Anti-Skyrim: Iron Age Roguelike UnReal World Goes Free

By Alec Meer on February 26th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

me, yesterday

This unfortunately-named roguelike (it’s never wise to call your game something that sounds like a 1990s Epic fansite) had a brief mention from Adam back in 2011. This scares me because Adam’s still the new boy in my mind, and now it seems he’s been working here for going on two years. I digress! UnReal World is an iron age-set roguelike about survival, and the difficulty thereof. Though lo-fi, it’s a brutal affair, with the frozen early Scandinavian Finnish environment as likely to do you in as wolves and roaming warriors are. It’s now gone donation-based, which means you can download and play it for as long as you like for free, hopefully then sending a few groats the developer’s way if you enjoy it.

If something like Dungeons of Dredmor is what springs to mind when you think of roguelikes, you’ll be in for a shock with UnReal World. And I don’t mean in terms of the DOS era graphics. This is a game where you need to hunt, find shelter and build fires just to survive the day. I’ve yet to give it a spin myself, but it might just be the antidote I need to the bluster of Crysis 3.

UnReal World is available in PC, Unmendable Expensive PC and Still-command-line-dependent-no-matter-what-people-say PC flavours. Again, the full version is free for now, though that may not last apparently. Devs Enormous Elk (a splendid name) says they’re doing this “Foremostly to keep up hasty release pace. Massive AI, end-game and graphics improvements are underway and I’d like to keep releasing new versions whenever substantial new features are up and running. Shortly: less licensing, more development.”

Donations of $35 more buy ‘lifetime membership’ which will grant you access to pre-release versions and suchlike.

Let us know you how get on with UnReal World. I want to hear stories of being eaten by bears in the middle of the night, eating your own clothes to survive, that sort of thing.

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49 Comments »

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  1. wodin says:

    I tried it awhile ago..great game..proper survival roguelike. Anyone into rogue games needs to play it.

    • Deadly Habit says:

      Indeed, iirc this game has been in development for over 20 years now. Plus how many games can you be a cannibal in ?

    • iteyoidar says:

      I remember seeing this a long time ago but the price was kind of painful with the euro to dollar conversion rate. It looks like they lowered it a bit, when I checked it years ago it was something like $55 for the lifetime registration.

      I hope this works out for them since survival games are generally awesome.

      • harakka says:

        Lifetime registration is not your only option if you don’t want to pay that much. Keep in mind this game’s been in development for longer than some RPS readers have been around though, lifetime registration actually means something here.

  2. CKScientist says:

    The best way to feed yourself is with canibalism. Just kill one unwary wanderer and you can eat for a month. Things like bears and elks provide more meat and have better skins, but they are so hard to find and catch.

    • B1A4 says:

      WHAAAAAT?!?

      I am starving to death right next to village full of kids! Ehm, kašly kašly.

      Dinner: Lamb (tick)

    • Crazy Horse says:

      Catching critters is not very hard if you start with a char with good stats. Playing as a naked axe-wielding cannibal is a lot more fun, though. Not only is smoked human flesh both tasty and good for you it is also a great trade commodity. And I’m pretty sure the villagers worship you as some sort of forest demon.

    • Rawrian says:

      Works in video games too.

  3. rustybroomhandle says:

    You say ‘command-line-dependent’ like it’s a bad thing.

  4. MuscleHorse says:

    Looks like the RPS hive-mind is slamming the servers. Can’t access the page at all.

    • Kemipso says:

      Oorps! we did it again…
      (I’m sorry for the damage caused by any Britney Spears’ song entering your head.)

  5. Bhazor says:

    First thought:
    “Finally Sword and Hammer is coming to PC”

  6. Berious says:

    Bad ass. I bought this back in the day but long ago lost my details and haven’t played for ages. Can’t wait to dig some traps and feast on trader flesh.

  7. Mattressi says:

    This is a really great game. I wish there were more like this.

  8. DarrenGrey says:

    “This unfortunately-named roguelike (it’s never wise to call your game something that sounds like a 1990s Epic fansite)”

    It was first released back in 1992, so it predates the shootery thing by several years!

  9. Hahaha says:

    Sweet, Quinns ever do his write up?

    Windows download link
    http://lahnarecords.fi/urw/win/urw-3.16-beta.exe

    • harakka says:

      Heh, I’ve been waiting for that writeup too. I pestered Quinns about it few times on Twitter long time ago, to no effect.

  10. Karol says:

    Yays, you acted on my tweet! Maybe.

    Great to see more attention on this 20 years in development gem.

  11. Triplanetary says:

    I have to admire someone who works on the same project for 20 years, especially a PC game. I don’t think I’d make it through the first year without suffering crippling self-doubt and possible alcoholism.

  12. makute says:

    “I want to hear stories of being eaten by bears in the middle of the night, eating your own clothes to survive, that sort of thing.”

    A faint sound awakes me in the dark night of the forest. I saw a young bear roaming near my camp that very morning, but I went mind my own bussiness; usually, bears are not agressive if you leave them alone. So, I fell asleep again.

