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Urtuk: The Desolation

published 03/03/2021 in Games | tags : Linux, Games, Roguelike, Turn-based, #100DaysToOffload, Urtuk

Estimated read time: 5 min.

Urtuk: The Desolation

This one took me by surprise, I was browsing my Steam discovery queue while waiting for friggen Loop Hero to release (as if that would make it release any faster right, just one more day!).

And I see Urtuk.

At a glance it looks like it shares quite a bit the same art-style as Darkest Dungeon. Has a hex based tactical combat and has a very wasteland’ish atmosphere.

So this games ticking many of the boxes that I usually gravitate towards. Then I see that there’s a native Linux build for it as well.

So what is this game all about?

Urtuk so far (I haven’t finished it yet, but I’ve put a couple nights into it in ironman mode), seems like very good mashup of Darkest Dungeons party management enhanced with mutations that can become permanent perks of your characters, combined with some old school hex based combat that reminds me quite a bit of the old days of playing Battletech table-top on the old hex grid.

Procedural generation

There are some roguelike elements in this game, perma-death, ironman mode, procedural map (overworld) and battle map generation. The random name generator isn’t super great, as I’ve already seen many double’s in the names, but luckily that’s not the main selling point of this game!

Death!

I find they deal with death quite nicely in Urtuk, your characters can get killed off in a battle, and they will sustain injuries. You can have them rest up and sub them out for others. However you can also just bring them right back into battle. If you do, and they get killed off again though, it’s lights out, they are toast. The same goes for your main character Urtuk.

This system is a great way to balance the ironman mode. In the event that you die a “bullshit” death. It’s up to you to retreat and treat your wounded with medicine so they can recover and not instantly die the next time they go down in battle.

Map

map of urtuk

You will spend quite some time in the map screen planning your next moves, and watching enemy squads also roam around the map. From here you can also tend to your pals, change their equipment, mutators and set your reserves.

Inventory

From the inventory you can manage your squads equipment and assigned mutators.

inventory picture from urtuk

Mutators

Mutators are passive items that when used for a while may get absorbed into your character becoming a permanent part of them.

Handy tip: You can combine multiple of the same mutators into a single more powerful version.

mutator picture























Planning Phase

All battles start with a planning phase. Where you assign the starting positions of all your allys. There is quite some variety of scenario’s and the maps seem to all be randomly generated with hazards being affected by “map” level events like earthquakes, or molemen.

planning phase picture

Battle

Since this is mostly a game about doing battle against and with weird monstrosities, here’s a couple screenshots of some ongoing battles I had today.

battle picture from urtuk battle picture from urtuk

Classes / Party

I started with a priest as Urtuk, a berzerker and a monk. My monk promptly got killed off, but I managed to replace him after a short while.

The classes are all quite interesting, some functioning essentially like you would imagine if you were reading right out of a DND manual, while others are quite surprising.

You also can recruit enemy’s to fight for you, so you can have vampires, werebeasts and scavengers fighting along side you as well.

Your party has a limit of 6 members that can go into battle with you. However you can have others in reserve in the event that some are hurt and you want to sub them out.

Momentum

Battles in Urtuk are highly momentum based (at least for me since my main character is a priest, more on that below).

My priest for instance, can’t actually just heal someone.

He can hurt himself to:

  • give himself or others a lifesteal effect on their next attack
  • give an aegis that blocks 1 hit of damage

At a glance, this is terrible.

  • no direct heals
  • all his moves hurt him…
  • he’s my main character and if he dies it’s game over

However, as I was saying Urtuk battles are based on momentum, and that momentum for the priest is based on people dying. The more people are dying, the more he heals himself with his mutations, which enables him to power his abilities. This makes him quite tanky (while stuff is dying).

So as your ally’s are mopping up on the battlefield your priest can be right up there with them. This makes for some nice non-traditional priest’ing.

Native Linux support

This game has a Linux native client, and it runs flawless, I haven’t had any crashes or shenanigans.

One complaint

And it’s minor, and I can work around it no problem. However it’s a bit annoying. This game doesn’t actually seem to “support” my native resolution of 5120x1400. I can full screen the game, which offsets the UI quite a bit in the title screen, and it works once in battle. But that would be my only complaint so far. Did I mention the Linux port works amazingly well. (Running Arch btw)

Conclusion

If you like XCOM, Darkest Dungeon, Old Battletech tabletop, or are just fond of hex’s. This games super worth it. I’m really enjoying it. And I very much like not having to fire up a VM to play it since it’s got a native Linux port.