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No Rest for The Wicked Review (Early Access) | Arcane Meets Dark Souls

Value for Money
$ 36
Clear Time:
8 Hours
No Rest for the Wicked is pretty darn spectacular, as far as early-access games go. Sure, it still has a few kinks to iron out and a few more quality-of-life additions to throw in, but that’s what early access is all about. What it does have in spades now is a cohesive story told in true soulslike fashion, an art style that can rival Arcane’s, and enough soulslike action to keep someone entertained until the Elden Ring DLC comes out. No rest for the devs with this one, not when they have this gem in their hands.

No Rest for The Wicked is a heavily stylized action role-playing game made by the developers of Ori and The Blind Forest. Read our review to see what it did well, what it didn’t do well, and if it’s worth your time and money.

No Rest for the Wicked Review Overview

What is No Rest for the Wicked?


No Rest for the Wicked is a 3D action game with soulslike elements where you play as one of the Cerim. As a fabled holy warrior, it’s up to you to cleanse the land of a "pestilence" that’s currently ravaging its people following the death of its previous king.

No Rest for the Wicked has a robust combat system with a stat and equipment-based progression. Your character gains additional stats as they level up and new weapons and armor as they explore the map. Platforming challenges and resource-gathering mechanics also fill out much of the game’s runtime, making an action RPG experience like no other.

No Rest for the Wicked features:
 ⚫︎ Action-packed soulslike-adjacent combat
 ⚫︎ Hundreds of new weapons and armor to loot
 ⚫︎ Brutal difficulty spikes to test the most skillful players
 ⚫︎ Stellar voice acting, animation, and cinematics
 ⚫︎ Well-written and well-designed characters

For more gameplay details, read everything we know about No Rest for the Wicked's gameplay and story.

No Rest for the WickedNo Rest for the Wicked
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No Rest for the Wicked Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Checkmark Stunning Art Direction and Cinematography
Checkmark Fun But Punishing Boss Fights
Checkmark Healthy Variety in Gameplay
Checkmark Graphically Demanding
Checkmark Still Has a Few Bugs
Checkmark Wonky Controls and Uncustomizable Keybinds
Checkmark Managing Durability is a Nightmare

No Rest for the Wicked Overall Score - 84/100

No Rest for the Wicked is pretty darn spectacular, as far as early-access games go. Sure, it still has a few kinks to iron out and a few more quality-of-life additions to throw in, but that’s what early access is all about.

What it does have is a cohesive story told in a soulslike fashion, an art style that can rival Arcane’s, and enough delightfully punishing hack-and-slash action to keep even soulslike players satiated. No rest for the devs with this one, not when they have this gem in their hands.

No Rest for the Wicked Story - 8/10

No Rest for the Wicked’s story is a winding narrative full of prominent figures, important events, and legendary heroes. Like in popular soulsike games, you learn this lore through messages and item descriptions found worldwide—an experience greatly improved by the game’s superb cinematography. It’s a good enough story but a lot of it is bound to go over most casual players’ heads and go unappreciated.

No Rest for the Wicked Gameplay - 7/10

No Rest for the Wicked doesn’t exactly break any ground for a 3D action game, but the lack of innovation isn’t such a bad thing if you execute the genre’s staple mechanics well. The game’s combat is paced well and its maps are complex enough to be interesting, but not so labyrinthine that a newbie would get lost so easily.

The platforming bits also enhance the experience, giving the game a sense of verticality that’s only been introduced to the genre recently. That being said, it’s still a bit bugged, and rebinding keys is just straight-up not allowed.

No Rest for the Wicked Visuals - 10/10

There are now two ways about it, this game’s visuals are phenomenal. I was already taken aback by the unique stylings of the game’s art direction, but then it followed up with such choice cinematography and finished it off with the most imaginative character designs I’ve seen in a while. The facial expressions and animations were so fluid that I could barely believe what I was seeing.

My only gripe is that this game eats frames like the Chosen Undead downs Estus, but apart from that, this game is a visual feast for the discerning action game enjoyer.

No Rest for the Wicked Audio - 9/10

No Rest for the Wicked is plenty enthralling by itself, but it wouldn’t be half as so without the excellent performances of its voice actors. The sheer emotion—or lack thereof—dripping from every voice line served to complement the game’s astounding cinematography, such that every cutscene felt like an episode of a Netflix show I should be watching.

