Welcome to The Hollow, a mystical world you willingly walked into because you’re an angsty, painfully single (this is made into a major point for some reason) teenager who looks like an elf. You’re also, apparently, imbued with special powers equipped to make you the savior The Hollow is desperately searching for. Overcome by evil omissions known as Blight, The Hollow’s inhabitants, cute Harry Potter-esque mandrakes, are dying out – whether due to lack of food/water/shelter because of the Blight or because of ravenous monsters known as Feral. It’s your job to save the mandrakes and reclaim The Hollow before the magical kingdom is lost forever. Are you up to the challenge?
Drake Hollow was originally released to Steam this past June before debuting on the Microsoft Store on 28 August 2020. That’s where I purchased my edition. Developed and published by The Molasses Flood, Drake Hollow is specifically aimed at gaymers who enjoy crafting stories such as Farmville and Dragon Quest Builders, as well as those who enjoy capturing monsters like in Pokémon. Although the mandrakes are similar in stature, they come in different colors and possess unique buffs and upgrades that you can add to your character. Growing them into further stages of development also yields greater power-up properties.
Stylistically, Drake Hollow is eye-catching and everything you could want out of a title that takes place in a magical world. The use of blues, blacks, pinks and purples are just beautiful; and stand out from the usual greens and browns found in other builder type games. The world painted here also capitalizes on rural aesthetics from centuries past while also incorporating touches of technology not invented until our lifetime. With a slight wood-punk aesthetic, Drake Hollow is a vivid landscape of colors and eras, highlighted by one man or woman’s journey to find meaning while struggling through their teenage years. It’s my guess that the last element will be expanded upon in the future.
Do I have any complaints? Yes. Only two. First, Feral and other evil critters attack your homestead in raids. They knock down the pieces you’ve built, attack you and even injure the Drakes you’ve saved. In my opinion, the raids happen too close together and don’t allow you to explore new territories adequately. As soon as you make in-game progress, you’ll need to teleport back to your homestead to prepare for a raid. Second, Drakes die from lack of food, water, sleep and entertainment. While sleep and entertainment are easy to come by, I had to Google how to get enough food and water. Any piece of game that requires an out-of-source research break needs better execution. Other than that, I was happy with my experience.
With recently released Marvel’s Avengers taking up space in my Xbox and my anticipation for WWE 2K Battlegrounds building, Drake Hollow is going to fall at the wayside rather quickly. However, with easy to use mechanics (sort of) and a whimsical world that appeals to builder gaymers, I could definitely see myself booting up this baby in the future. It’s a great filler game to eat up time between major releases.