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Developer: Spiderweb Software
Price: $9.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad (third generation)

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Avernum: Escape from the Pit HD is an iPad version of the recreation of the previously PC/Mac-only Avernum series. The series is made by indie developer Spiderweb Software. Rewind to a few years ago and Avernum: Escape from the Pit HD would rank among some of my favorite RPGs. And even for not fitting my style, playing through the game was quite fun.

The story follows exiled warriors in an underworld, cavernous place known as Avernum. The surface of the world is ruled by an evil Emperor who banishes anyone who misbehaves, breaks laws, or simply doesn’t fit in the society to hellish Avernum. The champions join a nation of Avernites who’ve somehow survived the cruel environment, monsters, and truly bad people that get sent through the portal.

The battle system is what I described as no longer my “style” of RPG. The characters fight in a tile and turn-based fighting system that takes place on the very map the characters explore on. When the combat system appears (enemies near or manually turned on), tiles appear on the ground and the players proceed to a turn-based fighting system complete with movement limits, spells, special abilites, and looting. The fighting system was enjoyable but I prefer instanced turn-based combat like Final Fantasy.

The graphics were good (for this art style). I played plenty of RPGs like this on my computer when I was younger and these type of graphics fit well with the iPad. Unfortunately, I’ve been spoiled with the highly graphical, 3-D RPGs of recent days and can’t really get into Avernum: Escape from the Pit HD ‘s retro RPG-style graphics.

There are a variety of different character classes that can make up a players four person party. This feature adds a bit of a replay value to a game that might otherwise not have one. Players can go back and replay the game with a different set of characters.

The only problem I had was that it wasn’t obvious how many blocks each character could move for each turn of combat. It was hard to plan out more complex maneuvers when I didn’t know exactly how far my characters could move. Eventually, I got a feel for it but I never took the time to count the steps. I’m sure there’s a way to find the maximum number of tiles a player can move, but it wasn’t totally apparent and therefore should be brought to light in a pop-up tip or tutorial.

Overall, Avernum: Escape from the Pit HD will be quite an epic experience for anyone who enjoys this older style of RPG. The storyline is interesting, combat system is complex and enjoyable, and the graphics and music fit this type of game well.

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Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, Reviews

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