No Rest for the Wicked Value for Money - 8/10

You’d be hard-pressed to find an early-access game worth nearly $40 but No Rest for the Wicked is certainly among the few you should consider. Its stunning art direction, dynamic cinematography, and stellar audio are all reasons enough to give this game a shot, but it still has fun combat and effective platforming to follow that up. You will have to forgive the bugs for now, but that’s what early access is for.

No Rest for the Wicked Review: Arcane Meets Dark Souls


When I mention the word "soulslike", what’s the first thing to pop in your head? It’ll likely be the genre’s defining title Dark Souls or one of its many sequels and derivatives, but what else? Maybe you picture an armor-clad figure dodge rolling out of harm’s way? Perhaps a sprawling narrative told through item descriptions and loading screen tips comes to mind? I bet you even pictured a shot cutscene with stylized 3D assets. Well, whichever of those you thought of, you can bet that No Rest for the Wicked has it, even if it is just an early-access game.

Okay, maybe No Rest for the Wicked isn’t strictly a soulslike—it certainly doesn’t call itself that on any platform—but I can make a case that it could be. It certainly plays like one with its beat-for-beat dodge rolling and stat and equipment-based loadout system. It could also pass itself off as one with its beautifully stylized cutscenes and narrative that’s just barely too complex for the casual player.

But, fine, allow me to show you everything this game has to offer and you can decide in the end if this game really is a cross between Arcane and Dark Souls.


Let’s talk about the gameplay first, as this is where No Rest for the Wicked has the clearest soulslike influences. Before I tell you about the game’s mechanics, however, I first must insist that you play this game using a controller. Mouse and keyboard controls are also viable, but a controller setup will give you the best experience, especially if you’re using a PS5 controller with haptic feedback. Got that? Good, let’s continue.

As an action game, No Rest for the Wicked’s gameplay is mostly combat, a lot of which looks and plays very similarly to true soulslikes. Players find armor pieces and weapons as they play, allowing them different playstyles according to their current load out. There’s the standard sword and board style (complete with parry mechanics, of course), dual-wielding style, heavy weapons style, ranged combat, and even a bit of sorcery and faith-based mechanics. This game even has its own twist on the dodge roll mechanics that Dark Souls doesn’t have, but I’ll elaborate on it when I talk about the equipment load system.


Various consumables can also be found around the game’s amazingly stylized 3D map, including firebombs, potions for stamina and poise, repair dust, and various oils that change your weapon’s damage type temporarily. Instead of a recharging healing vial, players regain health by foraging, cooking, and eating food, which can have additional effects like better defense or more stamina for a limited time. All of these can be assigned to a directional hotbar, which also lets you cycle through all consumables. While players don’t have a weight limit for unequipped items, they do have a limited inventory space.

Combat itself is rather straightforward, at least at first glance. You’ve got basic attacks for minor damage and charged power attacks for meatier whacks. You’ve also got combo strings, accessible only if your character dodges or dashes. While on the topic of dodging, let’s circle back to the unique dodge mechanics I alluded to earlier.

The way your character dodges in this game depends on your equipment weight. You can either dash forward quickly, dodge roll somewhere slower, or deal heavy damage with shoulder rams if your character has light, medium, and heavy equipment loads, respectively.


That’s such a cool idea and it makes heavy equipment loads a bit more tolerable, if not outright viable. It’s cool that No Rest for the Wicked did something with that mechanic proactively instead of just using it as a way to limit player builds.

Moving past the game’s combat, let’s talk about the game’s crafting and gathering mechanics. Yeah, this soulslike-adjacent game has Stardew Valley-esque gathering mechanics in it. You can dig, fish, mine, and deforest using an array of harvesting tools. This is how you create new gear, including armor, weapons, and consumables. I must admit, it’s a bit rudimentary right now, and the harvesting animation itself, though sublime, takes a bit too long.

Crafting is also limited by what recipes you know, so you’re going to be lugging around unusable resources for a good while. Thank the gods there’s a storage system to help with this.


Last among the notable gameplay mechanics is the game’s platforming, which is a mechanic not often seen in these types of games. We’ve established that this game isn’t a true soulslike, but its other soulslike qualities might lead one to expect that jumping around to get to places isn’t a core gameplay mechanic. It is though, and the game rewards exploration and careful plaforming with money, gear, and loot.

Personally, I appreciate this odd assortment of gameplay mechanics because it keeps things fresh. This game could have done well enough without platforming or resource gathering, but it chose to add those things to spice it up a bit.

