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Howlville: The Dark Past Giveaway

Game Giveaway of the day — Howlville: The Dark Past

Reveal the mystery of the secret experiment and find Rachel’s father!
User rating: 35 (88%) 5 (12%) 9 comments

Howlville: The Dark Past was available as a giveaway on October 14, 2018!

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Discover the secret of Rachel's past in Howlville: The Dark Past! Many years ago an artifact was found in a mine near the small town of Howlville. The government asked Dr. Joseph and a group of scientists to examine it. Something went wrong and the experiments were halted and classified. The town closed off. Since then nobody knows what happened to Dr. Joseph. Fifteen years later his daughter Rachel is on the verge of solving the mystery, but somebody is doing everything possible to keep her from succeeding. Help find Rachel's father and save the world from the looming catastrophe!

System Requirements:

Windows XP/ Vista/ 7/ 8/ 10; CPU: 2.0 GHz; RAM: 1024 MB; DirectX: 9.0; Hard Drive: 1285 MB





File Size:

359 MB



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Please excuse the lack of moderation yesterday, we didn’t arrive back from our university trip until after midnight because we called in to see relatives before we returned home.
Howlville: The Dark Past
In Brief
Howlville: The Dark Past is an adventure hidden object puzzle game with some excellent mini games spread liberally throughout the game. Most puzzles link with the hidden object scenes as opposed to being completely separate from them.

Howlville: The Dark Past downloads to a 359 MB zip file that unzips to three files, (a setup.gcd security wrapper, the set-up file and a read me). To install Howlville: The Dark Past click on the orange key file labelled set up and not the setup.gcd file. Those with multiple hard drives can save games on any drive they wish, just change the default installation path. The newly installed game is 1.22 GB in size. The game installs to the following path by default, but can be changed by the user if you prefer:
C:\Program Files (x86)\MyPlayCity.com\Howlville The Dark Past
Four shortcuts are installed to the desktop, three of which can be safely deleted (Play Online Games, MyPlayCity Games and shortcuts to a free online game which vary each week). Also, if you don't like icons installed to the quick launch task bar, make sure you uncheck the box when the ''additional tasks'' window appears (after the Select Start Menu Folder window)

Discover the secret of Rachel's past in Howlville: The Dark Past! Many years ago an artifact was found in a mine near the small town of Howlville. The government asked Dr. Joseph and a group of scientists to examine it. Something went wrong, and the experiments were halted and classified. The town closed off. Since then nobody knows what happened to Dr. Joseph. Fifteen years later his daughter Rachel is on the verge of solving the mystery, but somebody is doing everything possible to keep her from succeeding. Help find Rachel's father and save the world from the looming catastrophe!
Reference accessed HERE 14th October 2018
The Game:
Review 1:
Released in 2012, on first glance, Howlville: The Dark Secret is perfectly packaged to imitate its long line of ancestors who’ve thrilled audiences with their haunted houses, car crashes, and mysterious towns—or at least bombarded them into a numb acceptance of commercial standards. But from the title screen forward, Howlville distinguishes itself from the gloomy flock with a unique twist on the tried-and-true gameplay of hidden-object games. Instead of puzzles and hidden objects existing as separate entities; they’ve nested puzzles and tons of interaction into each hidden-object scenes, creating a very different pace and strategy for familiar mechanics.

The game opens predictably for the genre—you’ve escaped a mental institution and you’re driving a stolen vehicle down some forbidden highway in search of an even more forbidden town. Rachel, the protagonist, reveals in an intimate tone that she is looking for her father, one of two scientists who disappeared in Howlville years ago while investigating an artifact. Eventually, the other scientist is established as the antagonist, but the how’s and why’s in Howlville are never quite fleshed out enough to matter. It reminded me of older adventure games where the programmers would hire a writer after the fact to “add some story” to the gameplay. And although the cutscenes were written with care, but the journal and in-game text could’ve benefited from some judicious editing.
Where N-Tri Studios’ first game really shines is in the gameplay—a major achievement just out of the chute. There are five chapters, each consisting of limited locations, so you’re only moving between three scenes at most, making it impossible to get lost. This approach works here because most of the needed items are garnered from intense hidden-object scenes that are puzzles in and of themselves.
Most scenes featured tiered levels of interaction: the first was moving objects to find other objects, the second was using an object in the scene to open/unlock another object to find other objects, and the third level was solving actual puzzles within the scene, such as a jigsaw or Rubik’s cube, to find an object. Each scene was a real challenge and I found myself scratching my head more than I would with some “real” adventure games.

