Maid of Sker – Review
Follow Genre: Horror
Developer: Wales Interactive
Publisher: Wales Interactive
Platform: PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC
Tested on: PC

Maid of Sker – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Great graphics and story set-up, nice sound and voice acting
Bad: The gameplay does not do the game justice at all
User Score
5.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Maid of Sker is here. The trailer thrilled many as it foreshadowed a unique game with unique gameplay. Sound-based enemies, that you have to avoid? Yes, please. Cool atmospheric graphics? Hell yes. But how far can we trust a trailer to actually deliver a good game? Let’s check out the self-proclaimed horror game in this review.

Story

Starting Maid of Sker, you travel by train as you are waiting to arrive on the mysterious Sker Island. Your love wrote you a letter about how everything on the island went to hell. She followed in her mother’s footsteps as her uncle’s “pet project” as she’s a good singer. However, she quickly didn’t feel at ease at the place, and the circumstances of her stay changed for the worse. Darkness and death are twisting around Sker Island by some mysterious cause, causing many to go blind and act by hearing alone.  Anyway, you obviously have to go save your lover. As you set out to find her, the game tells its story by doing a few small in-game cutscenes and conversations. It also uses some recordings you can find to convey more of what happened previous to your arrival. It works fine and tells a neat, mysterious story.

Graphics

Maid of Sker is a game with an appealing look. It feels as if the popular Bioshock (mainly Bioshock Infinite) graphics made love to the mysterious elements of the old Myst games. The structures and nature that you come across keep a certain mystery to them, not letting loose too much information but calling out to you to come closer. The Bioshock elements are also seen in the models and how you move from a first-person point-of-view. It’s like realism with a tiny bit of cartoony grit. It’s interesting and it works really well.

Sound

There’s nothing wrong with the sound either. Except that it isn’t as important as it should be, but more on that in the gameplay section. Maid of Sker has nice atmospheric music everywhere that’s more mysterious than horror-like. As Maid of Sker is a game involving mute enemies, it seems that some money was probably saved on the voice acting there. The voice you hear most is that of your lover as she often communicates with you through multiple telephones conveniently located throughout the game. Her voice, as well as other voices you occasionally come across, are also well done though. Combined with original footage sung and composed, it works almost as well as the graphics. There are just some small moments that are not as convincing in sound as they are in visuals, but that might be a problem created by the gameplay in general by a lack of action versus reaction.

Gameplay

Maid of Sker is marketed as a horror type of game. To be honest, it doesn’t really feel like it. Especially with the past decade where people got to play games such Amnesia, players got used to quite a bit. You know, the regular components such as blood trails, jumpscares, enemies sprinting towards you, and more. Maid of Sker pretty much has none of those. Instead, it presents you with a rather linear path and less-than-scary enemies. Fair enough, the game picks up a bit of pace as you progress, but the core stays the same and thus being not scary. You save your game at Phonographs in rooms that let you hear a bit of background story as you save. After you do, you pretty much get one way to follow to the next one.

Encountering enemies is barely scary at the start and doesn’t get much more frightening as you progress. This “sound is your enemy” is what the game focusses on as its main gimmick. As your enemies are triggered by sound, you would expect a breaking branch or a large sigh to trigger them, but they barely ever get triggered which allows you to sneak past them with ease. The very few times that they do chase you, they start to stomp your arm in the least scary way possible where some other game monster would have devoured you whole. All these things don’t make Maid of Sker a bad game, but it’s pretty bland especially as it’s a rinse and repeat. On top of that, you get a type of weapon that incapacitates multiple enemies when needed. You do need ammo for this, but as you can just easily get past all of them, ammo is easy to store. It makes you feel even safer in case something goes wrong.

The game also lets you hold your breath, which is only really necessary if you have to pass smoke, dust, and other cough-causing clouds. While it’s a fun idea, it just feels uninventive in the execution. This rings true for the way Maid of Sker handled the gameplay in general. You would expect more from the core gameplay that revolves around sound. Now it feels more like a gimmicky mini-game that repeats itself. Chances are you will keep playing Maid of Sker for the visuals and the story mostly, as they are nice. But the gameplay itself is too easy for most and not scary enough for horror players.

Conclusion

Maid of Sker has high-quality graphics that really pop out. The story makes you want to continue, but the gameplay is rather easy and uninventive. The game lacks horror as well as depth for the core gameplay mechanics. This doesn’t make the game bad, it just makes it a different genre and a bit boring. This game is something where you can enjoy a thriller story and look at the beautiful surroundings while putting the gameplay on the backseat.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.3/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Maid of Sker - Review, 5.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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