Urtuk: The Desolation EA Review

Urtuk: The Desolation (Early Access)
David Kaleta

Besides the gorgeous hand-drawn art, Urtuk: The Desolation is one odd name to bestow upon a game. However, once you get an inkling as to this game’s backstory, it all begins to make more sense. You see, Urtuk is the name of the main protagonist of the game, and the world in which he finds himself is pretty grisly indeed.

This is a desolate realm with savage bands of hostile denizens lurking here and there. As Urtuk, the player begins their journey imprisoned in a dungeon that looks like something out of the Hellraiser series. Someone has been performing some pretty sinister experiments on Urtuk and he bears the mutated scar tissue of whatever they’ve been doing to him.

How to heal party members in Urtuk: The Desolation | Gamepur

Suddenly, an old friend of Urtuk’s breaks into the squalid dungeon and manages to help Urtuk (along with a small gang of oddball characters that you choose at the beginning of the game) bust out. It is here that you’ll have your first battle and get to learn more about the game’s basic combat mechanics.

I must say that right off the bat—I really liked the look of Urtuk: The Desolation’s graphics. They have a similar thick-lined ink aesthetic that immediately reminded me of Darkest Dungeon. However, this title’s visuals are more distinctive and its environs more interesting. Like another roguelike game, Battle Brothers, Urtuk: The Desolation’s combat is played on hexagonal, board game-like battlefields.

Urtuk: The Desolation on Steam

Also similar to Battle Brothers, part of your time will be spent guiding Urtuk and his companions across a large overland map, taking on different missions, and having certain encounters with baddies. This setting seems to have a low-fantasy aspect to it, so you won’t be running into any Lizardmen or Orcs.

Instead, you’ll face off against suitably weird, depraved-looking dudes that fit in well with the sense of constant menace that the setting evokes. You’ll encounter lots of bad dudes with medieval-style weapons and armor that come off as the cold, meticulous tools of war that they are. The maps also contain various types of environmental dangers. One of my favorite strategies so far is to charge enemies with a polearm and then send them flying off onto batches of spikes behind them.

Lead mutants across a dark fantasy wasteland in tactics RPG Urtuk: The Desolation | PC Gamer

Another thing that struck me about Urtuk: The Desolation, is that the battle effects seem weighty and severe. Whereas in Battle Brothers you’ll see some decapitations here and there, this title has upped the ante even further in the gore department as you’ll also behold entire bodies explode is crimson sprays of gibs and other unidentifiable matter. Despite its rather cartoonish aesthetic Urtuk: The Desolation is definitely not a game for the squeamish.

Fortunately, the more you play, the more you’ll see that Urtuk: The Desolation isn’t merely about pretty graphics and buckets of gore. The backstory (no spoilers) involves tracking down Urtuk’s tormentors and eventually trying to cure himself of his horrid mutations.

There are some fun role-playing opportunities to be had here as your band of mercenaries gain experience and become more deadly as time goes on. They can also mix and match different elements special that you acquire throughout the game that transfer enhanced abilities to your troops.

REVIEW: Urtuk: The Desolation | Save Or Quit

Urtuk: The Desolation has some pretty interesting missions for your band to choose from so far, but the game would benefit from a little more variety in that department. Since it’s still in Early Access, I’m pretty sure that the game’s one-man development team is planning to add just that—more varied quests (and hopefully additional weapon variety as well).

Whatever the case, Urtuk: The Desolation seems to have a bright future ahead of it, so this is definitely a title I’ll be keeping an eye on.

SCORE: 84%

Urtuk: The Desolation has some pretty good looking graphics that make its roguelike gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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