Also impressive was the game’s use of monitor real estate. The HUD was clean and simple, and the in-game text was restricted to small text boxes that appeared when your pointer paused on a hotspot, allowing the eyes to give their full attention to the hand-drawn scenes. The music was about as aesthetically pleasing as a looped audio track can be, the sound effects appropriate, and the voice over, although scant, was well done.
But sometimes a player can have too much of a good thing. With all the layers of interaction, the hidden-object scenes become major undertakings that could last ten minutes or longer—especially if they contain two or more puzzles. (Be forewarned: the Skip button takes two minutes to charge.) Although most of the interactions were logical, some required leaps and bounds of faith that two such objects should go together. At times the length of time in a hidden-object scene detracted from the overall adventure and would’ve detracted from the story if there’d been one. And just as I’d breathe a sigh of relief that I’d completed all that puzzling, I’d find another active hidden-object scene in the same location!
As a standard edition, Howlville: The Dark Secret knocks it out of the park and deserves to be played on novelty factor alone. Whether you consider yourself a puzzle gamer or a hidden-object gamer, you’ll find plenty to love in N-Tri Studios’ gameplay mash up. And if you’re looking for a hardcore challenge, play the game on Expert mode—you’ll carry out thousands of interactions without a single glint!
Reference accessed HERE original review by
Keely Alexander on Jul 11, 2012; Edited and reposted by Whiterabbit-uk 14th Oct 2018.

Review 2:
Howlville: The Dark Past is a lightly-flavored science fiction-themed hidden object adventure game from N-Tri Studio. Featuring a balanced mix of puzzle solving, item hunting, and adventuring, Howlville manages to be a hidden object game without feeling like a rehash of the games that came before it, touching on common elements found in the genre but focusing intently on smart puzzles that really challenge the player. The result is something light and casual, recognizable but still different enough to offer mounds of enjoyment.
The protagonist Rachel lost her father when she was a child, and she's been searching for him her entire life. Gaining access to some "secret archives", she learned he was one of two scientists investigating a strange artifact in the town of Howlville. Something went wrong, though, and the town has since been declared off-limits, its location hidden from the public. Rachel eventually found the classified city only to be thrown in a mental institution shortly afterwards. Now she has escaped, and as the game begins, she's on her way to Howlville. As you probably guessed, things only get weirder from this point on, what with all the mad scientistry and whatnot…...
The game is laid out in a series of small sections blocked by puzzles that require multiple steps to complete. As you explore each area, you'll pick up several items to keep in your inventory, most of which have logical uses later in the game. You'll also complete a number of mini-games to gain access to new areas, such as completing fuses to light up rooms, or gathering certain numbers of unusual items so you can open locked boxes, cabinets, and the like.

The game sticks with the established hidden object formula, but it does so without sinking too deeply into it. The story features a smattering of elements we've all seen before, such as mysteriously vanishing grandparents, a protagonist from a mental institution, and a dark, semi-haunted town to explore. But Howlville is almost parodical in nature, lightly skimming the surface of the hidden object genre just as an excuse to deliver a series of wonderfully-constructed puzzles.
The story and setting are simple but interesting, but the visuals do manage to stand out as being crisp and easy to see. The game doesn't support widescreen, however, which is a bit of a shame seeing as how it looks so good. Most of the time you'll be so focused on the unique mini-games and strange puzzles you won't be thinking about things like aspect ratios or black bars on the side of your screen.
Reference accessed HERE original review by JohnB | July 8, 2012; Edited and reposted by Whiterabbit-uk 14th Oct 2018.

Other Reviews, Walkthroughs and Videos of Howlville: The Dark Past:
You can see community reviews of Howlville: The Dark Past HERE (go to bottom of the page) & HERE (mainly positive), plus forum comments, suggestions and help HERE. You can also see game play videos of Howlville: The Dark Past HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE & HERE and some walkthroughs HERE & HERE
Simply enjoyable is a good way to describe Howlville: The Dark Past. The game doesn't veer too far in any genre-defined direction, allowing it to maintain its HOG likeability without alienating any type of player. It's got game play where it counts, and both the in-game puzzles and mini-games and are some of the most satisfying puzzles around! The downside is the poor storyline.
An 8 out of 10 thumbs up from me and a game well worth downloading.

If you miss today's game giveaway you can always get the game free via MyPlayCity 24/7 HERE; or If you prefer to purchase the game you can get it directly from Big Fish Games HERE or Steam HERE. You can also get it as a bundle via Steam with three other HOG’s (Crossroad Mysteries: The Broken Deal, Ashley Clark: Secret of the Ruby & Ashley Clark: The Secrets of the Ancient Temple) and with 30% off at the moment HERE
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank MyPlayCity for giving away Howlville: The Dark Past with the toolbars removed and to the game giveaway team, as always, for securing other ways to get free games.
After you've had an opportunity to play Howlville: The Dark Past please take a few moments to give some positive or negative feedback about the game; for example, what you liked or disliked, or how improvements could be made to make it more enjoyable and perhaps change your mind about this game? If you don't like Hidden Object games like Howlville: The Dark Past, please explain why? If you don't have time to post a comment today, please do so at your convenience. These comments will always be accessible for as long as this site is open and provide a valuable resource for game developers, thank you. To access the comments once the giveaway is over, open the game giveaway to its home page then scroll to the bottom of the page where it says Archives and select the date the giveaway was live (giveaway days are in bold type). This will open up the appropriate page for you to post your comment or review.

