Avernum Escape from the Pit iOS (iPad) Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 7.8
Graphics 7.7
Sound 7.5
Value 7.5
Distributor: iTunes
Review Date:
June 2012
Reviewer:
Ho Wong

7.7


Avernum: Escape from the Pit

I have yet to experience an excellent full-fledged RPG on the iPad, complete with grinding, dungeon-traversing and statistics galore.  And it was with this trepidation that Avernum falls into my hot little hands.  Avernum has quite a cult following, the series already numbering seven releases on Macs and Windows. Avenum : Escape from the Pit is the first game to be converted to the iPad. The game seriously panders to my sensibilities - it is an old-school rpg seemingly a homage to the days of Ultima and Wasteland when Interplay and Origin were king.  It is also an indie-game, so lacks the development resources of the big-league players.  It must also be noted that the original incarnation was released over a decade ago.

Avernum starts off with the ubiquitous party of four, thrown into the subterranean world known as Avernum.  Avernum is used as punishment for the surface-dwellers and is in itself a rich cavernous world, dotted with settlements and governed by its own political system.  Your initial aim is to try to find your way back to the upper world, but as you progress, your objectives may change - that is up to you.  The world is presented in an overhead view and the graphics are functional (but rather basic and dated).  The beauty of the world though is in the rich descriptions that emerge as you explore Avernum and interact with the characters.  The developers have attempted to detail a vision of a functioning world, despite the predicament of the trapped inhabitants and have succeeded somewhat.  The writing does convey a sense of order within chaos but I believe is still let down by the lacklustre presentation.

The game engine though is worth commending as there exists loads of depth for those with patience.  There are many varied classes to try as well as an extensive talent tree.  The addition of traits, similar to Falloutís talents, allows customisation of your characters, away from the usual attribute increases.  There also are loads of side-quests for level advancement (and equipment gathering).

The controls are fiddly and have not made the move to the iPad without issues.  Tapping on squares to attack and move will, quite often, end up performing a totally different, unwanted action.  The problematic path finding also needs tweaking, as your characters will frequently take the long way around, which is infuriating during combat.  On level advancement, the pluses and minuses seem to be unresponsive as well - perhaps they are just too small. Similarly, dismissing windows also requires tapping on a small button as well.   I think the transition to the iPad required a little more customisation - the addition of a custom zoom for the overhead view, bigger buttons, ability to dismiss windows by tapping outside, little touches like that would have gone a long way.

I tried to like Avernum as some of my favourite gaming moments take place in RPGs but Avernum is difficult to get into.  Ignoring the obvious presentation issues, I never felt an attachment to the world of Avernum or my characters. Although the vision of Avernum consists of excellent writing describing separate locations and characters, the sense of a collective, consistent world as a whole was lacking.  The constant control issues also donít help.  For devoted RPG fans looking for a traditional RPG, this could be worth a look, but for myself, I will keep waiting unfortunately.

 






 
 



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