None of them feel tacked-on, either, as each one has as robust an implementation as the game’s combat. It simply wouldn’t be No Rest for the Wicked if it was just hacking and slashing all day.


With gameplay done, let’s get started with the game’s visuals because I have so much to say about it. Let’s get the obvious out of the way: I love how this game looks. I was initially put off by how "apelike" the character looked during character creation, but I eventually understood that it was a stylistic choice. And what style is that exactly? Well, if you’ve seen Arcane, then you already know what I mean. The world, the characters, the gear; they all look like they were painted into existence.

I swear, I can see individual brush strokes on people’s faces during cutscenes sometimes. The character design is nothing to scoff at either, balancing real-world influences with the exaggerated proportions of this stylized setting.

But above all of these amazing details is the game’s masterful cinematography. The cutscenes are beautifully directed, almost as if they were made for television. Unique blocking techniques, framing devices, and dynamic camera movements make all of this feel like it’s a show that I would vibe with so hard.


After all that, there’s another aspect to the game’s visuals that just brings it all together into something to feast your eyes upon: its animation. From detailed facial movements to the most fluid attack animations I’ve seen in a long time; this game has it all. It’s the neat little bow to the visual package that makes this game stand out among its peers. I should have seen this coming. I mean, what else should I have expected from the developers behind Ori and the Blind Forest?

The sensory feast doesn’t stop there, however, as this game’s audio is an experience all on its own. The voice acting isn’t just tolerable, it’s way above the industry standard, at least in my opinion. Paired with the game’s great writing, as I’ve exhaustively mentioned in this review before, it reads like a series that I ought to be watching. The music helps with this as well, being of great quality and always apropos to the scenery at hand.

With a cavalcade of praises trailing behind it like that, what makes this game less than deserving of a perfect score? Well, it isn’t early access for nothing, that’s for sure. The game bugs out every so often, putting my character in walls or inescapable areas whenever I land incorrectly from a failed platforming event. On more than one occasion, I was met with an empty UI that I couldn’t exit from whenever I attempted to talk to an NPC, forcing me to reload an older save. Thankfully, this has never caused me to lose more than a few minutes’ worth of progress, but it’s still worth noting.


The game is also a bit sluggish overall, with your character’s running speed feeling insignificant and enemy attacks far outpacing your own. It depends on your equipment, but sometimes, even your inputs get delayed by a few too many milliseconds to be effective. In a combat system where rhythm and skill are key, those milliseconds might as well be eternities.

Lastly, the game’s durability system is just unfun to play around with. Dying doesn’t lose you money, it loses you durability, which may as well be money with how often you’re going to need to rebuy items. Repair powders exist, but they’re either too rare or too expensive to craft to be reliable. I’d sooner lose my in-game currency than suffer another broken sword becayse I misjudged a jump.


There’s also the matter of quality of life, as the game currently lacks UI elements for PS5 controllers or the option to rebind controls in any way. Action game players, especially those who play soulslikes and soulslike-adjacent games, love their custom key binds, so this is a major hit against the game’s quality.

Overall, this game just needs a bit more spit and polish to be viable. It has plenty of great things going for it already, the devs just need to buff out the scratches and maybe rethink a few minor gameplay mechanics. That’s what early access is for anyway. It’s a great game now, but I’m sure that it can get ever so slightly better without too much effort.

So, what'd I tell you? It's like Arcane and Dark Souls, right?

Pros of No Rest for the Wicked

Things No Rest for the Wicked Got Right
Checkmark Stunning Art Direction and Cinematography
Checkmark Fun But Punishing Boss Fights
Checkmark Healthy Variety in Gameplay

Stunning Art Direction and Cinematography

I’ve gushed about this game’s art direction and cinematography already but I think it deserves another runthrough. If you’ve seen Netflix’s Arcane, you’ve seen this game’s vibrant oil-painting style. Some have said that the game is a lot darker than many other games in terms of general luminosity, but I think it’s this contrast between light and dark that allows the game’s colors to pop.

The character and world design’s on point too, showing a mid-to-late medieval aesthetic mixed in with major fantasy elements. The weapons and armor look disheveled and pieced together, which is exactly what it would look like for the common folk during those times. I am also just a fan of the architecture in this game and how well they work for creative platforming and general navigation.


