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Moon Studios’ release of No Rest for the Wicked in early access had me intrigued. The blend of an ARPG and a Soulslike combat structure, with the beautiful art style of Ori and the Blind Forest developers, sounded exceptional. The game has numerous issues, but it balances these elements well for the most part. No Rest for the Wicked delivers a satisfying isometric Dark Souls combat system steeped in ARPG elements like the modern Diablo games. However, some design choices combined with the hurdles of Early Access development have presented a few hurdles. Read on for our No Rest For The Wicked review!

True Moon Studios style

The art style for the game is very specific to Moon Studios, and I mean this positively. From character design and landscapes in cutscenes to gameplay, you can see that a lot of work went into both the visual design process and the animation. The graphics are stunning, and visually, the game is quite immersive. However, the technical part of this is lacking in Early Access because the game isn’t optimized yet.

Despite the graphics looking good, there are some performance issues that prevent the game from running on stable 60 FPS all the time, even on higher-end machines. In addition to the graphics, the voice acting and music design is impeccable. I honestly expected nothing less from the creators of “Ori.” As for sound design, slashing down enemies, getting hit, dodging and counter attacking, and parrying all feels and sounds incredible.

No Rest For The Wicked screenshot

The Story So Far

The story seems to revolve around a mysterious group of legendary warriors called the Cerim, whom the player is a part of, fighting against the Pestilence which is corrupting and mutating mankind. So far, the narrative seems immersive and interesting, as there are various factions with their own goals in play. That said, I couldn’t say more since it’s largely incomplete due to Early Access.

When everything is working, No Rest for the Wicked feels satisfying to play. The problem is when things start glitching. Moon Studios pointed out most of these glitches, but you’ll sometimes fall through the earth or slide from a platform. Furthermore, parrying doesn’t have invincibility frames, so you’ll often get hit by another enemy, even though you parried the main one. All of these issues will slowly be fixed, though. After all, glitches and bugs are the domain of Early Access, and they shouldn’t take away from the grander potential a game has.

No Rest For The Wicked screenshot

Soulslike combat

The first aspect players will look at in a Soulslike ARPG game is combat and exploration. I’m happy to report that while it has issues we’ll delve into below, fighting enemies and exploring feels satisfying in most cases if you’re not grinding and over-leveling yourself. No Rest for the Wicked combat is based on Stamina with blocking, dodging, and attacking depleting it. While familiar to any From Software fan, the added isometric perspective makes it drastically different for series veterans.

A bird’s eye view of the enemies and bosses allows better dodging and repositioning. Circling enemies and avoiding attacks becomes easier and more fluid as you get a full scope of the telegraphed attack area from above.

No Rest For The Wicked screenshot

Memorizing patterns

Furthermore, everything is more tactical as you’re not fighting hordes of enemies but one to three main ones in segmented duel scenarios. You’re looking to memorize attack patterns to deal damage and minimize the damage you take. Bosses have unique, memorable designs and move sets. However, they can become bullet-spongy at times with repetitive attack patterns. This is sometimes an issue if you’re under-leveled for a fight, but it is an objective case for some bosses. If you’re struggling, you can grind through the nearby area for better gear and levels and face the boss again. You can also tackle a fight with new weapons to make it feel different.

“No Rest for the Wicked” combines weapon movesets with special Runic attacks and ARPG gear stats to differentiate each weapon, gear piece, and battle scenario. The Souls experience is altered by the various Diablo-esque statistics each gear piece has when you find it from enemies or chests. This is especially true when you include different percentage modifiers through gear tiers (common, rare, cursed, legendary), gems that add bonus effects, and special rune attacks you can infuse into weapons.

No Rest For The Wicked screenshot

Unique gear

You’re not just finding unique gear but variations of the same weapon, armor, or trinket with better/worse damage and weight, % increases or decreases to various aspects of your character, and flat bonuses to mechanics like parry damage or getting health back on hit. You can even modify gear yourself in the hub area through the Enchanter, though this still has that random element of which bonus stats you’re going to get.

However, we need more tooltips and descriptions for what rune abilities and other items do exactly without purchasing or equipping them first. Moreover, some stat combinations on gear pieces feel a bit bland and irrelevant, especially with early pieces, so making these more active and useful is a surefire way to improve the RPG aspect of loot.

No Rest For The Wicked screenshot

Exploration, check!

Exploring offers a variation on the Souls experience where checkpoints don’t restore HP but don’t respawn enemies either. There’s also no major penalty for death other than gear degradation, which eventually breaks the gear piece but is often circumvented by NPC or consumable repairs.

A huge element I like about No Rest for the Wicked is the level design. Like in “Demon Souls” and “Dark Souls,” the map is beautifully interconnected with unlockable shortcuts. You’ll often have those moments like, “Aha, this leads back to there!” Movement feels great as you’re sprinting, dashing around enemies, and parkouring across the level, even though you can sometimes accidentally fall and die in frustration. Most people, including me, won’t like swimming, though, as you’ll instantly die once stamina runs out, even in shallow water.

No Rest For The Wicked screenshot

Little Early Access annoyances

Even more frustrating is that controls aren’t rebindable yet, which can be a big hurdle for some people who won’t play the game until this gets fixed through Early Access. While the level design is superb, the tool system for harvesting materials and looting feels awkward at times. The game wants you to scavenge and harvest a lot of ingredients for gear upgrades, crafting, rebuilding the city, customizing your home, etc. but limits your inventory drastically. You’ll often run out of ingredient inventory space and healing materials as well.

Yes, you can upgrade inventory, but this is uncommon and inventory sizes are separate for each item category. It would be much better if ingredient spaces were unlimited or if inventory upgrades improved more categories.

No Rest For The Wicked screenshot

Conclusion

No Rest for the Wicked by Moon Studios offers a promising blend of ARPG and Soulslike combat, with beautiful art direction and satisfying gameplay mechanics. While the game excels in its combat system, unique level design, and visual appeal, it is hindered by various issues typical of Early Access titles, such as technical glitches, lack of optimization, and some awkward design choices. Despite these drawbacks, the game’s potential shines through, suggesting that with further development and polish, it could become a standout title in the ARPG and Soulslike genres.

Grade: 7

Pros:

  • Satisfying Combat System
  • Beautiful Art Direction
  • Impeccable Sound Design
  • Intriguing Storyline
  • Tactical Exploration

Cons:

  • Technical Issues
  • Lack of Optimization
  • Awkward Design Choices
  • Limited Tooltips and Descriptions
  • Inventory Management

That was it for our No Rest For The Wicked review. No Rest For The Wicked is currently available through GeForce Now. Be sure to follow us on X right here.

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