Hello. I've played and beaten the first and have been playing quite far into UU2 so I think I can honestly say you can play without magical skills , but it is more difficult without magic then as in UU1. You'll want to collect several unique magical items , and you'll absolutely want to put points into pick locking, at least up to around 15 or so, though pumping up to 30 over the course of your game will let you unlock just about everything. Lock picks do break in this game so you'll want to get every last one you can find and barter for a few more if you want to rely on the skill.
Acrobat is also very important, at least to get about 16-20. Charisma is kind of eh, it will reduce prices in deals, and it's most important with a particular merchant who I won't spoil, but pumping points into that when you're trying to keep up with attack skills is a bit inefficient, better to leave it alone overall, unless you find a nice place to grind.
Overall magic isn't "necessary" but it really does help out a bit more in the sequel, alleviating the problems of some annoying puzzles, but if you're careful and persistent you can get past them, especially with some long held magical items, levitate being one of the more useful types to gather up, but be sure to try a puzzle as best you can before you waste an item on it, and needless to say, save fairly often.
Thanks for your advice :)! I actually dislike using magic at all when completing puzzles, it almost feels like cheating to me so I prefer to solve it them the hard way. In UU1 I don't think there was anything which required magic spells to complete it, although I do recall using the ring of jumping in a couple of areas to get around and the ring of levitation definitely made things go a bit easier (less backtracking). Dragonskin boots were of course critical too.
I would like to ask you more about the pick lock skill though. I did not take this skill at all in UU1, in that game there are keys for (almost) everywhere, and in any case you can bash most doors down if you want (I only did that with one door in the entire game). I take it from what you said that UU2 is different in that regard, picklock is more necessary?
There are lots more wands to be found in UU2 than in UU1, which helps if you lack magic skills. IIRC you can even pay to have them recharged.
Thanks :). In UU1 I diligently collected all wands, but never ended up using a single one (except just once to see how they work). Same with the spell scrolls, although I did use Gate Travel from a scroll once to get the moonstone, but then I never used the spell again so it was actually not required :P.
Are the wands in UU2 of a more useful variety? In UU1 they are just long range combat spells, I always just ran in and attacked with my sword instead.