“Do not panic…don’t even breathe.” A breath of fresh air – pun intended – in the world of horror survival games, Maid of Sker sets itself apart in so many admirable ways. Originally set for release in June 2020, the developers pushed back the release date to July 28th, 2020, in order to perfect the game. A wise decision, as the game us players received was undoubtedly the best version of itself.
You play as a man named Thomas, who receives a letter from his distressed fianceé, Elisabeth. Concerned for her well-being, Thomas ventures out to the Sker Hotel, but his love’s troubles are the least of the problems he encounters. Other people have now become blind creatures, part of a cult who will hunt you down based solely on sound.
Maid of Sker is set in 1898, and is inspired by Welsh folklore. It plays as a horror survival, but with a major focus on stealth and adventure. Throughout exploring the hotel and the world around it, Thomas discovers more about the dark history of the hotel and the mysterious cult who surrounds it.
One of the main mechanics is the stealth runs. While exploring and investigating the ominous environment, the player must always be aware of all of their surroundings. The creatures can hear you even from the next room, before you even know they’re there. This definitely sets for suspenseful gameplay, yet can easily become frustrating trial and error. So many times, I would die and respawn, and just continue to find new routes, and just take things painstakingly slow.
Some of the key features include:
- 3D sound-based AI system as the core survival mechanic.
- Realistic visuals featuring 4k uncapped on PC (1080p 60fps minimum) and enhancements on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
- Dynamic environment sound feature that alerts enemies via a nudge system when the player bumps into objects.
- A chilling story inspired by Welsh folklore fusing psychological, gothic and British horror.
- Re-imagining of famous Welsh hymns Calon Lân (A Pure Heart), Suo-Gân (Welsh Lullaby) and Ar Hyd Y Nos (All Through the Night) from the spine-chilling voice of Tia Kalmaru.
This game truly shines in the worldbuilding aspects. Exploring the detailed atmosphere truly immerses the player into this world, and really builds an attachment. The grounds of this hotel are truly terrifying to investigate, as you never quite know what’s really around the corner. The haunting soundtrack throughout, paired with the (sometimes overly) dark environment truly send chills down your spine.
Like I mentioned above, sometimes this game can be a tad too dark. Yes, we want our horror games dark, but considering so much of this game requires thorough exploration at the same time as avoiding these cultists, we need to be able to…well, see them.
Overall, Maid of Sker is definitely a game worth getting if you’re a fan of slower-paced, stealthy horror games. If exploring in anticipation is your thing, this is a game for you.
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC for $24.99, this game is worth the price. If you’re ready to feel your heart beating through your chest, Maid of Sker is here…just don’t breathe.