    Moments later, a loud growl and a lacerating pain brings me back to reality. The young bear, looking for an easy meal, clawed me in the back. The pain is unbearable, but I reach my spear and face the beast; whom with another powerful hit, sends me to the ground, bleeding.

    Fearing certain death, I rise on my feet, and run to the bog, my only chance of survival. Usually, in those damped terrains, traitorous holes opens naturally in the ground. So, I run like hell with the bear growling and snaring a few inches from me.

    Then, with my lungs burning, and the bloodloss numbing my mind, I find a deep hole and manage to put it between me and my chaser. The bear doesn’t see the hole and fall in it with a loud thump.

    I rip my clothes to stop the bleeding before it’s too late, and with just a thimble of blood in my veins, and trembling hands, I spear the bear in the face until it stops moving.

    I survive another day, and a cry of victory echoes in the forest. The ancestors will be pleased with the meat of the fallen beast.

    *epic fanfarre goes here*

    • Premium User Badge

      strangeloup says:

      The bit about running to the bog threw me for a moment. I thought you were concerned about dying with a full bladder.

    • Lucifalle says:

      I woke up in the night to the sound of my cat yowling in terror outside. A loud, heavy snuffling sound was emanating from outside the one window of my small wooden cabin. I glanced outside, and a large bear was staring right at me. Quietly, I woke up my uncle. Without a word, he picked up his axe (he’s a woodsman), and left the cabin. The cat came bolting in. I heard him shouting and yelling at the top of his lungs outside. I saw a brief glimpse of him running towards the woods, throwing rocks at a fleeing shape. A few minutes later, he came back indoors, bolted the wooden door, and fell back asleep. That is the story of how my uncle chased off a large brown bear. He also taught me how to catch fish with my bare hands in streams, how to start a fire with nothing but dried bark, moss, dry logs, a piece of reflective metal and flint, how to survive off wild herbs, plants and berries, how to set up snares to catch rabbits and squirrels etc. He’s one hell of a man.

      I’ll tell you more stories once I actually play the game…

      Edit:

      Alright, so I stayed up all night playing the game (it is as addictive as opium to the stubborn survivalist in me). I managed to make it through spring, until summer. I spent most of that time learning how to set snares in the hopes of catching a hare or two (that failed miserably when I stepped into my own snare by accident), fishing for days on end in an attempt to thwart of the encroaching starvation that was never more than a few hours away, exploring the desolate wilderness (including a few nice caverns) and chopping timber with the idea in mind that I would build a nice, snug cabin before winter set in. Unfortunately, I failed to find any nearby settlements, and my character (a 2 metre tall woman named Kaarina) was demophobic, which meant that even if I were to find a settlement, she would probably run away in terror.
      This meant that I was stuck with the hastily assembled stone and wood tools I managed to make inbetween bouts of hunger and exhaustion, and apparently they weren’t good enough for any advanced crafting. I also tried my hand at hunting. I made ten sharpened stakes that doubled as javelins and set off to make my mark as a master hunter. Instead, I chased and tracked herds of reindeer for weeks, failing to slay a single one of them, until, collapsing from starvation, I encountered a sleeping ermine. I managed to sneak up on it, and stab it in the neck with my fine hunting knife. Before long, I had a nice dinner of roast ermine and a fine skin to sell. Later, I had an epic fight with a squirrel in a tree. Master hunter, I am not. Eventually, I was so desperate for food, I picked handfuls of crowberries and some strange herbs and gulped them down. A few hours later, I was sick and vomiting. I crawled back to my camp and rested, ate, threw up… only to repeat it the following day. Occasionally a message would appear telling me that I was feeling better, but another day passed, and the sickness returned. I am now on my second week of herb/berry induced poisoning, and I have a feeling that poor Kaarina is going to die a slow and painful death. Not exactly the heroic life I had imagined for my hero, but I learned my lesson: even when starvation strikes, do not eat unidentified plant-life >_<.

    • Geen says:

      I had a nice, peaceful life by a riverside- A cellar and a continual campfire by it’s side, the water a few hundred yards away. There was little violence, I did have to fight off a dude once and I ended up stabbing him in the crotch, after which he ran away and either got away, drowned in the water, never found his stuff. Anyways, living mostly off fish and assorted herbs I found in my wanderings, with a couple stake traps to catch elk, kept it up for around 3 months before I wake up in the night and my companion is bleeding to death with TWO FREAKIN BEARS AND A BADGER FOR SOME REASON beating on him. I grab my knife and axe from the stockpile, and manage to kill one bear before my companion dies from severe bear/badger maulings. The last bear catches me in the arm and almost knocks me out, then bites my leg to the point were I can’t stand. I miraculously get a lucky hit in with my axe, killing it. However, the badger was still left. I miss and it gets a lucky hit to my head, and at this point it’s hard for me to have enough blood to last more than a couple minutes. I toss my axe at it, miss again, then pull my knife and crawl towards it. Both of us bleeding from assorted wounds, we duel until I manage to knife it in the neck. I look over at his corpse, a worthy foe, equal in death, a magnificent badger (pun intended), and make peace with the gods as I lose consciousnesses, not to mention lots of blood.

