It’s time to don the white suit, pick up the pistol that never seems to need reloading and teach the punks of this city that crime doesn’t pay. Donuts’n’Justice, the latest Ratalaika game to hit the Xbox marketplace, will see you battling all over the city against a wide range of goons, including bikers, ninjas and… the A-Team? All in the name of law and order.
Cutting right to the chase, I had a great time playing through Donuts’n’Justice. It’s a game that revels in its chosen setting, and its short run-time is packed full of 80’s references, wacky enemies and over-the-top violence. And in something of a first for a game of this nature, it contains a soundtrack that doesn’t get mind-numbingly repetitive after three minutes.
Gameplay-wise, Donuts’n’Justice is really good fun to play, with its simple and smooth controls making for a brilliant pick-up-and-play experience. Each stage is set as a 2D side-scroller, in which you’ll have to fight your way through a small army of enemies.
These have a chance to drop some useful stuff, including grenades, cash and police badges. Earn enough of those and you’ll unlock one of ten random weapons. Unfortunately, these unlocks aren’t immediately available to you, and can only be used temporarily upon finding one in a weapons crate. There are also two different kinds of donut to pick up too – one slows time, the other functions as a health pickup.
Survive the onslaught, and you’ll face the boss. These are a relatively simple affair, with each one only having two or so distinct attacks to avoid.
It’s important to note that, while simple to pick up and play, this game isn’t easy. On normal difficulty, I had trouble even clearing the first stage. With the amount of enemies that you’ll be facing at any one time, things do get very hectic, very quickly. And with only three hearts of health, you’ll find yourself dying. A lot. God only knows how anyone will manage to beat the game on ‘Nuck Chorris’, the game’s hardest setting – it’s perhaps a feat reserved only for true Texas Rangers.
To even get anywhere, I had to lower the difficulty down to ‘Thumbsucker’. Unfortunately, this makes things mind-numbingly easy, suggesting the gap between difficulties is much too broad.
Apart from the need to fine-tune the difficulty settings though, my only real gripe after playing Donuts’n’Justice is that it’s too short. There are only four levels, four bosses and one bonus stage. It’ll only take you thirty minutes or so to clear all of them (and earn the full 1000G).
It’s also a real shame that once you’ve finished doling out justice the first time, there isn’t much to bring you back either. The only thing the game offers in terms of replayability are some cosmetic hats that you can buy with the cash you’ve picked up along the way. Some of these offer perks, such as a burst firing pistol or a black and white mode. Is this enough to justify another playthrough? Not really.
There’s also a boss rush mode that unlocks upon completing the main game. Again, it’s not much and once you’ve spent the five or so minutes it’ll take to kill all the bosses, there’s practically no incentive to do it again.
Ultimately, the lack of replayability doesn’t take too much away from the main experience. Donuts’n’Justice is still a great game. It’s wacky, it’s simplistic, and it’s good fun. It also pulls off the 1980s setting brilliantly. It’s certainly a very short game, but I don’t think that hinders it too much. If anything, it ensures that Donuts’n’Justice remains enjoyable from start to finish and doesn’t outstay its welcome.
Yes, five quid for less than an hour’s worth of gameplay will be a hard sell to some, but I think it’s worth it in this case. In fact, what are you waiting for? Get out there and deal some justice of your own, the only way you know how.
Dish out the justice with Donuts’n’Justice on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One today!