Avernum is a land underground, a subterranean nation full of rogues, misfits, and brigands, struggling for survival in the monster-infested darkness.
User reviews: Very Positive (356 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 11, 2012

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Buy Avernum: Escape From the Pit

Packages that include this game

Buy Spiderweb Software Complete Pack

Includes 13 items: Avadon 2: The Corruption, Avadon: The Black Fortress, Avernum 2: Crystal Souls, Avernum 4, Avernum 5, Avernum 6, Avernum: Escape From the Pit, Geneforge 1, Geneforge 2, Geneforge 3, Geneforge 4: Rebellion, Geneforge 5: Overthrow, Nethergate: Resurrection

 

Recommended By Curators

"Huge, holistic world with an interesting storyline, compelling tactical combat, meaningful choices, and more dungeons to explore than you could imagine."
Read the full review here.

Reviews

“The game's strong writing carries it through, and earns it a place among the greatest indie RPGs.”
9.0/10 – Game Chronicles

“Fans looking to get into the Avernum series will do very well with Escape from the Pit, and while the improvements beyond the game engine and visuals are relatively modest, there's still a lot to enjoy even if you've played through the game once before already.”
GameBanshee

“It is a tribute to indie gaming as a whole that a game made by such a tiny team can swell into such an involving, engrossing and glorious fantasy epic.”
9.0/10 – The Digital Fix

“If you're looking for a complex single player RPG and value content at the expense of visuals, don't miss this title.”
8.0/10 – Impulse Gamer

“Spiderweb Software have provided a vast world in which to get lost, and a hefty quest in which to sink your teeth, which will reward those who can overlook its lack of finesse with many hours of enjoyable adventure.”
Indie Game Magazine

About This Game

Avernum is an epic fantasy role-playing adventurer set in an enormous, subterranean nation. Avernum is a land underground, a subterranean nation full of rogues, misfits, and brigands, struggling for survival and wealth in the monster-infested darkness.

You have been banished to the underworld, never to see the light of day again.

The surface is ruled by the cruel Emperor Hawthorne, master of the Empire. All of the known lands are subject to his brutal command. Everyone who speaks out, misbehaves or doesn’t fit in is cast into the dark, volcanic pits of Avernum, far below the surface. There, you are expected to die, a victim of starvation, horrible monsters, or simple despair.

But not all of the Avernites have surrendered. With magic and steel, they are forging a new nation deep underground. You can join them and fight for safety. Or freedom. Or, if you dare, revenge on the surface-worlders who tried to destroy you. Join your new countrymen, explore a huge game world, hunt for hundreds of magical artifacts, choose from hundreds of quests, and become the hero of the underworld!

Key features

  • Epic fantasy adventure in an enormous underworld.
  • Huge outdoors, eighty towns and dungeons, and hundreds of quests.
  • Three separate game-winning quests. Seek safety, escape or revenge. Complete just one or all three!
  • Unique races and settings make Avernum different from any adventure out there.
  • Hundreds of side quests and magical artifacts to discover.
  • Rich game system with over 50 spells and battle disciplines and a multitude of beneficial character traits to choose from.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz
    • Memory: 256 MB RAM, 512 MB Recommended
    • Hard Disk Space: 300 MB
    • Video Card: 3D accelerated graphics card, Open GL compliant
    • OS: OS X 10.5 or later
    • Processor: 1.6 GHz
    • Memory: 256 MB RAM, 512 MB Recommended
    • Hard Disk Space: 300 MB
    • Video Card: 3D accelerated graphics card, Open GL compliant
Helpful customer reviews
84 of 88 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
118.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 1
I love this game more than most people love their children. I carry pictures of Avernum around in my wallet.

This game used to be called Exile, and I was obsessed. I was a nerdy fat kid with a bowl cut and poor social skills. This game was my happy place. It's funny and clever, well-written, in-depth. No loose ends, no DLC, no fear. Unless you cast a fear spell. Then there is fear.

If you like RPGs and you support Indie studios, please buy this one, pretty please. They are a husband & wife team who had a staff as small as three people to make what has become one of the most epic series of games I've ever encountered. Not only that, but I remember them being so nice and helpful when I was a kid and writing them to ask questions about their game. There was no Google. Mind you, this was during a time when MYST had a pay-to-ask hotline, so it was a BIG DEAL that they got in touch. Oh, the nineties.

Don't expect flashy graphics or quick-time events. This is 2D and it's pretty straightforward. There are no cutscenes. Don't expect lazy gameplay where everything is spelled out. Death is unavoidable. SAVE & be prepared with a notebook.

Do expect one of the best, most engrossing, most interesting games of all time. You've been exiled into an underworld full of magic, strange beasts, and those noisy things I try to avoid all the time. You know the ones. People. They need things killed, items fetched, and hugs. Hugs with swords and screaming and demons. And also that mage was on fire when I got here.

