Maid of Sker review

2022-06-22 by Callum Andrews

  • Reviewed on

  • Platforms

    Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X och Series S, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Playstation 5

  • Developer
    Wales Interactive

  • Publisher
    Wales Interactive

A scary hotel on a scary island

In recent years there's been quite a surge in horror games. Looking just at the indie scene, the genre has an endless sea of titles to choose from. It gets one wondering why this is. Do a lot of indie developers like to scare people or do they maybe find the genre compelling in the sense that they think that it is easy making a scary game? If you ask me, creating a good horror game might be one of the hardest undertakings a game developer can embark on. There are so many things that need to be right. For one, you need to make the player feel scared or uncomfortable in some way. BUT! you also need to make sure that they are having fun. Alright maybe not having fun always, but at least make sure that they stay interested enough to reach the end credits. Getting just one of these aspects right when developing a game can be a challenge. Then one can just ask themselves how much of a challenge it can be to get both things right at the same time.

Maid of Sker does both of the things mentioned above quite well, but not great. Set on the imaginary island of Sker, you take on the role of Thomas. Thomas is on his way to the Sker Hotel, where he has been summoned by his love Elisabeth, who is trapped at the hotel and needs Thomas's help. He is requested to get to the hotel and help Elisabeth from her captivity but also needs to compose a counter song to the tune that his locket plays, which Elisabeth has given him. Initially, all of the exposition doesn't make any sense, but the further you get into the game, things start getting clearer. Maid of Sker's story might not be the most interesting one, but it's one of the more unique ones I've come across recently. The story is told through various notes that Thomas finds throughout the game, but also via various telephone conversations and audio recordings.

Be silent or be dead

Any good horror game needs to have a great soundtrack and sound design. And this is where Maid of Sker shines, for the most part. The sound design is really good, with various background noises and sounds in the different environments that set the player on edge. There isn't a lot of music in the game, but it isn't needed either. The music that's there, is appropriately set and fits the occasions where it's included. There are a few blemishes that hold it back from being excellent. The biggest reason for this is the sound distance of some of the enemies' footsteps. A lot of the times you will hear an enemy approaching before seeing it and you will take appropriate action not to get caught. However on many occasions when the enemy walks away, it will sound a lot like they are walking right next to you. I'm not sure how many times this held me back since I didn't dare to move out of a room because I thought an enemy was right outside even though they might have been on the other side of a long hallway or two to three rooms down from me.

The game takes place mostly in the Sker Hotel, which you will be traversing vertically, by getting access to its upper and lower floors. By exploring the hotel you'll come across items and keys that will enable you to access rooms that you weren't able to access previously. Even though we are told that this is a hotel, one might have very well thought that this also was some kind of storage facility. The amount of things and clutter lying about the hotel is all but warranted and one can't help but think if this was a cheap trick by the developers to make the spaces tighter to heighten the suspense when sneaking around. If so, then why not just make the rooms or hallways smaller, instead of throwing in heaps of stuff around the various spaces. Being aware of enemy placement is critical for not being detected or caught. Considering that the audio isn't always the best option for figuring out where an enemy is, it would have been a nice quality of life improvement if the player would have had the option to lean to the side to look around corners or behind walls.

It's okay

Toward the end, the game does start to drag a bit, even if it does include a couple of chase sequences but being only 5-6 hours long it still doesn't outstay its welcome and manages to end at just the appropriate time. Even though the game has two endings, there's nothing here that would warrant a second playthrough apart from possibly improving one's stats that show up at the end of the game or getting all the achievements.


An enjoyable experience, that provides a somewhat unique story. The scare factor isn't really on the higher side but it does provide a jump scare here and there.