In recent years, many horror games come out under the rocks. So much so that it is challenging to keep track of them.
From the hand of Wales Interactive, Maid of Sker has released. It is a fairly traditional adventure that is inspired by Welsh legends. The game offers us an entertaining story with some points for improvement.
Basic Information Maid of Sker
Maid of Sker is a first-person horror and exploration game. FYI, it takes some inspiration from the classic Resident Evil.
On a narrative level, it takes us 1898. It tells the story of Elisabeth Williams, trapped in a hotel where bizarre things are happening. It is the place where the key to everything that we do not quite understand.
Our goal is to help Elisabeth out of this place. It is an exciting premise, and we found it original and entertaining. I mean, it is different from the typical horror story. It is a game focused on exploration and discovery.
The Storyline Maid of Sker
A pale and sad sun welcomes us on our arrival at Sker Island. The metallic rattle of the train tracks slows down until it stops with a sharp screech of the brakes.
It leaves us in a solitary and silent place, surrounded by the abundant vegetation of the forest. A rusty and mouldy sign confirms that we have reached the right place.
Shortly after, we find a letter that our beloved wrote to us with words full of fear and despair.
“I wish I didn’t have to write these words, but my father has discovered our plans, my love. Besides this, there is something much worse that I need you to understand, although I fear that you will think me alienated.
My father intends to use me in the same way he used my mother. He wants me to sing for him as she did, and be the star that draws the poor people to this corner of the world.
I have refused, and that is why she has me confined here, in the Sker hotel
Always yours, Elisabeth.”
It seems like the letter didn’t use “direct” words. However, we will discover later what will happen to Elisabeth.
Anyway, we have arrived at Sker. By traveling its stony path, we soon saw an imposing and decrepit hotel. It is baptized with the same name as the land on which it sits.
With the certainty that something dark surrounds the building, we ventured to climb its steps and cross its threshold. Then, we are entering the heart of terror.
Maid of Sker Gameplay
As we said, it is inspired by the design of the Capcom saga. So much so that there are no automatic save points (in fact, in difficult times what we can save are limited.)
The hotel is fully connected. To access new areas, we will have to get keys and objects that unlock it.
We found Wales Interactive to have done an excellent job in this area. We appreciate having a well thought out scenario in such game.
We also really liked the puzzles. They are relatively simple, and usually, the key is to see the little detail that gives us a clue.
Instead of the typical “here is a puzzle, here is a clue, find out how to solve it”, we come to an area that requires us to do something. Therefore, we have to look for the element that is going to guide us.
Regarding the controls, it is effortless. Enemies can only hear us. Our protagonist will have to hold his breath when he is close.
However, if he holds it for too long, he should take a breath quickly (or die). But remember, you are in a situation that you should not make noise and attract attention.
Certain elements, such as dust or smoke, will make us cough. So, we have to plan our routes carefully to remain true ninjas.
The save points are limited, and they are not abundant. In a Resident Evil, even if the save points are not automatic, you usually always have options to escape.
But here, the creatures are faster than you, and a single mistake is usually lethal. Therefore, if you stuck for any reason, you will repeat many (like maaaaany times) depending on where the save point is.
You may see yourself repeating the same half-hour over and over again.
Anyway, we like the exploration approach. Holding our breath and finding the least dangerous route through the stage is challenging but fun. But for some beginners, it will be frustrating.
We are not going to say it is a bad thing, though. We only think if it could’ve been done differently (giving us more tools to run away, for example.)
Fortunately, it’s up to the player to decide whether they wanted to face this challenge or not. If not, you can always play it easy. Although, we believe that the difficulty helps to extend the game for hours.
The Audio and Visual Aspects
In the audio and visual part, Maid of Sker has been a pleasant surprise. The PS4 version, the one we’ve reviewed, looks excellent. Both artistically and technically, it is at an outstanding level.
The enemies may be a bit generic, but we loved the settings. They are quite varied, considering the limitations of the setting.
Besides, it performs very well, at 30 FPS. As a curiosity, it has a strange latency in the response. It led us to reduce the speed of movement of the camera, but nothing particularly serious.
The sound is also great, with a massive amount of small sound effects that reach us everywhere. These little sounds keep us in constant tension.
We recommend, as is usual in this genre, playing with headphones. Unless you have a good sound system, you may miss part of that immersive and oppressive experience you are looking for. It comes to us with voices in English and texts in other European languages.
Honestly, it is a unique scary game I’ve ever tried. The setting, the story, its production values, the vile Resident design and its (optional) difficulty have made us enjoy it a lot.
Certain moments can, indeed be frustrating. It can punish our mistakes too much. However, this aspect only increases the tension.
And if you don’t want so much tension, we have difficulty levels to choose from. In general, it is a highly recommended title if you want to be scared and like to hide in the shadows.