The Howler: It’s Retro Fun with New Concepts


Price: $1.99
The Howler
iPad App Review by

Reviewed by Luke Patrick

Reviewed by Luke Patrick

In an industry that’s driven by photocopying what is successful, it’s both refreshing and unbelievably heartwarming to see titles that are reinventing what can be done. That’s a hefty sentence to start with, but in our minds, The Howler, from Antanas Marcelionis, is nothing short of a herald for what can be done in Indi development for iOS.

The game offers a unique concept, incredible artwork, mercilessly simple controls, and enough gameplay to keep us hooked for a while. Furthermore, it’s just fun, which with these arty concept pieces isn’t always the case. If that’s not enough to get you to read our full review, then we don’t know what is—either way, you’ll find it floating below!

Concept and Gameplay

In a lot of ways, The Howler reminds us a lot less of anything we’ve ever played on our iPad, and a whole lot more of some of the finer titles we’ve seen for Xbox Arcade. For instance, the concept is well within the current, top-shelf industry trend of scaled-back controls. Here’s what we mean:

The game provides you with 16 puzzles for completion. To do this, you’ll need to press (or shout, interestingly) to raise your hot air balloon—or similar craft. You do this to put the vehicle into various air streams, which can lead you toward your target.

You’ll need to dodge obstacles, use bombs, and generally speaking navigate your way to the pointed-out objective to complete the map. Obviously this gets much harder in practice, but there’s really only one mechanic you need to worry about: Either whistle, hum, or otherwise shout at the device to move up and down (or just tap, as we tended to prefer).

And that’s it! It’s beauty in simplicity, and with puzzles that truly test your wits, it’s a great deal of fun.

Artwork and Graphics

The Howler for iPhone

The Howler for iPhone

With that in mind, the game’s graphics are also nothing less than superb. Each level has been hand drawn on paper, and the end result is mysterious, luxurious and endlessly engaging. We loved the feel a lot, which is high praise from picky artists like us.

In addition, the level design itself has clearly been thought about a great deal. You’ll only get 15 levels (not that much, really) but with the quality of each entry, it’s still hard to dock the application any points for it. All in all, The Howler is a stunning effort, and one that’s nearly unprecedented on the platform.

Overall Value

Is The Howler perfect? Well, no: The content is a bit short after all, and we’re not sure we like the inclusion of the microphone controls in the first place. But aside from that, it’s still an app you need to try, even with the two dollar price tag.

Download it not only because it’s a great game but also because this is innovation, and the likes of which we rarely see on the iPad. If you enjoy games you will enjoy this one, and it’s well worth the price of entry.

The HowlerThe Howler requires iOS 3.2 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid to speed up the publication of this review.

The iPhone app reviews rating: 

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