Home | Profile - Edit | Your Page | Your Inbox Browse | Search Games   |   Log In

howling dogs

by Porpentine profile

Secret
2012

Web Site

Return to the game's main page

Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(23)
4 star:
(33)
3 star:
(14)
2 star:
(5)
1 star:
(5)
Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 80
Write a review


Previous | << 1 2 3 4 >> | Next | Show All


- John Ayliff (Vancouver, BC), March 28, 2017

- TheAncientOne, January 28, 2017

- SLane, January 27, 2017

- hoopla, November 2, 2016

.., September 14, 2016

This is one of the most influential twine games by the amazing Porpentine. It actually took me a while to play this game because it's quite long and I think the first time I played this I also, believe it or not, got lost somehow. It was one of the first twine games I've ever played but gave up several times because I always veered off somewhere else and accidently restarted it. But one night, I said to myself, "I've played all the other Porps, so I should finish Howling Dogs."

I won't be saying anything much different from anyone else. But this game is quite bleak, but yet so tender to the touch, so freaking beautiful. The magical realist universes you transport into, so small but yet so well built, as you leave some sort of galactic prison. Like, other than novels, this is one of the most moving pieces of text I've read. I also give a star for that Kenzaburo Oe quote.

Pros: Thick and bleak Sci-Fi. Time Travel.
Cons: May be too long for some. It doesn't deter from the story in my opinion but people who aren't use to playing Twine games might find it tiresome?

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Dense and somewhat haunting., August 19, 2016
It's difficult to know what to make of howling dogs. It is written well, the imagery it evokes is poetic, almost to the detriment of story, but it is certainly affecting.

I've played through it twice now, and gotten both endings, and to be honest I still can't tell you exactly what it is about, not fully. It is not a story, so much as it is a semi-interactive piece of art, and as that it succeeds very well... I suspect that I will still be thinking about this game long after, something that I can't say for a lot of games that I enjoyed a lot more than this one.

Many other reviews talk about how much this game has to say about women, and looking back that is definitely a theme running strong within the disjointed scenes. Equally fascinating though, as with much Art, is how much of what you see is what you brought with you. In my first play through, it never occurred to me the protagonist might be female. It also never occurred to me that the prophet was a "joan of arc" figure, as in my mind they were also male.

Reading it the second time, I projected a female PC, and a Joan of Arc figure, and it worked equally well - the writing is beautifully designed that way, to magnify your own prejudices and allow you to see your own reflection.

I play for enjoyment, and I didn't enjoy this a great deal, hence the 3 stars. It was confusing, it was confronting, and as Art it succeeded in unbalancing me. It was quite well done.

- Horace Torys, July 27, 2016

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Bold, weird dreaming through hypertext innovations, July 18, 2016
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: choice-based, IFComp 2012, Twine
(I originally published this review on 1 October 2012 as part of my blog of IFComp 2012. This was the 1st of 26 games I reviewed.)

I thought that kicking off my IFComp 2012 quest with a hyperlink powered game la howling dogs might somehow ease my brain into the gear required for the more typically strenuous parser fare to come. I was wrong; howling dogs brought the strenuous straight away. This piece is an ominous and often perplexing journey through poetic language, virtual reality-ish dreaming and shifting female roles. Beyond its subject matter, it also forced me to immediately confront a bunch of issues concerning different kinds of interactivity in text games I'd rather have put off until later. howling dogs is dynamically beautiful and writerly, but I would point out now for consumers that it is essentially not a game-state game. It's a text with many digressions and some strong aesthetic tricks. It's also pretty weird. To learn more, you may read beyond this paragraph into my more content (but not puzzle) spoiling territory.

The player's initial situation is sparse and sparsely depicted. You're trapped in some kind of quarters with a shower, food, a room whose nature screen keeps you sane, and the 'activity' room where you can go to have virtual reality experiences that aren't of your choice. By the bed is a photo of a woman you once knew. Ultimately the only thing you can do to escape each day's monotony is plug yourself into the activity room. In each of the ensuing virtual realities you seem to be a different person in a different situation, and at the conclusion of each dream you wake up back in your quarters.



The scope of the dreams (and I use the term loosely there's no certainty that they are dreams) is wide ranging, to say the least. There's a gory phantasmagorical war produced by some entity which bends slightly to your resistance or lack thereof to its choice of material. There's a Zen experience involving describing a garden viewed through a paper slot. The ultimate, lavish scenario follows the growth of a prophesied empress with a bone foot.



The series of shorter dreams which come first and flit about in subject matter seem pretty resistant to interpretation on a first play, but the later and longer scenarios start to draw out a theme of the persistent and constricting roles for women which have been laid down over the ages. In one story you're Joan of Arc waiting to be burned. By the game's end you're an empress, arguably powerful but still bound to various aesthetic and behavioural expectations, deciding which masks to wear and which of various predetermined actions to take. The empress story reminded me of some of Tanith Lee's books; Vivia (about an impotent vampire princess) and Law of the Wolf Tower (the adventures of a harried quasi-princess teen). The game's final quote from John Wesley about the indefatigable evil of angels also reminded me of Lars Von Trier's film Antichrist and its concerns with myths of the perpetual evil of women.



These are my ideas and not stone, for this is plainly a game open to wide interpretation. I describe it as dynamically beautiful as it demonstrates a perfect sense of timing and flow in its aesthetics. Not just in the language but in the visual delivery of the game; the pace at which the text appears, the moments the game chooses to repeat things. Some tricks it has which are minimally visceral, like lines which fade or flicker like a broken light, weird links hidden in punctuation, deliberately blurred text. This is some of the most interesting use of this hyperlink format I've seen to date. However, I rarely found much use for the 'Rewind' link, having much more luck with my browser's 'Back' button, and occasionally the need to drag the mouse back and forth over links became laborious particularly on one rather amazing screen which apparently leads to an alternate ending. I was unable to find that ending, but the need to repeatedly move between links in the text and the 'Back' link which kept reappearing in the corner was more than my RSI could stand.



howling dogs was a very interesting and promising introduction to this year's competition for me, and also demonstrates further innovation in the area of hyperlink pieces. The writing is fine, the dynamics excellent, the imagery clear and strange.

- LayzaSkully (Italy), July 15, 2016

- Lucas Brook, May 12, 2016

- Snave, May 7, 2016

- zeartless, April 15, 2016

- Teaspoon, April 13, 2016

- E. W. B., February 23, 2016

- Kevin Snow, February 14, 2016

- Hannah Powell-Smith, February 4, 2016

A sci-fi imprisonment game showing the power of Twine, February 3, 2016

by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
Porpentine is currently the best writer of Twine fiction out there. Howling dogs is perhaps her best work. This branching, non-linear long game is a far cry from most twine games, and in fact better than most parser games.

In howling dogs, you are imprisoned in some sort of futuristic cell. You alternate between boring, daily life and brief trips in a VR machine. The trips become more and more complex, and have deep underriding themes about inevitability and restraint.

I only got the bad ending at first; I didn't realize there was a good ending until I read the reviews. To get the ending:(Spoiler - click to show)On the page with tons of links, one link will give you the good ending. It isn't random, but plot related.

I recommend this game for everyone.

- Fantacide (California), January 13, 2016

- underrh, January 4, 2016

- Aryore, December 26, 2015

- Onirim (Argentina), December 25, 2015

- branewurms, December 24, 2015

- Brendan Patrick Hennessy (Toronto, Ontario), December 7, 2015

- Cat Manning, November 17, 2015

- verityvirtue (London), November 1, 2015


Previous | << 1 2 3 4 >> | Next | Show All | Return to game's main page