Donut Dodo, from indie publisher pixel games, has made its way to the Nintendo Switch. It was previously released on Atari VCS and Steam in June of this year. The arcade game aims to bring some traditional single-screen platforming to your screen while providing a tough challenge. According to the developer, it’s a game that should have existed in 1983 and there are plans to do just that in 2023.
Donut Dodo will please retro gamers as much as it will frustrate them due to its constant fast-paced action. Also, there’s no extra continues so when your lives are up it’s back to the start to try again. However, there are extra lives added to your total by hitting certain scoring markers throughout the game. And you will need to aim for those to stand any hope of getting through the five stages and reaching the bonus stage. Everything about Donut Dodo oozes arcade games of old and it’s incredibly moreish once you start.
Donut Dodo plays as a single-player game that requires practice to master the tight controls and tough levels. Once you’ve had a few games, you start to get confident and will be able to get further. Your mission is to collect all the donuts spread about the stage before heading to the top to claim your prize – the giant donut! But be warned that a giant dodo patrols the high ground in classic Donkey Kong style. There is no let up from the start as enemies and projectiles are aimed toward you.
There’s many gameplay mechanics that you’d expect to see from a game that is moonlighting as an 80s arcade cab. Burger Time, Dig Dug and Bubble Bobble all seem to appear in glimpses of the gameplay as you panic your way through. The scoring system is clever and encourages you to collect the Donuts in a specific order. If you keep your combo going it leads to those high scores. There’s also cherries and other goodies to grab on your way that will help get those much-needed extra lives.
Graphically, Donut Dodo looks at the part with sharp pixel art that compliments the gameplay. The artwork also pays homage to the arcade titles they take inspiration from. While it’s not trying to appeal to modern gamers, the tight controls and constant pace give you a reason to play it today. It doesn’t offer anything new but Donut Dodo does what it sets out to do very well. It wants to provide a fast, fun retro experience that encompasses our nostalgia.
There are lots to enjoy through Donut Dodo’s quick but satisfying experience. This makes the perfect Nintendo Switch title by being easy to pick up and each game only takes a few minutes. There is also a real one-more-go feel about the mechanics that just makes you want to go again. It does get repetitive after a while but for the price point, there is a lot of replayability as you aim for better scores. This one is recommended to high-score junkies who enjoy the retro classics of 80s arcades. Plenty of fun, easy to play and great value for money.