A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players are responsible for the care and welfare of the Drakes, which can show the importance of basic needs like food, drink, and shelter. Other secondary needs, such as exercise and entertainment, are also shown to be an important part of a healthy life. The game even encourages players to develop alternate, sustainable energy sources to fuel their bases.
The game has a persistent theme of helping those in need. Players also use both creativity and strategy when building their base to best provide for and defend the Drakes. There are also themes of teamwork when other players join in a game and work together to defend their Drakes and their homes from Feral enemies.
Positive Role Models
Players take on the role of a kind of caretaker for the Drakes after getting trapped in their world. They're encouraged to care for and protect the creatures out of a sense of duty, and to hopefully find their way back to their own worlds. Outside of this, the personalities of the characters are whatever the players choose to be.
Ease of Play
The game's relatively easy to pick up and play. The controls are fairly intuitive, making things like crafting and building bases a breeze. Combat can be a bit tricky at times, especially when swarms of Feral raid the base at once.
Violence & Scariness
Players regularly fend off shadow-like creatures, called Ferals, that routinely attack bases en masse. Players use a variety of crafted tools as melee and ranged weapons, with damage reflected as flashy effects. Although there's no actual blood shown onscreen, the red lighting of the Feral characters can sometimes have a bloodlike look.
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Although there's no profanity in the dialogue, it's still possible for players to be exposed to offensive language in online party chat.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Drake Hollow is a survival adventure game available for download on Xbox One and Windows based PCs. Players find themselves trapped in another world, taking on the role of caretakers for magical plant creatures called Drakes. Players must see to the Drakes' needs, such as food, shelter, exercise, etc., while building a shelter and defending the creatures from attack. Violence is constant but not graphic in nature, with damage represented by light effects. Players can team up with friends for online play and work together to fend off threats, though party chat could potentially expose younger players to offensive language from teammates.
Is It Any Good?
What do you get when you cross exploration and survival with base building and tower defense, while tossing in third-person action, a garden simulation, and basic role-playing elements? While you might think the result would be a jumbled mess, in the case of Drake Hollow, you wind up with a surprisingly enjoyable adventure with a bit of an identity crisis. The game feels a bit like a remixed mashup, taking elements from so many different genres and tweaking them in ways to fit together into a solid composition. And while the game is very good at a lot of what it does, trying to do too much keeps it just shy of being perfect.
First off, it needs to be said that Drake Hollow is an absolute delight in its presentation. The Drakes are adorable little plant creatures that just ooze personality and innocence. You can't help but want to protect these little guys from anything that might try to hurt them. That said, much like a first pet, it can be frustrating to fulfill all of their constant needs while also trying to build a shelter from scratch that can protect them (and you) from the ever looming Feral raids. That leads to combat. Early on, fending off a few Feral is a simple task, but later in the game, the raids become so large that it often feels almost impossible to take on the task alone. And even with friends, the odds are overwhelmingly against you. Eventually, players can get into the swing of things, crafting items to make the Drakes more self-reliant and putting together some impressive defenses for the base. But it's usually right about this time that the seasons change and the cycle starts all over again on a new island. Even with this repetitive loop, there's just something about the game's charm and whimsy that will keep players coming back to the Hollow with a smile.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.