STAFF REVIEW of Drake Hollow (Xbox One)

Friday, October 16, 2020.
by Kirsten Naughton

Drake Hollow Box art Drake Hollow is one of those games that when I did an article for the preview, I knew it was going to be a great game. The characters, the drakes and the emphasis on exploration had me hooked from the first time I started my journey in Drake Hollow, as it's rare when a video game can capture my attention so quickly. I was hooked from the first time I laid eyes on those adorable little Drake creatures. Now that the full game is live on Game Pass, I wanted to sink my teeth into it and see what the Hollow had in store for me as it's the full package this time.

What excited me the initially about Drake Hollow was the idea of exploring islands, gathering supplies and finding out what secrets the other islands held, as the preview only allowed me to go so far. I was really excited now being able to play the full game, seeing how much more expansive it would get.

Most of your time with Drake Hollow will be exploring the world surrounding you and scavenging for supplies for your camp on mysterious islands. Defeating enemies will also be a very important as you need to keep them out of your base. Another thing you'll want to do is destroy the vines surrounding the islands, as if you keep the vines on the islands, enemies will keep appearing. As you start to explore different islands you delve further into the unknown, wanting to explore even more. Between the many islands in Drake Hollow there is a dark matter that as you walk through it, you seem like you're being dragged into something dangerous. However, if you back out of it and use an aether purple diamond object, it will clear all the aether for you as you journey between islands to gather supplies so you can build and enhance your main encampment.

When you begin your adventure in Drake Hollow you learn about your camp, how to take care of it and what Drakes are. Drakes are these little purple onion looking guys with legs, arms and a face. They are quite adorable and make a cute noise when you interact with them. There are several you can wake up during your adventure and can give you several benefits such as buffs for your character such as 'Take less damage' and a handful of others. That buff is going to be on your character until you change it to another, so choose wisely.

The whole idea of building your camp is to house a bunch of Drakes ensuring they are fed and happy, so essentially Drakes are basically like your children. While you're building your camp, you have a stock pot that the Drakes will eat and drink from. When you come back from your travels, you replenish the pot and the Drakes scurry cutely and eat. Another thing you can do is give the Drakes a bed to sleep on and build a workshop to craft different items for your camp and yourself. You can also build defenses and such for the raids that happen every 15 minutes or so.

Raids are quite self explanatory. They happen quite frequently and enemies will attack your camp. It doesn't matter how built up the camp is or how far or close you are, enemies will come about every 15 minutes or so and it can be quite a challenge to get back to your camp in time if you're far away exploring distant islands. That's where if you're lucky you can find a big brown pole on the island, and if you have enough aether wards, you can create an aether stream to travel across the islands. This part was awesome, especially when you're super far from your base.

The environment of Drake Hollow can be described as Fortnite-like. I am not a Fortnite fan, far from it actually but you can't deny that it looks somewhat like Fortnite with its colorful and cartoony visuals from the building aspects, the mannerisms of your character, to watching the building process of whatever you're crafting. It's a neat experience to see Drake Hollow come to life with all the Drakes, building workshops and all the stuff your camp and your need to survive another raid. To see your Drakes running around playing with toys and rushing up to you as they give you things is delightful, by far the best experience about playing. It's nice that the developers took time in animating and bringing the Drakes to life because they are the cutest things ever, possibly even a rival for Baby Yoda on the cuteness meter, and now I want one in my home. I know I won't get to hold one in my hands so playing Drake Hollow will be the closest thing to it.

Drake Hollow is an amazing game to sink a few hours into and I enjoyed nearly every minute of it. The Drakes you collect along the way, the islands you get to visit and the exploration are many of the great highlights of Drake Hollow. As you explore more islands, you get to see more areas, collect more supplies and make a grander, better camp. Who wouldn't want that in a video game? I'm excited to explore more, collect more and see what the worlds have to offer me. Gotta go, enemies are raiding my camp!

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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