No Rest for the Wicked wallpaper
May 8, 2024

Steel thyself against the tide in our No Rest for the Wicked review!

Stretch those oddly long arms and prepare to head out on a new action adventure from the creators of Ori, Moon Studios. Published by Private Division, this title is looking to reinvent some of the action-adventure genre with all manner of artistic flair and by leveraging interesting tech.

Released into Early Access on PC it is going through a multitude of changes every week and getting ever closer to what the developers clearly envision. So how does it hold up in its current state? Is it stagnating or is it running clear and fresh? Let’s dive into our No Rest for the Wicked review!

No Rest for the Wicked Review – Story

You are a Cerim, a Holy Warrior tasked with eliminating the blight of Pestilence that ravages the land, turning normal people into monsters. The King is dead and his son, under the whims of other interested parties, ignores his advisor and decides to blaze his own path against the Pestilence. Taken to the isle of Sacra to eliminate the Pestilence, the boat the player is on comes under attack and ends up sinking to the bottom of the sea.

A boat approaches the isle of Sacra in an evocative story screenshot

The sense of scale is immense.

The world is failing, dark and bitter denizens throw their anger at the player while also informing players of the current world state. It’s a good setup and it really sells itself as a dark fantasy setting with some unique elements to pull players through its rather decent runtime. All parties in the game are ultimately seeking the same thing, the solution to the Pestilence, but in their own ways which leads the groups to conflict both internal and external.

A girl blows a war horn on the deck of a burning ship

Characters are really interesting and the story beautifully presented.

Not too long into the adventure, the main character arrives at the main city of Sacrament. Over the course of the rest of the game, they will interact with the story from this hub and generally build a connection to their place in the world.

Presumably more story content will appear along with these updates as what is here already is excellent and easily spans a 15-40 hour timescale with some great moments. Right now it is a complete first part with more content incoming in the future, perhaps even over the next 10 years according to the developers over on Twitter.

No Rest for the Wicked review magnus

Characters all aim for the same goal but with their own ideas.

No Rest for the Wicked Review – Gameplay

Sometimes slow is good. When accuracy reigns on the battlefield; time to think, react and concoct is appreciated. No Rest for the Wicked has a really good game feel the majority of the time with a sort of heavy and physics-driven movement and battle design. The main character has super long arms and fairly short legs resulting in a rather eerie movement animation style that emphasises swings, grabs and smashes in a quite elegant way.

Combat flow has the usual catches of modern game design with parries, dodge rolls and stamina. Things feel suitably balanced, for the most part, and responsive even at points where the game is struggling framerate-wise probably due to some smart programming. It’s also possible to use stealth to take a huge chunk off of enemies’ health bars though it can sometimes be awkward with the movement speed.

No Rest for the Wicked review combat

Combat can be slow and methodical.

Battle is often a fun experience that has a lot of variety, most weapons control differently even when they are a variant of another weapon of a style. For example, great swords. Positioning the character correctly can also allow for battle backstabs in a very soulslike way which opens up more strategies. There is also an amount of magic available that can add yet more options. Speccing your character is a fun journey but at the moment it’s basically randomised based on loot drops at the start of the game and therefore the ability to respec might be a good update for the future to offer players the chance to make use of more of the options.

Luckily, there is also a huge variety of enemies on show from monsters to humans, all of which offer a different challenge and are often thrown in together to challenge players. In the beginning, combat is super difficult but after reaching Sacrament the difficulty backs off a little. Also, with the exception of the post-game areas enemies stay dead, which really helps when an area is hard to traverse and players need to repeat sections.

Screenshot from a cutscene mid game in No Rest for the Wicked

A stained glass window showing the Pestilence.

Bosses are another huge part of the experience and there are certainly some highlights, sometimes it feels like there are other enemies during a boss for no reason but the actual boss characters have cool movesets and sometimes are bookended by excellent cutscenes.

Exploring the world is an interesting beast, on one hand, it’s visually appealing and has some fun little traversal moments on the other it can be clunky with fairly empty moments and some glitches that can see players softlocked. Most of these issues are movement-based when the game employs its light platforming. This is controlled by sprinting which introduces an autojump at certain points, which works pretty well but does occasionally get confused by the camera angle.

Most of the traversal is smooth but slow-ish though occasionally the level design can obscure the path forward. However, the majority of the level design is great! It has a real emphasis on verticality and using the physics to open up paths which feels pretty satisfying. Multi-layered structures are fun to explore.

