Howie & Yarla is a top-down 2D action game in which players control Howie, a pubescent high school student. One day, a demonic being named Yarla sprouts out from Howie's back. When the fabric of space and time collapses and a demon army invades Howie's school, Howie and Yarla must work together to save the day!
Players use Howie's supernatural tendrils to bite, grab, and throw enemies to defeat them. Yarla can also absorb their powers and unlock powerful abilities. Help Howie and Yarla clear out the school of evil demons and set everything back to normal!
You know, as normal as high school can get.
Team Howie & Yarla is an energetic team of students collaborating from campuses including the University of Southern California, Brown University, and Woodbury University. The team leads pitched the game as a part of USC's Advanced Games Project. The school's faculty selected Howie & Yarla for development in the span of an academic year. The game will be presented to an industry audience in May 2015.
The crux of Howie & Yarla is to not only send players on a humorous adventure through puberty, but also to invite them to reflect on their own high school experiences and poke fun at themselves. Everyone goes through puberty and high school. And no one ever wants to go through it again. It's a very awkward and silly time in peoples' lives that could lead to many exaggerated and comical gameplay and story moments. For example, we created Yarla as a parallel to the many different uncomfortable things that people find growing from their bodies during puberty.
Rather than focusing on a character that primarily inflicts damage on his enemies directly, we chose a mechanic that works more indirectly. Using Yarla's tendrils, players can not only bite enemies, but also grab enemies and throw them at each other. This causes massive damage to crowds of enemies and is highly encouraged through level design.
Howie & Yarla is under development at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, under the USC Games™ Advanced Games Program.