You'll get out of it what you put into it. Use your imagination and memory for once, oh and also it wouldn't kill you to shower and shave and call your mum.
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
67.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 6
I was a little wary at first because I loved the original Exile games on the Mac and I was afraid of the changes in this version. Although I do miss the ability to have six party members, I was very pleased to discover that this is a very accessible and fun RPG that still holds up today. If you enjoy non-linear, massive RPGs (and don't mind a bit of reading) this game is worth your time.

PROS
+ Exploring the huge world is fun
+ Loads of quests
+ Nice inventory system (with infinite junk storage)
+ Flexible character upgrade system (anyone can do anything)
+ Optional, built-in cheat menu

CONS
- Massive world can be overwhelming (but good journal system helps)
- Some areas can seem ridiculously hard (just come back later)
- Fast travel is realistic but frustrating
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
13.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 9
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Avernum: Escape From the Pit
(Read on for the full review!)
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Spiderweb Software, creator of the "Exile" series took the PC RPG template of the time and ran with it, allowing players to control multiple party members and customize their growth, exploring a vast underground world with a surprisingly intricate story. Avernum: Escape From the Pit is essentially a remake of the original Exile game of the same name. Escape From the Pit has been given a graphical overhaul, utilizing the isometric view used in the Avernum games released most recently by Spiderweb Software. The remake changes more than just the graphics, however, and the result is a game that is both the same and quite different from the original.

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Pros
+ Old School style CRPG with plenty of replay value.
+ Game-play: Explore the open world as you please and do it at your own pace.
+ Really good lore for the game world
+ A ton of sights to see!
+ Engaging story

Cons
- The UI is clunky and the character sheet & Inventory is annoying at times!

Neutral
+/- Doesn't hold your hand at all. (This is a good thing to me)

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Introduction

The Avernum series is based in Avernum, a subterranean nation far under the surface of the world. The surface is ruled by the Empire, a single, monolithic power under the command of the cruel Emperor Hawthorne.

Everyone on the surface who speaks out, rebels, or doesn’t fit in is sentenced to life imprisonment in Avernum. Prisoners are expected to die, the victim of starvation, horrible monsters, or simple despair.

The Avernum series tells the tale of the Avernites' struggle to survive, avenge themselves upon the Empire, and win both freedom and a return to the surface world.

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Game-play

Avernum: Escape from the Pit is a single-player role-playing video game. The player controls a group of up to four adventurers, who can use melee weapons, missile weapons, magic, or a mix of these skills to defeat opponents.

One of the better aspects of this game is the opportunity to customize your adventuring party. Whether you want to have a balanced group featuring every type of character or whether you instead choose to enter battle with an entire team of tanky sword-wielding knights; the game accommodates your decision. You are also allowed to select an image avatar for each of your heroes (whether it fits their class or not is up to you). That having been said, classes make relatively little difference in your characters' long-term potential, as every character can learn every spell and ability regardless of their class. The way this works is that requirements to wield spells are determined by the stats and skills that you develop for a character - meaning that you can choose to make your units as specialized or balanced as you please. Fan of sword-wielding battle mages who can heal their team in a pinch? Not a problem. Want to throw in a super-defensive tank that will soak up damage and demand enemies' attention? Easy. Escape From the Pit allows for such customization without over complication. A downside to this is the risk that characters will become a little generic, but the multitude of customizable aspects (stats, skills, spells, and "traits", which function as passive boosts to a character's stats or abilities) help to ensure each of your units is a unique personality.

Escape From the Pit offers several difficulty levels, as well as the ability to adjust the difficulty at any time during your game. This might come in handy depending on how quickly you want to beat Escape From the Pit, because often you will find that enemies are just too difficult and you need to go grind somewhere else before advancing to where you want to go. Yes, Escape From the Pit does involve a lot of grinding in dungeons, but Spiderweb Software has done a great job making this experience far less tedious, with diverse and well-designed environments that often use interesting tricks to create light puzzle elements. The world of Avernum is by no means boring and progressing through the game is both fun and challenging.

All things said, it seems there's a lot beneath the surface here, with plenty of things to see and do that will keep you adventuring for many hours.

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Graphics

If you're looking for up-to-date, modern graphics, you might as well stop reading now. Avernum utilizes 2D graphics in an isometric view, reminiscent of the original Diablo. Obviously this makes the whole thing look quite dated. If you aren't immediately turned off by that, then let me assure you that you will probably love this game. Noticeably improved even over those of the most recent Avernum titles are the character portraits, which are in fact quite beautiful. Otherwise, the graphics are essentially identical to those of recent Avernum titles, reflecting Spiderweb's low priority on steady advancement in that area. This is something important to know because Escape From the Pit is a game that will polarize RPG players depending on how important visuals are to them.

