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Avernum: Escape From the Pit HD review (iPad)

April 12, 2012

“Get me out, get me out of this place
Get me out, get me out of this trap”

10 word description: Epic indie fantasy role-playing adventure. Eighty towns and dungeons.

10 word review: Complex, engrossing – very much the definitive iPad RPG (for now).

Moving around the main game-world. Random encounters and notable locations zoom in to a much closer view

You will like this if you enjoy: Large (very), deep and detailed party-based RPGs with turn-based combat and well written, compelling text. You also need to enjoy investing quite a lot of your time into your iPad gaming.

Shopping is easy, if you have enough money. Tap an item to compare it with your equivalent equipped gear

The good news: It’s big, and in a good way. Character creation and development is complex but never overwhelming. Great writing; the detail and layers of lore and dark humour add even more atmosphere and life to the world and characters. The visuals, while never particularly mind-blowing, are varied and detailed; in this genre, graphics are not the most important feature anyway. The story is fairly original, with three game-winning quests that optionally involve killing formidable enemies and obtaining some impressive weaponry.

Click the image to view it full size if you want to read the text. It's a good example of the dark humour in the game, coming very close to the 4th wall too...

The bad news: There’s nothing I could find that would spoil anyone’s enjoyment, providing you’re a fan of this kind of epic party-based RPG and you have plenty of time to play it. I initially thought the walking speed and animations were too fast, but the size of the game-world definitely requires fast walking!

Some of the interface buttons are very small, particularly the + buttons when you assign skill points and choose traits, but that’s a small trade-off for such a fantastically detailed and excellently presented game.

Yes, those + and - buttons are very small

Arcadelife verdict: At the moment, the only game that can really be compared to this (on iPad) is Avadon, the other epic RPG from Spiderweb Software. I am finding that I am enjoying Avernum more than Avadon, possibly because the party is instantly formed at the start of the game and you really are dropped straight into the action, with a fairly short tutorial level to complete before being let loose into the main game-world.

Clearing out an old fort that has been overrun by brigands - just another day in Avernum

If you’re after a proper RPG, with stats, levelling, loot, quests, almost infinite character customisation, lots of character classes, big fights and a massive map … you need this game.

This is one of the first small towns that you will find as you begin to explore

Also, if you’re at all interested in playing classic RPGs on your iPad, you will know that Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition is coming in the summer and that will be a significant addition to the iPad RPG line-up. However, don’t miss out on Avernum just because that other game is coming – this is a serious chunk of RPG goodness which will easily keep you happy until then, and probably well beyond that too!

The map of the main game-world. Yes, it's big

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 7.5/10
Audio – 8/10
Controls – 8.5/10
Content – 10/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 90/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0

iTunes link

Avernum website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (OS 5.0.1)
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