Useful Information not related to today's game giveaway:
I've updated the games section that used to be posted with the review. The thread is now called 'Weekly roundup of game deals', formerly the games section of the weekly reviews. You can find the new thread (which I've posted in the sticky section of the game discussion forums to make it easier to find if you are perusing the game discussion forums) HERE.
The rest of the information that used to be posted here can be found in the forums HERE. Also, check out Delenns thread over in the game discussion forums for details of other free games and offers HERE
Having problems installing today's game?
If you have a problem installing or activating or getting Howlville: The Dark Past to work please visit the problems section, which you can find in the FAQ's thread HERE. Also read through the community’s comments because sometimes fixes have already been posted. The main issue we have is with the giveaway wrapper, which uses a Themida based code to protect the games executable. Unfortunately, Themida is also used to hide malware; so, as a precaution, some security software may block the installation and sometimes even delete the executable file. Blocking or deletion is usually determined partly by the way your computer is set up. Usually you'll get a message saying ''the file is corrupted'', but, the files are okay. There are a couple of things you can do to overcome this issue. The first is to reboot in safe mode with networking, install the game then reboot, or secondly you can (at your own risk) temporarily turn off your security, install the game, then turn your security back on. A note of reassurance to those that choose the latter and quicker method. The game giveaway team have been giving away games for over a decade (Dec 2006 & prior to that, via the main site 2 or 3 times weekly from Oct 2006 to Dec 2006) and have 'NEVER' given away a game infected with malware; they always test every giveaway with several of the top anti-malware suites to ensure all games are free from malware.
If for any reason you want to contact the giveaway team, for example, if you have a problem getting the latest game or other issues that the FAQ's thread or these comments don't cover or solve or if you have a game to offer the community you can do so HERE



Reply   |   Comment by Whiterabbit-uk  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+28)

Download was timely and game opened quickly. I switched to regular cursor due, because the other was flighty!!
Game play is smooth and graphics are good. Game play is fairly simple with one item to collect after another. The little added finds in the hog are just time consuming to me and do not add much to game play. The puzzles are okay, but run of the mill! Will continue and see if becomes more interesting, but it is a good Halloween month game! Thanks for another good game and have a great week! Lee

Reply   |   Comment by Lee  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (0)

I couldn't pick up the screwdriver, no matter what I tried. yes I uncovered it so nothing was on top of it. The top showed I was to get it but I couldn't. Couldn't get the key out , it would just crank when I'd click on it. So I couldn't get the key to unlock the back door of the vehicle.
So, I didn't get to try your game. What a shame to be defeated before I even begin to play it. Sad face here.

Reply   |   Comment by Doyle Allen  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (-1)

Doyle Allen, Oh I found the link for game tips on this page. Thanks. Wow this game is very complicated/challenging. Jeepers! Thanks again.

Reply   |   Comment by Doyle Allen  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (-1)

Doyle Allen,
I am unsure why you cannot pick up the screwdriver. As far as the key cranking, it sounds like you are talking about the ignition key. That key does not come out! The key you need is elsewhere in the scene. I hope that helps some.

.........................................Moderator Comment....................................
Thanks for your continued help after the giveaway has ended, it is appreciated. regards Stephen

Reply   |   Comment by jboy  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+2)

Downloaded and installed fine on Win10 Home x 64. As always, paused Avast AV and Zemena AL for the install.

I appreciate the 3 level choices. I am still having morning coffee, though it is afternoon, so currently playing on "Easy" ;-P. The story line is fairly standard stuff but the HOG play is amped-up by the interaction and challenges placed within each HO scene. (e.g., having to complete the Rubik’s cube before collecting it) Took me awhile to figure out how to find something to cut the fence!

Unlike some HOGs where the scenes can be muddled, here, as evidenced by the images Whiterabbit-uk has posted above, the graphics are vivid and sharp. All and all, a well done HOG with a nice twist making for some fun game play.

Thank you to N-Tri , MPC, GGOTD and Stephen.

Reply   |   Comment by jboy  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (+4)

No link to share on Facebook to be able to download. I have to do email. I'd be happy to share if I could. And the link isn't coming in to my email this morning.

Reply   |   Comment by Gt  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (-2)

I always do the email link. Today it did seem to take a few minutes longer than usual but it did come. You might want to give it another try.

Reply   |   Comment by jboy  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (0)

I love these kinds of games! Thank you!

Reply   |   Comment by Tad  –  2 years ago  –  Did you find this comment useful? yes | no (0)
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