A return to the best of classic role playing games but on the iPad
Avernum is an old-style role-playing game for the iPad. It is one of the more expensive apps that we have reviewed but justifies the cost with a detailed and large world to explore with lots of quests to complete and loot to be found.
This is a party-based game so the first step is to create four adventurers to share in the adventures. We stuck with the tried and tested formula of a melee warrior, archer, cleric and sorcerer. There is plenty of help explaining the different skills and attributes so it doesn't take long to get started.
As your party gains experience from winning battles and completing quests they gain levels and can then improve their skills. Some skills have a direct impact on how effective they are in combat but others have a more subtle effect such as whether they can learn spells found while exploring. It's always tempting to go for the short-term gain of combat and spell skills but the other skills will prove just as useful in the long run.
Avernum is set entirely underground, a common feature of spiderweb games. Your party has been banished underground for not fitting in and discovers a nation in the caverns. It is then up to you to decide exactly how your party explores the caverns and how much taking revenge on the empire influences your actions.
There are lots of items to be found, either lying around, in chests or from the remains of dead enemies. Managing inventory is straightforward. We particulary like the way that your currently equipped item is also listed when you tap on an item for more information. This is a great help in deciding whether to upgrade or not.
We also appreciated humour in the game. It's never so much as to spoil the atmosphere but the small touches such as the reference to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in the description of a towel made us smile.
The interface hasn't changed much from the windows versions of these games that we have played and it translates surprisingly well to the purely touch environment of the iPad.
That said, it isn't all perfect. Sometimes it can be hard to tap on just the right spot and getting it wrong can prove fatal in combat. It sometimes isn't clear if tapping on an item will interact with it or just show more information about it. This is another issue in combat when it is helpful to identify all the enemies in order to prioritise who to attack first. Practice helps but maybe some way of setting the game in an information mode would help.
They still make games for Windows and they can be found both on the Spiderweb website and via the Steam software.
Avernum HD has crashed several times on our first generation iPad. We don't know if it's because it's over taxed or there is some other problem. The game does have a regular autosave and so we have never lost more than a few minutes
These small problems aside, this is a great game for the iPad and worth every penny.
Read more reviews
An excellent role playing game for the iPad
Updating your subscription status