Donut Games is legendary around these parts, but they haven’t been as active in releasing new games for the past several years. Their latest release was Birk’s Adventure way back in 2019, and before that it was Footy Golf in 2017. In the earlier years of the App Store however, they were known for taking a solid gameplay mechanic and then building an entire 3-star puzzler around it, stuffed with levels and achievements and some of the best pixel art around. Like I said, Donut Games are legends in the mobile gaming space, and while I love their deeper efforts like Birk’s Adventure or Traps ‘n Gemstones, they were pretty flawless when it came to more bite-sized gaming experiences that worked incredibly well on the go.
So imagine my surprise when I saw in this week’s batch of new releases a new one from Donut Games seemingly out of the blue. It’s called Donut 80 and its simple premise is that it imagines what Donut Games games would have been like if they were made in the ’80s. All this means is they stick to 16-bit color palettes and chiptunes, and everything has an even more retro style than usual, but the same rock solid gameplay mechanics and endless 3-star chasing remain.
Donut 80, at least in its initial form, is broken up into 3 separate Volumes, and within each volume there are 4 different games. Each Volume has its own theme: The first is Launch & Bounce games like Monkey Flight, the second is Charlie’s Mix featuring games like Sunday Lawn, and the third is Runners and features various types of side-scrolling runners including a riff on the rollerskating portion from Beach Games. Each of the 4 games within a Volume is either a demake of an existing Donut game, or a brand new spin on an existing formula, and all the games feature brand new levels to tackle.
For example, Beach Roller in the Runners Volume is the demake version of the aforementioned Beach Games rollerskating, but the second game Hooland is a Flappy Bird-ish affair and the third game Unicorn Skyride plays more like a cave flyer like Jetpack Joyride. You get something similar from the other Volumes where there’s sort of a “root" game and then a few variations to try. The result is that Donut 80 offers up a whopping 12 different games to play, and all tie into global leaderboards for overall points scored and stars earned.
How much would you pay for so many high quality games? $500? $1,000?? Well put your wallet away because Donut 80 is completely free. No IAP, no subscriptions, no ads. It just acts as a cross-promotion for other Donut Games games. And while it might seem overly simplistic on the surface, I can assure you that all of these 12 games have that Donut Games secret sauce that make them nearly impossible to put down. I would love for them to continue adding more Volumes and more demakes and riffs on existing games to Donut 80, but even if that doesn’t happen I’m so glad to see a new one from Donut Games and know that they’re still alive and kicking, and I’m really stoked to have a new game to obsessively min/max scoring and collect every star in each and every level.