Indie Reviews: Lunar Scarygirl Escapes Avernum

Posted by MikeLemmer (548 posts) -

Oof... why did they release 2 RPGs during tax week? Between Avernum and Grimrock, I barely had enough time left over to give Scarygirl or Lunar Flight some attention. Despite the efforts of Steam and the U.S. Government, I've still managed to play 3 games enough to offer my thoughts on them. (Grimrock will have to wait a few days; I want to try finishing it before I post a review.) As usual, following links lead to the full reviews:

Scarygirl: (2/5 stars, $10) A rushed Xbox port with good graphics but clumsy controls. Unfortunately, interesting art style alone does not make a good game.

Lunar Flight: (2/5 stars, $10) Twice the hassle and a quarter of the scenery of your typical flight simulator. Crash a dozen times! Go into debt from replacing lunar modules! Wonder what twisted mind decided that only experienced pilots could buy upgrades to make flying it easier!

Avernum: Escape from the Pit: (5/5 stars, $10) A remake of a classic shareware RPG that combines turn-based grid combat (ala early Ultima) with an open world full of nooks & crannies to explore (ala Skyrim). As enthralling now as it was back then; an insane value for any old-school western RPG fan.

Which one do I want to keep playing? Avernum. Gonna play some more right now. Bye.

But you need to finish Grimrock! Yeah, yeah, I know... *sigh*

#1 Posted by MikeLemmer (548 posts) -

Oof... why did they release 2 RPGs during tax week? Between Avernum and Grimrock, I barely had enough time left over to give Scarygirl or Lunar Flight some attention. Despite the efforts of Steam and the U.S. Government, I've still managed to play 3 games enough to offer my thoughts on them. (Grimrock will have to wait a few days; I want to try finishing it before I post a review.) As usual, following links lead to the full reviews:

Scarygirl: (2/5 stars, $10) A rushed Xbox port with good graphics but clumsy controls. Unfortunately, interesting art style alone does not make a good game.

Lunar Flight: (2/5 stars, $10) Twice the hassle and a quarter of the scenery of your typical flight simulator. Crash a dozen times! Go into debt from replacing lunar modules! Wonder what twisted mind decided that only experienced pilots could buy upgrades to make flying it easier!

Avernum: Escape from the Pit: (5/5 stars, $10) A remake of a classic shareware RPG that combines turn-based grid combat (ala early Ultima) with an open world full of nooks & crannies to explore (ala Skyrim). As enthralling now as it was back then; an insane value for any old-school western RPG fan.

Which one do I want to keep playing? Avernum. Gonna play some more right now. Bye.

But you need to finish Grimrock! Yeah, yeah, I know... *sigh*

#2 Edited by MikeLemmer (548 posts) -

Appendeum: Just added my review for Grimrock. (4/5 stars) Very good at keeping you wary, desperate for more supplies & equipment, and punishes screw-ups hard. I called it Fantasy Survival Horror. Couldn't finish the game before the initial week sale was over, though; the floors became much more difficult and took longer to finish. I'll go with what I have.

Next on the list: replaying Sword & Sworcery. What's changed between the original iOS release and the PC port?

#3 Posted by Addfwyn (1921 posts) -

Avernum is a great game, I remember playing the original Exile fondly. Back in the day, just not as many options for gaming on my mac, but that was one I loved to death. I don't think I ever finished it, which makes me want to pick this up as well....but I just don't know if I have the time. I don't do much RPGs on my computer these days, and after failing to drop more than an hour into Geneforge or Avadon, I dunno how great an investment it would be.

#4 Posted by artgarcrunkle (970 posts) -

So the new Avernum is Avernum 1 ported into the Avadon engine or something? Do you think it's still worth playing if I've already played Avernum 1-6 over the years?

#5 Posted by MikeLemmer (548 posts) -

@artgarcrunkle said:

So the new Avernum is Avernum 1 ported into the Avadon engine or something?

Yep. They said they added some new content as well (the introductory dungeon crawl was the most obvious), but it's been 15 years since I played Exile (I skipped Avernum 1) so my memory for the details is hazy at best. The biggest mechanic change I noticed is the new stats/skills/traits setup: you gain 1 stat point and 2 skill points per level, and you get a new trait every other level. Oh, and there's skill trees now too.

@artgarcrunkle said:

Do you think it's still worth playing if I've already played Avernum 1-6 over the years?

I can't say for sure; I played Exile 1 but not Avernum 1. Personally, I'm replaying it so I can win one of the other endings. (I only completed 1 out of 3 in Exile.) I enjoy this sandbox "do what you want" style more than the directed plots of, say, Avernum 5. (I should really finish that; I stopped 80% thru the game.) There may also be a few new twists & dungeons throughout; I got locked into a crypt near Motrax, I'm pretty sure that wasn't in the original.

I will say this:

  1. It's obscenely cheap for a Spiderweb Software game. (They normally go for ~$25.)
  2. It's a solid RPG in its own right.

Whether the differences between it and the previous remake are worth replaying it... I'll leave up to more knowledgeable forumers. Any other fans of the Avernum series here that've played both remakes and can chime in on whether the differences are worth a replay?

#6 Posted by artgarcrunkle (970 posts) -

@MikeLemmer: That sounds pretty good. I liked a lot of the changes Avadon brought but I thought that game was too linear compared to Avernum and Geneforge. I'll end up getting it on Steam at some point. Always good to see people playing Spiderweb games.

#7 Posted by MikeLemmer (548 posts) -

Ah, the final game from last week, finally reviewed:

Stellar Impact: ($10, 3/5 stars) A slower, more methodical space-based MOBA game that successfully tosses a few RTS elements into it, namely "terrain" and resource nodes. Would make a good cult classic for space warfare fans if its servers weren't down half the time... (Docked a full star for that, else it would've gotten 4/5. Hopefully they improve that soon.)

That's the last game from my backlog for last week. This week's game reviews will appear in the next thread. So far it's Sword & Sworcery and... well, just that. But that might be just enough. Time to repeat the Scythian's woeful errand...

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