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Donut Dodo Review

Arcade fun for everyone

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on 🍩

Donut Dodo is rated Everyone by the ESRB

If there's one kind of game that I can't get enough of, it's old-school arcade games and Donut Dodo is here to bring us back to the past.

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Donut Dodo screenshot 1
I'm getting Donkey Kong Jr. vibes from this candy store

Meet Billy Burns

Donut Dodo has you play as a baker named Billy Burns who's on a mission to retrieve donuts from a pesky dodo; hence, the name of the game. When I first started playing it, I was immediately sucked in thanks to its pitch-perfect retro visuals that feature bright colours, cute animated sprites, and an adorable border that resembles what you'd see on the sides of an arcade machine. One thing I wasn't expecting is its incredible music which is catchy and super-energetic to get you in the mood for some arcade fun. The reason I wasn't expecting it is because early '80s arcade games rarely featured music during gameplay so it's awesome to play one that sounds so lively. 🎵 v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154

Tight gameplay

Playing Donut Dodo is incredibly intuitive as it's essentially just a 2D platformer where you run from side to side and tap a button to jump. The goal is to collect every donut in a stage and once you do, the large goal donut becomes reachable as a ladder or rope will appear. As soon as you snag that donut, you complete the level and get awarded bonus points for how quickly you finished the stage. Meanwhile, enemies will end your life if you run into one and they come in a few varieties such as mice that scurry left and right, toilets that follow you, and ghosts that move in a wavy pattern from the sides of the screen. The dodo is dangerous, too, so look out! 😅

Donut Dodo screenshot 2
Time to pick up the speed in this tricky final stage

Varied stages

Donut Dodo includes 5 stages and each one presents unique challenges and mechanics. The first level is fairly straightforward while the second has you work around a construction site as fireballs shimmy across the ground. The third level features a giant Ferris wheel and it's probably my favourite one since you can go for a ride and slide across a rope in the middle to collect a bonus item whenever it emerges. Stage 4 is a candy shop that features ropes, a moving platform, and the dodo releases hazardous jelly beans that might snag you when you're climbing to reach the top. Finally, we have a level where you enter doors to warp to the same colour door which is a bit confusing yet perfectly doable once you get used to it. Oh, and the bonus round involves jumping from a sliding pumpkin trampoline! 🎃

Rewarding scoring

One aspect of Donut Dodo that I love is its scoring system. Sure, you can rush through levels in order to get that sweet time bonus but if you take things slowly, you can actually get many more points. Specifically, after you collect 1 donut, you can snag the flashing donut which gives you a hearty score boost with multiplier and if you manage to do so for a whole stage, you'll get a ton of points. I also like the Pac-Man style food items that award a good chunk of score and on top of that, you get extra lives every 15000 points which adds even more to the sense of accomplishment. Plus, you can play for longer and perhaps unlock the higher difficulty modes. 😄

Some downsides

Although I loved my time with Donut Dodo and plan on playing it whenever I want a quick fix of old-school arcade fun, it definitely has its shortcomings with the most notable of which being that it only consists of 5 brief levels. With that being said, they are highly replayable, especially when you discover new tricks and learn how to work past obstacles more efficiently but it's still a short game nonetheless.

One issue I had while playing is that it's sometimes hard to see enemies when they move through one side of the screen to the other and I wish that there was a warning put in place so you don't accidentally lose a life. Last but not least, I feel that a co-op multiplayer mode would have went a long way to extend Donut Dodo's replay value as it would be a lot of fun to play with a friend. 🧑‍🤝‍🧑

Donut Dodo screenshot 3
You did not disappoint

If you enjoy old-school arcade games as much as I do then you owe it to yourself to play the wonderful Donut Dodo. With accessible gameplay and challenging scoring mechanics as well as a genuine retro aesthetic and great music; there's a lot to munch on here.

  • + Frantic 2D platforming fun that's easy to pick-up-and-play
  • + Awesome music and spot-on visuals
  • + Getting high scores is rewarding
  • - Although highly replayable, the campaign is undeniably very brief
  • - Sides of the screen could use warnings
  • - A co-op mode would have been great
7.2 out of 10
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Watch A.J. play Donut Dodo
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