In today's day and age, Spiderweb Software's games may seem like a novelty, but make no doubt that for the right audience they are exceptionally good games that offer a lot of bang for their buck. Avernum: Escape From The Pit is a modernized version of the Avernum series, and while the graphics are still not flashy the game more than makes up for it with good writing and solid turn based combat.
The game is a text heavy one, a blessing or a curse depending on the person playing. The writing is stellar and coupled with the low-key graphics it's one of the few games where you can really use your imagination if you so wish. It is worth noting that Avernum is an open-world RPG, so while I say the writing is stellar, don't expect a centralized story with deep characters--that's not what this game is. The game itself takes place in a huge underground cave complex, a joy for those like me who like underground fantasy settings and even for those who don't should still appreciate the unique and interesting world Avernum presents.
Avernum is lengthy, but if it's your type of game it will feel just right, making it a great game to pick up if you're on a budget. One playthrough alone will take about seventy to eighty hours if you are a semi completionist, and even if you aren't I would wager it would take a good fifty hours to beat. Throw in harder difficulties and achievements and you can easily extend that playtime twofold.
The combat is fairly atypical for a turn based game, but by no means bland. Each ally/enemy gets one turn per round and there are different types of characters your party can contain (priests, mage, etc.). The game is open world as mentioned and it lets you explore the world on your own, the game guides you very loosely but the bulk of the exploration is up to you to do. As thus, you can easily find yourself faced off against baddies that are higher level than you which can keep the game challenging even on normal difficulty.
Open world exploration in the deep caves of Avernum mixed with some awesome writing and very interesting in-game encounters made this game a blast, but one of the things I liked most was how seamlessly the keyboard was integrated into the game. With the exception of needing to use my touchpad to click on a few interactive objects in the game world and assigning character stats/equipping items, just about everything you need to do in-game can be done with just the keyboard. Conversations, looting, fighting, moving--can all be done with the keyboard. If you're playing at home on your desktop, this may not mean much, but if you want to play this on a laptop without a mouse handy, this game is the one. Very few RPGs can be played on low-end laptops and even fewer can be played without a mouse, but Avernum is perhaps the only game I've played that's required mouse/touchpad input so sparsely. I feel like I could have enjoyed an amazing RPG experience from any Spiderweb game, but this one stands out to me due to the stellar keyboard integration.