No Rest for the Wicked review battlefield

An emptier moment, but still very nicely designed.

Sacrament, the city mentioned before, kind of came from left field but is very welcome in the name of variety. Using resources collected in various areas the player explores they can opt to rebuild the town and reap various benefits as well as interact with non-hostile characters. It’s a great tonal shift and it really lets the game structure open up.

Having the player invest in the hub is a great way to make them feel the progress of the adventure. This is also where the game really leans into NPCs whose dialogue is colourful and interesting offering a flavour to the world. However, the game really gets bogged down as the player collects items to complete building quests, the smaller inventory and need to take items back to town can result in a slightly messy system that also gets a bit tedious in longer sessions.

Inventory design is a big weakness where players need to collect huge amounts of resources for building and making health items but the limitations are a pain to work around. This coupled with the real hours needed for buildings to be completed and it can feel a bit on the grindy side.

No Rest for the Wicked review character creator

Character creation was an unexpected joy.

There are of course a multitude of updates planned one of which should bring major changes to the game in the form of Multiplayer! This feels like a great addition as some of the game feels like it might be banking on that to add more fun to some of the content.

No Rest for the Wicked Review – Visuals

This title looks amazing. If the Ori series set the bar for platformers, then No Rest for the Wicked sets it for isometric action games. So much of the game is cinematically shot and super detailed in a way that I’ve never seen before. The scenery is vibrant and full of incidental animations that bring life to the world the player exists in.

Even characters are covered in material clothing most of which has little embellishments that blow in the breeze and react to environmental actions. The environments, at least on higher settings, also feature some dynamic lighting casting nice shadows and giving a glow to certain places. It’s really hard to put into words how great it looks, even images don’t do it real justice.

No Rest for the Wicked review cutscene visuals

Character animation is really evocative.

The amazing animation work seen in their previous games is here and present but is almost amped up tenfold with almost every element on the screen showing some sort of artistic flair. Character designs are all super-expressive to match their dialogue and personalities. All with a range of different perceivable classes and sometimes dressed for their jobs adding a bit of grounding to the setting. Each scene is colourful, moody and expressive with an impressive sense of scale especially in regards to scenery.

No Rest for the Wicked Review – Audio

A bombastic soundtrack boasting beautiful vocals in it’s theme tune and great orchestral mixes with huge bass backs the gameplay, cutscenes and highlights moments of the experience. The game isn’t scared to draw the sound back for atmospheric reasons though and the sound effects have a real heft to them which helps emphasise the physicality on display. Environmental noise is also really well implemented helping each quieter moment ram home the atmospherics.

Cutscene audio is also fantastic with really excellent acting where each character emotes well and helps players understand their ambitions. They also have a nice range of dialects and accents to give the world plenty of flavour. It makes the world feel a bit more alive and varied than it might have otherwise appeared.

No Rest for the Wicked Review – More to Consider

At the moment this title is Early Access, which means it can be wildly unstable at times or have a variety of bugs and glitches (though far less than other Early Access games). It does feel quite polished otherwise with stellar visual design and fun gameplay. Where it struggles are areas such as longevity and user interface which feels somewhat underbaked and clunky but can probably be tweaked over time to be much longer and more user friendly.

No Rest for the Wicked review early access visuals

The game with its settings lowered to improve stability. Still great looking.

During review, the first big patch landed that tweaks much of what has been mentioned here to make the performance and management of items less painful. So it will be interesting to revisit the game when it gets some of the big ticket updates and becomes that polished-to-perfection game we know Moon Studios will provide!


A great first appearance for No Rest for the Wicked, especially on strong enough PCs. A beautiful, intriguing and mesmerising game that revels in supreme artistic vision while offering a gameplay style that mixes and merges the best of the genre into something quite unique. It’ll be really interesting to follow the future development of the game and to see where the stories will go over time. We can’t wait to experience further beautiful graphics and fun combat!

So, why should you play No Rest for the Wicked?

  • You enjoy action games.
  • Souls combat is enjoyable.
  • The visuals, all of them!
  • A fantastic first part.
  • The story is fun to experience.

But why shouldn’t you get No Rest for the Wicked?

  • The performance can be rough, even on the best hardware.
  • Slow and methodical combat.
  • Clunky controls and UI at times.
  • Dark fantasy isn’t your bag.

An early access code was kindly provided by the publisher for the purpose of our No Rest for the Wicked review. If you enjoyed this review, check out more of our reviews and join us on the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about more upcoming games!

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