  13. Inzimus says:

    superb game, well worth life-time subscription.
    a much greater challenge than the vast majority of rogue-likes out there, mainly due to the fact that you are not so much ‘battling monsters’, as you are fighting the forces of nature

  14. wodin says:

    Having good fun again..started in Spring and the task based game to hunt and tarp so a easy paced start..been fishing..lighting several fires one of which has burnt all night but I did use a large tree and burnt the lot..eating..cutting tree’s made a bowl..cooked and eat my fish..fell down on my arse as i was so tired then nodded off..now morning and on to build a shelter..the task based is a good way to learn..the first task is to find water and drink..so you end up near a good lake or something to then fish drink and build a shelter..

  15. esbates7 says:

    great game. I bought the lifetime sub. a while ago. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but the game provides in-game tutorial-like guidance. Basically you play your game and they guide you along depending on what scenario you choose and then at the end you can do it again or pick another one. (see what wodin said above).

    definitely takes some getting used to. i’ve lost a number of guys trying to take on bears. also dying from falling out of trees too many times to survey the area. lol.

    • Premium User Badge

      JB says:

      I like the “hunting trip gone wrong” scenario best. A hard(ish) start but if you can track and kill the beast that has killed your father, you’re off to a good start with meat and hide. Or the bear/wolf/whatever will kill you and you can try again.

      • esbates7 says:

        now that is a good idea. I usually just started on the basic one and then have to die trying to either find enough fish to eat or running after stupid squirrels.

  16. Premium User Badge

    AlwaysRight says:

    So far I have played the game completely wrong, Ive been wandering around on the zoomed in map instead of the world map. Once I corrected my mistake I had an epic, rolling battle with a squirrel across the countryside, culminating with him running up a tree and me throwing everything I own to knock him down. Then after a whole fight of only managing to land glancing blows I administered a killing strike with a woodcutters axe so ferocious it left his head dangling from a single horrific thread.
    My people shall sing songs of this great victory for generations.

  17. Lucifalle says:

    I (occasionally) live in northern rural Finland and last summer wolves ate my neighbour’s dog, a bear almost broke down the front door to our cabin (another was seen wandering about in the town centre), I was lost in the woods for a fortnight and survived by foraging for berries, fishing and making nettle soup (the tough part is picking it up without scarring your hands). This winter we could not open the door because the snow had blocked it, the car tires froze to the ground, and we survived off of tinned beans and pea soup until we were rescued.

    I’m back in the city now (where raging drunks and druggies are more worrisome than the bears and wolves)… but honestly, do I even need to play this game to experience Finnish survival skills? XD

  18. Fiatil says:

    I’ve been playing this tons lately, great to see they’re getting some more attention on the front page. I played it a bit back in the early 2000s and decided to give it another spin; he’s definitely added tons of stuff in the past few years.

    I finally managed to get a character up on his feet and I’ve survived well into the summer, but it was a long path to get here. I’m too stubborn to fish most of the time, so my first 5 characters died of starvation/exhaustion in various stages of trying to track down and kill reindeer. My favorite one was the reindeer that I shot 6 times with my bow, after which it was still managing to hobble along and run just fast enough to make tracking him a huge pain the ass. I had resolved not to let this one get away — I was so close! — so I began to throw every sharp item I had at it. I threw my knife, my axe, and kept running after it. After about half a kilometer I finally managed to bring the beast down; finally after six lifetimes I would be fat and healthy! Four hundred pounds of meat would soon be mine for the taking and….oh wait, I threw my knife at it and missed 30 screens ago didn’t I? Turns out it’s really hard to cut a reindeer’s corpse without a knife and…starvation again.

    Fucking love this game.

  19. sinister agent says:

    I want to hear stories of being eaten by bears in the middle of the night, eating your own clothes to survive, that sort of thing.

    Wales is only a few hours away, you know.

  20. shivars says:

    I played it, and loved it, to the tune of 51 hours! It was a really fun game with enough depth to feel serious, but lighthearted enough to be fun. it looked good, quest variety was good, and loads of places to explore.

    really sad 38 Studios went bust and that Amalur wasn’t more popular generally than it ended up being.

    I really enjoyed it :)

  21. Kamos says:

    UrW is an awesome game. my last character died after eating some mushrooms (well, he was starving, so I figured, “might as well try these ones!”).

  22. Oryon says:

    I love this little game and i don’t regret paying for it in the past.

    I love it like i love my log cabin in the woods besides a lake and a couple villages i trade the 5 elks’ worth of meat i have curing in my smoke room.

  23. Redd says:

    Rootsy.

  24. Greggh says:

    I guess enough people mentioned this game to RPS :D

    Yay! Hoping the developers get a morale boost and really do well with the donation system.
    Roguelikes are always welcome

  25. Rhazak says:

    For anyone interested in mods for the game, I made the “graphical enhancement mod” for it that replaces most of the sprites as well as some of the real life pics. You can get it here:
    http://z3.invisionfree.com/UrW_forum/index.php?showtopic=1921

    There’s other graphic mods on the forum as well as ones that add blacksmithing and more clothmaking options for example.