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Conclusion

Overall, Avernum: Escape From the Pit is a solid RPG experience that combines classic style, a compelling story, and generous content to create an indie game that is very much worth your time. If you're looking for a complex single player RPG and value content at the expense of visuals, don't miss this title.

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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
82.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 22
I played the earlier demo games way back in the day, and was excited to pick this up on sale. On the whole I think it's a good game, and fun to play if you like 90s-style RPGs, especially for the fairly low cost.

It's a big, open-world game with a significant number of quests and places to wander, and a sizable number of NPCs to interact with. The skills/traits and leveling system is fairly fun to play with. There are some issues that keep me from giving it a 100% positive review:

1) If you play at higher resolution settings, it's going to be harder to see loot on the ground, and the numerous secret door switches that are pretty crucial for discovery and completing dungeons. But it will give you a better tactical view.
2) Loot rewards are pretty flat - at level 30 (not technically a level cap, but more or less is one) I'm still using quite a bit of gear that dropped at level 5.
3) The interface could be a bit better - different shortcuts to open/close windows is a minor annoyance
4) Aesthetically isometric view is nice, but tactically it makes for some challenges, esp. since you can't rotate the camera. This can cause issues with moving if trying to fight tactically and occasionally targeting in combat.
5) You'll hit 30 before running out of content, at which point only a handful of fights will really be that challenging. Given that semi-tactical combat is one of the upsides, the game loses something when that's gone, though Grah-Hoth was a fun challenge.

The biggest downside for me is really the quest log. The quests can really pile up, the log doesn't really track meaningful details, and quests can't be sorted or deleted. Quests also stay in your log even when they can't be completed - a minor annoyance.

The lack of detail wouldn't be quite as big a problem, except for the size of the game. Even playing a few hours daily, at some point you'll be working on a quest you picked up several days ago, with often minimal guidance on where you're at in the quest progression. Solving it in-game may require revisiting multiple towns and finding multiple NPCs who may or may not be mentioned in the text. As the game went along I found myself using internet tips a bit more often because the fun of running back and forth between towns (even with a portal system running to about half of them) had waned.

But on the whole it's a good game. I've put about 60 (mostly enjoyable) hours into it, and am only just past the first of 3 "game ending" quests. It reminds me in some ways of a stripped-down Divine Divinity, which ironically I liked more but never finished.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
61.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 28
I admit it, Avernum has captured me! Every time I play this game, I end up playing well into the night, and on some occassions, into the next day. Why is this game so addictive, why had I never heard of it before, and why is it so inexpensive??? I bought the Spiderweb collection which contained this game (the Avernum1 remake); bought it somewhat on a whim after reading about how the guy who composed all the music for "Faster than light" had gotten addicted to this "hidden gem".

Avernum reminds me of Ultima7 crossed with Xcom from the '90s. But Avernum is both challenging and easy to play. There are so many handy shortcut keys that you can practically play the game from the keyboard. I love love love the command system, if you want to continuously cast a particular set of spells, you can just keep pressing the same key-combo's so you don't even have to look at the menu options that appear. I think the biggest problem with Ultima7 was that it was too easy to 1 - get lost in the map, and 2 - get confused about what you had to do with the mission. Avernum thankfully not only keeps track of all the quests, but also pin-points their relevant locations on the map. And when I compare it to XCom, I will say that I died so many times, ruthlessly, that it made the game impassable after a certain point and I gave up on it. Not so with Avernum. The game is "Generous" in that it provides you with many ways to go about improving your party so that you won't die after every-other battle. However, it's challenging enough that I still have to "sneak" around corners everynow and then so that I don't fall into an Ambush.

I got so "into" this game last year that I confess I had to put it down completely for a few months. It was that engrossing. The other day I started it up again, not even knowing where in the huge world of Avernum I'd left off, and within half an hour I was back along the quest trail, using all the command combo's.

I must also mention the writing. Kudos to the author! I hear the game is solely developed by one man and his wife. Is this true? The writing is very nice, old school. It's almost like playing a text adventure, and visualizing the story really gives you a sense of depth into the Avernum world. There are also many many little secrets and hidden gems in the game. For example, last night I battled through the temple of the "Sliths" (lizard people). One of the items on the ground was "Fine Trousers" with a description that read along the lines that 'though the slith are wise, they have not yet found appreciation for a fine pair of trousers'. I don't know, I just caught that when I saw it and thought wow, that's attention to detail.

Avernum1 is the only game from Spiderweb I have played. I actually can't wait to get my hands on Avernum2 which thankfully just came out (not to mention all the Geneforge and Avadon and other Avernum sequels). There must be 10 years of gaming goodness in the Spiderweb collection. But first I have to finish Avernum1. I wish I could put my life on pause just to play this game. Thank you very much Spiderweb software, this is the finest nostalgic euphoria one could have asked for.
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