There have been many horror games out there that have used sound as a gimmick to drive the fear and now we have Maid Of Sker here to add to that mix and use it as a way to help keep us quiet a bit. Something that might sound like something many other forms of media have used as of late, but given how long it takes to make video games it should not be seen as something Wales Interactive is jumping onto. In fact, Maid Of Sker also comes along with a much deeper story than some of those others while making sure that we can be frightened by making the slightest peep in the game. All while giving us a nice folksy tale in the mix of it all. This is something that caught my eye and push me to give the game a go. Now we can dive into the official review we have here.
Here we go on a fun adventure with Thomas Evans as he is given a letter from his love that she needs help in the rocky peninsula where Sker Point is. Something has gone wrong in the Sker Hotel and Elisabeth needs someone to help her fix the issue or die trying. That is how it feels at least as there is little warning given to Thomas as he sets forth into the building to save her and deal with the various guests that have been blinded and turned to killing anything that makes a sound they do not like. All by composing one more song to hope to reverse what happened here. Your choice can matter here, so it could all have a dark ending or a happy one.
If you noticed the focus there on using sound and noise in Maid Of Sker above here, then you would expect that it would function well in the game. In some instances, it does. Sadly, those are few and far between and always left me to a bit of confusion as to what actually caused noise to attract anything and what did not. This is part in partial to just normal movement and how the world interacted in Maid Of Sker. There were times that I crouched and walked with a covered mouth only to draw aggro on everything in the area. Then at other times I open a giant gate that makes a whole lot of noise and not a single thing takes notice. It was more confusing than anything and led to more frustration in the game than the tension it should have built up. If only there was a bit more explanation on why that was besides "video games" it would have flowed better for me.
Another part of Maid Of Sker that was more frustrating than anything was the weird pixel hunt that it felt like was meant but never came up. When you could find the items that were interactive and collectible in the game the prompts came up, but there was little to indicate what was and was not something of meaning. Which led me down wrong paths too many times or down hallways that were really just there as filler or places for the AI to wander into. Maybe this was to pad the time for Maid Of Sker or just a design choice that did not pay off in the final version of the game. Sure, there will be areas that are filled with nothing of importance but usually, there is some kind of indication to let players know this. Even if it was there to build tension, it just was more of a bother than doing anything like that.
If there was one thing that kept drawing me into Maid Of Sker, it was the overall story that we could experience in the game. I will not tell you any true specifics to keep spoilers away, but when those exposition scenes took place or we needed to use a save point to further it along, it all felt right. It was the right level of dark and tied in some fun mythology and insanity into the mix. Things that usually get my attention in games and not specifically what I thought was going to draw me into Maid Of Sker. Even when things felt like they were getting a bit on the weirder side of thing, it just felt like it came around full circle at points. Again, not trying to give things away but it was something that truly made this worth the price of admission for me.
While I did find most of the audio and sound aspects of Maid Of Sker to be a bit off when we are able to weaponize it all things start to pick back up. More so when we get to the boss and big puzzle sections in the game where we need to pay attention to it all to carry on. Particularly one fight where we need to lure one of the bosses into a room that blazes sound to do harm and we need to listen to the cues to make sure he is in the right place for. It was little things like this in Maid Of Sker that kept me moving forward to see where things were going. I wish it happened much more in the game but when these sections came up, they were a true shining light in it all.
I went into Maid Of Sker expecting one thing and weirdly got something completely different. This is not something new when it comes to video games but something to know here for this one. The story is a fun one to take in and to see the various ways it can play out. You will just need to get a hang of how the gameplay mechanics work first as they do not always line up with what is presented. There are some high points and "combats" to have and break up the basic monotony of the key hunts, but they cannot carry Maid Of Sker completely. It is a nice little horror semi-walking simulator at a core, so do take that to note before making the choice of giving your time and money to this one.
I give Maid Of Sker 13 Ear-Piercing Shrieks on the Ear-Piercing Shriek scale.
Maid Of Sker — Launch Trailer