This is an image from the video game “Howl.” The OSV News classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. (OSV News photo/Astragon)

(OSV News) – The folktale-style narrative of the turn-based tactical game “Howl” (Astragon) harkens back to the medieval era. But instead of Gothic cathedrals or towering castles, the plot recalls the many illnesses that beset the Middle Ages.

A once-peaceful village is struck by the “howling plague,” a sound-transmitted disease that turns its victims into feral monsters. To seek a cure — and to learn the fate of her missing brother — a young, deaf heroine known only as the Prophet sets out on a dangerous quest.

The protagonist’s lack of hearing turns out, ironically, to be an advantage since it renders her immune to the spreading ailment.

A sturdy framework for her overall story is absent, however. There’s little explanation as to why she’s called the Prophet, for instance. And, although there are occasional references to prayer, religious or mythological specifics — for better or worse — are never clearly defined.

Gameplay is not overly complicated. This simplicity allows players to relax and take in the artistry of this title’s ink drawings and beautiful soundtrack.

There are 60 playable levels spread across four story chapters. Each level presents a grid for the heroine to cross. Along her path are obstacles that must be overcome, werewolves that have to be fought as well as people in need of rescue.

Additionally, there are two resources to collect in-game: confidence and skulls. Finishing a level within a certain number of turns provides the maximum amount of confidence while skulls are gained by defeating enemies. Saving strangers encountered in the woods also boosts confidence ratings.

There’s a laid-back feel to “Howl,” which never seems rushed. As for the violence inherent in the Prophet’s struggle, its depiction is restricted to a smattering of crimson ink.

The illustrations are reminiscent of illuminated manuscripts, and they come to life as players progress through the game. This further enhances the peaceful ambiance. At a reasonable price point of $15.99, this is an enjoyable little adventure that’s suitable for teens as well as grown-ups.

Playable on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch and Windows.

The game contains mostly stylized combat with mild blood effects. The OSV News classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

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