Hodgepodge Hollow is a beatufiul, though easy, fairytale-themed HOG.

A dragon has stolen some treasure belonging to the gnomes of Hodgepodge Hollow, and the little fellows aren’t happy about it. They enlist your help to get the treasure back in Hodgepodge Hollow: A Potions Primer, a hidden object game that finds you hunting for ingredients to brew a dozen powerful potions.

Under the gnomes’ tutelage you’ll gather potion recipes and ingredients with the help of a bowlful of armadillo bugs who crawl across a map to mark the places you need to go.

 A Potions Primer

Sometimes you’ll simply have to find a certain number of one ingredient, like 20 crystals or 15 caterpillars. Other times you’ll have to rummage through a list of random objects that contains the one thing you need. There are also some inventory-based puzzles that involve some light problem-solving (the locals, for example, aren’t always cooperative unless you do something for them first.)

Once you’ve found all of the ingredients, it’s back to the potion room, where you mix the potion by carefully following instructions and mixing the ingredients in the correct order. These potions are added to your inventory and become part of the puzzle-solving process, since each one casts a special kind of magic.

Playing Hodgepodge Hollow is like flipping through the pages of a whimsical, superbly-drawn children’s fairytale. The fantasy world that you find yourself in is full of wonderful surprises and unexpected situations. You’ll find yourself shrinking down to ant-size to collect dew drops from blades of grass one moment, then riding on the back of a seahorse to explore the bottom of a lake the next.

 A Potions Primer

As attractive a game as Hodgepodge Hollow is, it’s not for everyone. It’s very easy, and even if you should get momentarily stuck there’s a generous hint system that recharges after only about 15 seconds. The potion-creating process is slightly trickier – since a wrong move causes the potion to go up in smoke – but even then the ingredients you need are highlighted for you so you can’t choose the wrong one by mistake. The ending is somewhat anticlimactic as well, given how much of a build-up there is to your encounter with the thieving dragons.

With its modest level of challenge and unhurried gameplay, Hodgepodge Hollow: A Potions Primer will find an audience among people who like their game to be stress-free. It’s also a great choice for parents or grandparents to play with young kids. It’s worth a demo download if only to check out the wonderful art style.