles's high density of doughnut shops, and locations from Bruce Springsteen songs, such as Asbury Park and the New Jersey Turnpike.[2]

A demo of the game was featured at IndieCade in October 2012. Its goal was to knock the sun out of the sky by regurgitating objects once swallowed by the hole. Polygon's Michael McWherter noted that while some of its levels felt aimless or more like an "experiment" or "interactive toy", others "showed puzzle-like potential", including a level where chickens needed to cross a road.[1] Rock, Paper, Shotgun reported that a presentation of the game at the GDC 2013 Experimental Gameplay Workshop made the audience "cheer and applaud in delight".[3] The game was expected to show at the Austin, Texas, Fantastic Arcade event in September 2014.[2] In March 2015, Esposito presented on the game's development at the 2015 GDC.[3]

Donut County was released on August 28, 2018 for iOS, macOS, PlayStation 4, and Windows platforms.[4]


Aggregate score
MetacriticiOS: 83/100[5]
PC: 77/100[6]
PS4: 75/100[7]
Review score
TouchArcadeiOS: 5/5 stars[8]


The game was a 2015 Independent Games Festival finalist in the Excellence in Visual Art category, and an honorable mention in the Seumas McNally Grand Prize category.[9]

It won Apple's app store "iPhone game of the year" for 2018 [10]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2015 Independent Games Festival Awards Excellence in Visual Art Nominated [9]
2017 Game Critics Awards Best Independent Game Nominated [11]
2018 Golden Joystick Awards Mobile Game of the Year Nominated [12]
The Game Awards 2018 Best Mobile Game Nominated [13]
Best Debut Indie Game Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d McWhertor, Michael (October 8, 2012). "IndieCade selection Kachina has shades of Katamari Damacy and one intriguing hole". Polygon. Archived from the original on March 8, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g McWhertor, Michael (August 11, 2014). "Donut County is like a reverse Katamari inspired by Bruce Springsteen and fake Peter Molyneux". Polygon. Archived from the original on March 8, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Walker, John (March 4, 2015). "Hopi-less: How Kachina Became Donut County". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on March 8, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  4. ^ Oh, Ashley (July 31, 2018). "Donut County is finally coming this summer". Polygon. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  5. ^ "Donut County for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  6. ^ "Donut County for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  7. ^ "Donut County for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  8. ^ Tylwalk, Nick (August 27, 2018). "'Donut County' Review: A Hole Lot of Fun". TouchArcade. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Makuch, Eddie (January 7, 2015). "2015 Independent Games Festival Finalists Revealed". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 9, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Game Critics Awards: Best of E3 2017 (2017 Nominees)". Game Critics Awards. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  12. ^ Hoggins, Tom (September 24, 2018). "Golden Joysticks 2018 nominees announced, voting open now". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  13. ^ Grant, Christopher (December 6, 2018). "The Game Awards 2018: Here are all the winners". Polygon. Retrieved December 8, 2018.

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