But above all that is the game’s cinematic excellence, which easily gave No Rest for the Wicked’s story the structure it needed. From dramatic pauses to unique camera angles to dynamic action shots I’ve only seen in actual movies, this game’s cinematics received every bit of directorial prowess the development team could grant it.

Fun But Punishing Boss Fights


It wouldn’t be a soulslike-adjacent game if it didn’t have any, but yes, this game’s boss fights are brick wall skill checks that’ll send your controllers flying. Some say that the attacks could be telegraphed better, but to that I say "git gud". They are difficult, yes, but I’ve certainly felt the sting of harder-fought fights than these. At the very least, the loot is always proportional to the difficulty.

Healthy Variety in Gameplay


It’s not all swords and dodge rolls in this game and I’m all for it. You can legitimately head out to get materials if you want to, or even just cook a meal. Heck, you might revisit a place because you left a platforming puzzle unsolved. None of these additional mechanics take way from the game’s combat because they serve to enhance the experience, not hijack it. All in all, it’s a neat little package of things to do that never gets boring.

Cons of No Rest for the Wicked

Things That No Rest for the Wicked Can Improve
Checkmark Graphically Demanding
Checkmark Still Has a Few Bugs
Checkmark Wonky Controls and Uncustomizable Keybinds
Checkmark Managing Durability is a Nightmare

Graphically Demanding


Oh yeah, don’t expect to be able to play this game if you’re not packing a strong setup. The game can be demanding even on the lowest settings, likely owing to its live cutscenes (as opposed to pre-rendered). The lowest settings still look good though, so a moderate setup should still be able to handle this game’s demands.

Still Has a Few Bugs


I’ve mentioned them before, but the game does have a few more bugs to work out before it can roll out as a finished product. A lot of these seem to be clipping issues during the game’s cutscenes but said issues also extend to the game’s map, which has more than a few areas that just shunt your character off to the side.

It would also be nice if your character doesn’t need to be facing the NPC they’re talking to in order to start the dialogue interaction, as this, too, has led to a few soft locks whenever the NPC physically cannot face your character.

Wonky Controls and Uncustomizable Keybinds


The slight input delay I mentioned earlier plays into this a bit, but yes, the game has more than a few wonky controls. A lot of the time, consumable uses just don’t register, preventing me from healing during important combat scenarios. There’s no way to rebind keys either, so unique bindings for certain player preferences are simply not possible.

The developers have already noticed this issue and are working to get it fixed, but as it stands, this game’s controls are a bit too unreliable.

Managing Durability is a Nightmare


The durability system has been a major point of contention among players as it’s currently hard to pinpoint if it is better or worse than simply losing part of your loot on death with the incentive of retrieving them afterward. On one hand, this makes recovery after death far less nerve-wracking than an enemy-filled walk back to where you previously died. On the other, dying with good loot on you will spiral your character into poverty.

I think the game would still be playable and balanced without the durability system, but can see its merit for the game’s current build. Let’s just hope it doesn’t prove to be too annoying for the rest of the game’s fanbase.

Is No Rest for the Wicked Worth It?

It Still Has Kinks to Work Out But It’s Worth It Now


Imperfect as it is, I can see a great game underneath all these bugs. No Rest for the Wicked clearly has a lot of talent and effort fueling its development, so it’s only a matter of time before it’s out of the oven and worth its $35.99 price. If you’re apprehensive about buying a game that still has a few bugs in it, that’s fine. I will say, though, those bugs pale in comparison to everything else that No Rest for the Wicked can offer.

Steam IconSteam Playstation IconPlayStation Xbox IconXbox
Price $35.99

No Rest for the Wicked FAQ

Does No Rest for the Wicked Require Online Connection to Play?

No. According to Mikey—one of the game’s developers—No Rest for the Wicked does not require an online connection to play.

Does No Rest for the Wicked have a Multiplayer?

Not yet. No Rest for the Wicked is currently only a single-player experience, although the game’s developers have confirmed that the game’s first major update will add multiplayer features, allowing up to three other players to connect and play via online multiplayer.

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No Rest for the Wicked Product Information

No Rest for the Wicked Banner
Release Date April 18, 2024 (Early access)
Developer Moon Studios GmbH
Publisher Private Division
Supported Platforms PC(Steam), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|s
Genre Action, RPG,
Number of Players 1
Rating ESRM Mature 17+
Official Website No Rest for the Wicked Official Website
  • Disclosure: Game8 was provided with a free copy strictly for review purposes with no other compensation.


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