Howl Review

Howl by developer Mi'pu'mi Games and publisher astragonMicrosoftXbox Series X review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Howl is an interesting title that I admittedly needed some time to warm up to. It wasn’t reaally what I was expecting initially, but as I grew to understand the gameplay better, I also came to appreciate the rest of the package more.

To start, Howl calls itself a turn-based tactical game, which is accurate if not exactly how I expected things to play out. Essentially, you occupy a map with squares you move about on, with a handful of abilities that help you traverse from entry point to exit as you attempt to survive the monsters also on the map. While you make decisions in turn-by-turn fashion, you and your opponents execute them at the same time. That puts emphasis on learning their behaviors (though there are settings to make the experience a bit easier and permit you to see what the monsters will do on that turn). The entire thing has sort of a see-sawing trial and error element that makes Howl feel much more like a puzzle game than a true tactics game.

Perhaps that is a distinction that is splitting hairs, but I have to admit I found it a little offputting initially. Progression is also handled quite differently than the typical strategy game, with no emphasis on things like experience points, but instead currency in the form of skulls (from killing enemies) and confidence (from beating the stage in or under a predetermned number of turns, again adding that sense of ‘puzzle’ to the experience). You can however, unlock additional or upgraded skills as you progress through the game, giving you more robust opportunities to deal with the stages and deepending the gameplay experience in meaningful ways.

It's all wrapped up in a charming presentation. I’ve always had a fondness for the sort of ‘hand drawn’ style of art used here for the visuals. It’s bright, it’s pretty easy to distinguish things on the maps that look like old parchment. The audio didn’t tickle my fancy quite as much, but it’s still pleasant enough. The music and sound are fitting, and the narrator’s voice has a certain warmth that does the tale justice, even if the story itself felt a bit thin to me by the game’s midpoint. The premise of how your protagonist the prophet is deaf and therefore able to resist the howling sound that curses people into becoming monsters has a nice folklore feel to it that unfortunately fell a bit flat for me by the game’s ending.

Speaking of the ending, Howl is not a terribly long game, but maybe that’s to its benefit. The primary story can be completed in about four hours, and if you really want to clean up everything and be a completionist, it probably takes about another three hours or so to achieve. Given the indie nature of the game, that’s probably enough content and keeps Howl from overstaying its welcome.

If you like trial and error (with a heavy emphasis on error and trying again), Howl’s formula will be pretty appealing. It wasn’t quite the game I was expecting when I fired it up, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad game by any means. In fact I’d go so far as to say it was a pleasant experience worth trying out, even with a few frustrations and flaws along the way.

Score: 7 out of 10



Post a Comment

Random posts

Our Streamers

Susan "Jagtress" N.

S.M. Carrière

Louis aka Esefine



JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada

JenEricDesigns – Coffee that ships to the US and Canada
Light, Medium and Dark Roast Coffee available.

Blog Archive