No Rest for the Wicked

Early Access Preview: No Rest for the Wicked

A quick look at No Rest for the Wicked and you might not know that it’s the same studio that brought us both Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the WispsThese stylish, moody, difficult 2D platformers have been touted as some of the best of the last decade.

Moon Studios is going in a completely different direction with their latest title. No Rest for the Wicked is a top-down Action RPG with elements of survival and combat mechanics reminiscent of the Dark Souls franchise.

It’s an exciting mix of genres and styles with ups and downs. Because the developers released the game in Early Access on Steam in mid-April, there is still ample opportunity to make changes. If that does happen, I believe it has the chance to become a top-notch title.

No Rest for the Wicked Has Lots of Deep Lore

No Rest for the Wicked occurs in a deep, dark world of high fantasy. Your voiceless protagonist is a semi-mysterious Cerim member with an equally complex past. There’s a ton to unpack and keep track of, but it’s abundantly clear that Moon Studios is crafting a fascinating world.

The story and large cast of characters are delivered in great stylized cutscenes that are fully voice-acted and worth paying attention to. The prologue alone is well crafted and sets the scene with character moments and an epic set piece framed around the game’s tutorial.

The CEO of the studio recently wrote a long post saying that this game is their Lord of the Rings and that 1.0 will be the team’s “Fellowship of the Ring”:

This is great for someone like me who has loved their previous games and has enjoyed most of my time here in their latest. For now, the Early Access has a handful of larger, longer quests as a part of the main story, some bounties, and side quests.

No Rest For The Wicked Or You

This game is challenging… or at least it is for me!

Battles consist of the expected action button to swing your weapon, a block if you have a shield equipped, a parry, a dodge, and eventually, some spells. Playing on an Xbox controller felt comfortable, and the buttons were mapped in a way that worked for me.

No matter what you’re doing in the middle of a fight, your stamina meter plays a considerable part. Any of the above actions will chip away at this green bar, making your choices at the moment all that more difficult and engaging. Early on, it felt like a major hindrance to my life. I became frustrated that I could only swing my mace once and dodge away to recharge. This is not necessarily a problem with this particular game, as the Soulslike genre uses this mechanic. I think this is a hurdle I had to get past.

In the game’s forums and interactions with the developers, there has been talk about adjusting stamina, item costs, etc. Thankfully, they’ve listened, and there have already been tweaks to the game to make these systems more balanced and enjoyable.


The survival element of No Rest for the Wicked is also interesting and very involved. You have to chop trees for wood, fish, mine ore, pick mushrooms, and a ton more. I enjoyed doing this and managing my inventory to prioritize what I needed. The inventory fills up quite quickly, though. It forced me to make a few more trips back to Sacrament (the home hub area) than I wanted, slowing my progress.

The health bar is small, and enemies of all kinds pack a real punch. A big issue for me is the limited amount of healing available in the game, at least for now. Recipes are some of the best ways to have healing on hand, but you must buy them at a considerable cost or find them. In my 12+ hours in this game, I only have three recipes and can’t craft potions yet. Going into a brutal fight, using 2-3 recipes, dying, and needing to craft, farm, or buy more health refills doesn’t feel great.

Overall, No Rest for the Wicked feels visceral. No matter what, you’ll be making difficult, complex decisions. Whether it’s prepping for a boss fight or thinking on your feet in the middle of a small swarm of bandits, No Rest for the Wicked does not hold back.


Despite a few battles that had me clenching my controller and sighing, I still felt the drive to keep going and uncover more of what No Rest for the Wicked offered. Levelling up is rewarding, even if it does move slowly at times, and new items will improve your character and load out in exciting ways. I couldn’t help but push through my struggles and experience a game oozing with style and potential.

Moon Studios has been very transparent about its development, posting about what’s to come and releasing bug fixes and updates on Steam sometimes 2-3 times per week.

I hope that all this hard work pays off not only for a player like me but also for the studio, which is part of Private Division and Take-Two, which has seen massive layoffs over the last several days.

With a roadmap in place that is set to introduce multiplayer and add more stories, it seems that from my perspective, whatever has been done so far has been done with care and passion. If you enjoy some of the genre elements I’ve mentioned, I think No Rest for the Wicked is a title you should keep an eye on or try in Early Access.