No Rest for the Wicked Early Access Review

May 6, 2024

No Rest for the Wicked, the latest endeavour from Moon Studios, offers a hauntingly beautiful yet challenging experience that may not be for the faint of heart. Moon Studios might only have two other titles in their portfolio, but when the titles are award-winners Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps, players know that they can expect a quality experience from them. No Rest for the Wicked does not disappoint, and while the game has only recently entered Early Access, you can tell that it is a diamond in the rough.

In No Rest for the Wicked, players are thrust into a grim world plagued by a mysterious pestilence that transforms its inhabitants into horrifying monstrosities. You play as a Cerim, a warrior part of an ancient sect destined to fight this plague, on their way to the city of Sacrament in Isola Sacra. Unfortunately, the boat you are in is attacked by raiders, the Risen, and it eventually crashes against the island. Unbeknownst to you, in the mainland, the king has died and his heir, King Magnus, has decided to unite with the church to lead an inquisition into Sacra to cleanse the island. While the church is primed to be a future antagonist, your first mission will be to reach Sacrament and not die in the process, a task that might be harder than you first thought.

The mainland, a potential future antagonist.

A Bit of RPG, A Bit of Soulslike

Despite being marketed as an action RPG, No Rest for the Wicked leans heavily into the Soulslike genre, embracing its unforgiving difficulty and steep learning curve. For players expecting a breezy adventure akin to Breath of the Wild or Moon Studios’ own Ori series, prepare for a rude awakening. However, for those who relish a challenge and enjoy the punishing mechanics of Soulslike games, No Rest for the Wicked is a perfect fit. As a more casual player myself, I found the difficulty level bordering on frustration at times, but the sense of accomplishment upon mastering combat and enemy patterns was undeniably rewarding. While the absence of difficulty options (like an easy/story mode) may deter some, it is worth noting that the game is still in Early Access, leaving room for potential implementation in the future.

Combat is hard and punishing, but incredibly rewarding once you get the hang of it.

No Rest for the Wicked also dives into RPG territory, offering players a plethora of customization options to tailor their character to their preferred playstyle. Eschewing traditional class systems, the game instead provides a set of attributes encompassing health, stamina, strength, dexterity, intelligence, faith, focus, and equip load. With each level gained, players are rewarded with points to allocate across these attributes, and you can choose the ones that suit your playstyle. Furthermore, the game’s arsenal of weapons caters to a wide range of combat styles, each requiring specific attribute investments to be able to use them. You must be careful when allocating attribute points, as your choices will directly impact your choice of weapons and your overall survivability.

However, no matter how rewarding combat is and how fun it is to spec your character, there is certainly an issue with balancing your resources. To be clear, you have to grind resources in this game, as each death carries consequences. When you die, you will not only be sent back to your latest checkpoint (in the shape of “Cerim Whispers” you need to activate), but your gear will also lose durability, and any used consumables will not be back in your inventory, forcing you to explore each corner of the map (either for ingredients for recipes or coin to repair your gear) to be able to confront your enemies again.

Particularly, in my fourth attempt to defeat the first boss, I made sure to be prepared with a stockpile of consumables. I had to run around the map for quite a while to get ingredients for the very few recipes I had at the time, but I got there. Despite the effort, I took the boss to 10% of its health, only to fail again. It was then that I remembered that my consumables would not be replenished upon respawn, which meant I had no choice but to grind ingredients and repair my gear again. The gear was not so much of an issue, coin is not that hard to come by, but the thought of having to grind ingredients made me put the game down for a few hours. This aspect of the game might benefit from some balancing or alternative solutions to mitigate repetitive grinding, ensuring that players are engaged without feeling excessively burdened by resource management.

Make sure to grind ingredients and loot because you will need them for your adventure.

A Compelling World

From the outset, it’s evident that Moon Studios has poured their artistic prowess into No Rest for the Wicked. Drawing from their acclaimed Ori series, the game’s visuals are nothing short of breathtaking. The game’s environments unfurl like vivid paintings, teeming with lush foliage and intricate details that encourage exploration. Despite being a Soulslike game with dark themes of plague and decay, the stylised artstyle lends a unique beauty to the world, making it both captivating and immersive. Even the characters, with their intriguing designs and excellent voice acting, leave players yearning to uncover their stories.

The art style is beautiful and evocative, encouraging exploration of every nook and cranny.

The game also benefits from a compelling story and rich lore. As an Early Access title, the game tantalizingly hints at a world brimming with mysteries and unanswered questions. From the origins of the pestilence that ravages the land to the role of the church in confronting it, players are left pondering the intricacies of this world. Most crucially, they are tasked with unravelling their own place within this unfolding saga, igniting a sense of urgency and purpose that drives the game forward. As players delve deeper into the story, they might find themselves drawn ever closer to uncovering the truth behind the plague and their own role in shaping the fate of the island and its inhabitants.

In summary, No Rest for the Wicked stands as a diamond in the rough, with its stunning visuals, compelling story and challenging gameplay overshadowed only by its poor resource management and perhaps a high barrier of entry for casual players. With some refinement, Moon Studios has the potential to polish this gem into a shining masterpiece.


- Challenging but rewarding combat - Beautiful art style - Compelling lore and plot - Diverse customisation options to suit all playstyles


- High barrier of entry for casual players - Resource management needs balancing

Overall Score: