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Maid of Sker

Brave the nightmares of the Quiet Ones. Do not panic…don’t even breathe! Maid of Sker is a first-person survival horror, set in a remote hotel with a gory and macabre history from British folklore. Armed with only a defensive sound device, you’ll utilise stealth tactics to avoid death amongst a cult of sound-based AI enemies. Set in 1898 and inspired by the haunting Welsh tale of Elisabeth Williams, this is a story of a family empire driven by torture, slavery, piracy and a supernatural mystery that suffocates the grounds of the hotel. Created and developed by Wales Interactive with a plot crafted by the writing talent and designers behind the likes of SOMA, Don’t Knock Twice and Battlefield 1. Features • 3D sound-based AI system as the core survival mechanic. • Realistic visuals featuring 4k uncapped on PC (1080p 60fps minimum). • 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.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Maid of Sker delivers an enjoyable survival horror experience, with ideas redolent of the Don't Breathe movies and is inspired by British folklore. Whilst the playtime is quite short-lived, the gameplay is simple, yet effective and features an engaging new mode to try out after completion of the main story.
Pros
Story is inspired by Welsh folklore.
Combat challenge mode.
Excellent sound design.
Inspired by classic survival horrors.
Two different endings.
Cons
Enemies are exceptionally simple to bypass.
Story is predictable.
Story
The story is set in 1898, Wales and is inspired by the Welsh tale surrounding the haunting of Elisabeth Williams. This legend centred around the downfall of a family empire with references to supernatural happenings being behind it. Maid of Sker follows suit in this narrative with the protagonist, Thomas, heading to Sker hotel after receiving a letter from his betrothed, Elizabeth, stating that something had gone horribly wrong with the hotel’s grand reopening.
Thomas arrives, only to find the place in complete shambles, dilapidated and seemingly abandoned. His quest to aid his love propels him deeper into the sinister depths of the hotel, only to discover that it is not so abandoned after all. With blind, masked men from a cult called the Quiet Ones lurking throughout the establishment, completely devoid of their sanity.
The madness seems to all stem from a specific melody (references to famous Welsh hymns) and Thomas has no choice but to try and compose a countermelody to reverse the lunacy that has taken control. To do so, he must search and accumulate musical cylinders that are spread throughout the hotel, in order to piece them together and ultimately free the many minds that are lost to the supernatural influence of the harmonic tune.
Gameplay
Maid of Sker is a survival horror that attempts to focus on the application of stealth tactics to avoid the various enemies. In the main story, there are no weapons or even places to hide which surprised me, the only real mechanic is holding your breath. Understandably, for some, this may not seem very appealing nor engaging and I believe that is a fair critique. This is by no means an excellent stealth game and I am cautious whether it should even be labelled as stealth at all, simply due to the enemies simplistic design. I found the few puzzles to be average, neither difficult nor mindlessly simple and each area featured a descriptive map that allowed me to navigate the hotel with ease.
Enemies & stealth mechanics
Thomas roams around the hotel, searching for the musical cylinders and often comes into contact with the brainless enemies who are influenced by the sinister melody. I call them brainless, as it really is an accurate description of them. Yes, they cannot see me, and their design is supposed to rely solely on sound, similar to the Don't Breathe movie franchise, but they really cannot hear very well either. It was exceptionally easy to just walk right by them, almost rubbing sides with them, brushing against the curtains or stepping on broken glass and they would not hear a thing. This was all possible as long as I was holding M1 to hold my breath, and you can hold it for a substantial amount of time. Although, it does become more complex in later chapters, with the addition of new enemy types that are alerted easier and a large increase in the quantity of enemies overall, I still think the stealth idea is not the titles strongpoint. In complete transparency, I do not enjoy games with a hardcore stealth focus, and I am certainly not one to enjoy the patience they require. Thus, I did not mind the enemies design here, and liked the simplicity. It is clear that this opinion will vary from person to person and depending on your preference, could make or break the game for some players.
Although there are no weapons, players do obtain a "phonic modulator" which stuns all enemies for a short period of time, allowing players to sneak past. This is especially helpful in later sections of the game where it is easy to become overrun and backed into a small corner. However, there are limited charges for it and thus the device must be used sparingly, it cannot be relied on to get through the entirety of the game. This was a welcome addition and although I only used it a few times (playing on recommended normal difficulty), I imagine this would be an exceptional help in higher difficulties.
Inspired by the classics
Being a long time horror enthusiast, I come to expect to see similarities between the classics such as Resident Evil (RE) and Silent Hill. I believe drawing inspiration from these titles is not a negative, but there is a fine line between being a cheap RE clone and being able to expand upon the classics and to make something unique. I do not believe Maid of Sker is a cheap clone, but the inspiration is clearly visible. The only character in the game that can see players is basically a version of Mr X from RE. The similarities are unmistakable with his towering height, follows players relentlessly, loud, thudding steps that can be heard through walls, wears a trench coat.... need I say more?
Interestingly, I also felt the game resembled some themes of Bioshock, I suppose due to the phonic modulator gadget, but it is also more than that, something I cannot seem to pinpoint, but that semblance is present.
Challenge mode
After completing the game, I was delighted to see a new mode to try out. In this mode, it is completely different to the main game and players have access to weapons, including an axe, revolver, shotgun and more. This created an entirely different experience where we actually are involved in combat and need to fight to escape. Players can still choose to be stealthier if they wish, but the addition of several new enemy types make combat the easiest choice. I thought this was an excellent extension alongside the main game and would recommend playing this after completing the story.
Graphics & Sound
In the beginning of the game, in the outdoor area, the game is absolutely gorgeous, which I was not expecting. However, majority of the game is evidently inside in the hotel (or outside it, but at night) and I always thought it was just too dark. Even after playing around with the gamma slider, it still came off as a tad grainy. Nevertheless, this was only a minor gripe.
Sound design was excellent and built tension well, with sharp chord sounds demonstrating an enemy had heard you, random thuds coming from the walls, objects suddenly falling on the floor and abruptly breaking the painful silence. This sound design helped craft the horror atmosphere, without relying on cheap jumpscares.
Technical
This game was played with the following PC specs, and I experienced no issues:
Intel i5-9400 2.9 GHz
16GB RAM
GeForce RTX 2060 6GB
2560x1440 resolution
HDD
Windows 10
Conclusion
Maid of Sker is a short survival horror experience developed by Wales Interactive with a stealth focus and a clear inspiration from the classics of the genre. Despite its minimal stealth mechanics, it does feature an excellent, eerie sound design that creates the high tension which horror fans crave. Although I greatly enjoyed my playthrough, due to its short length, I'd recommend this at a sale.
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Review from Steam

A fantastic horror game - while there is a lot of background gore (environmental so if you're sensitive, it is ignorable), most of it is atmospheric. The story is fascinating, the music gorgeous, the levels interesting and there's a lot of environmental storytelling.
The stealth sections can be tedious (most of the game is sneaking around), I never actually got annoyed about it. There's also the option to turn the difficulty down which does make the stealth sections much more tolerable. Yes, you'll still be sneaking everywhere but the detection meters of the enemies are far less frustrating.
Definitely recommended.

Review from Steam

---{Story}---
☐ Doesnt have (Not counting historical stuff)
☐ Something isnt nothing I guess
☐ Not greatly told
☐ Average
☑️ Good
☐ Lovely
☐ Will make you cry or smile a lot
---{Gameplay}---
☐ Try not to get addicted
☑️ Very good
☐ Good
☐ Nothing special
☐ Ehh
☐ Bad
☐ Just dont
---{ Grind }---
☑️ Nothing
☐ Only if u care about leaderboards/ranks
☐ Isn't necessary to progress
☐ Average grind level
☐ Too much grind
☐ Insanity
---{Graphics}---
☐ You forget reality
☐ Masterpiece
☑️ Beautiful
☐ Good
☐ Decent
☐ Will do
☐ Bad
☐ Awful
☐ Pixel art
---{Audio}---
☐ Eargasm
☑️ Very good
☐ Good
☐ Decent
☐ Not too bad
☐ Bad
☐ Earrape
---{Audience}---
☐ Kids
☐ Teens
☑️ Adults
☐ Everyone
---{PC Requirements}---
☐ Check if you can run paint
☐ Potato
☐ Decent
☑️ Fast
☐ Rich boi
☐ Ask NASA if they have a spare computer
---{Difficulity}---
☐ Just press a bunch of buttons
☐ Easy
☐ Significant brain usage
☐ Easy to learn / Hard to master
☑️ Not so easy
☐ Difficult
☐ Dark Souls
---{Game Time}---
☐ Long enough for a cup of tea
☑️ Short
☐ Average
☐ Long
☐ Depends on you
☐ Endless
---{Price}---
☐ Just buy it
☑️ Worth the price
☐ Wait for sale
☐ Maybe if you have some spare money left
☐ Not recommended
☐ Dont throw money into a rubbish bin
---{Bugs}---
☐ Never had any
☑️ Minor bugs
☐ Few bugs
☐ Can get annoying
☐ Ruining the game
☐ The game itself is a big terrarium for bugs
---{ ? / 10 }---
☐ 1
☐ 2
☐ 3
☐ 4
☐ 5
☐ 6
☐ 7
☑️ 8
☐ 9
☐ 10

Review from Steam

Nice horror game based around interesting lore premise and origins! Not gonna reveal lore parts because it's fun to seeing that for yourselves, but this one is good for sure.
So the good parts:
- Atmosphere
- Minimum amount of jump scares. Everything is holding up on a cat and mouse chase (imaging Coma only instead of one hunting teacher there are a lot of them on every map) and tension
- Very nice graphics
- Smart approach to reusing areas
- As I mentioned previously rather unique lore origin for entire situation
The not so good parts:
- Yes, there are a lot of hunters, but on normal they're are kinda... harmless for the most parts. Unless you're in full sprint mode and do some basis sneaking - chances are you'll never trigger a hunt
- In at least 2 cases in the game when you unlock a door to an exit sooooooomehow EEEEEEVERY enemy on a level know your precise location (even if you haven't made a noise yet) and will rush towards you. Those 2 sections are extremely annoying and feels like a massive fuck you to those who are trying to get that trophy for not-hit run. Not good. Very very not good.
Overall - nice horror game and if you're missing out on some good horror which is not unity assets store repurchase - this game is for you!

Review from Steam

It's one of those games where you die and repeat the last 5-15 minutes depending on the situation. Also, it relies heavily upon the played out "hide and sneak" type of game play that has plagued the horror genre with copycats.
Skip it if either of these is of concern to you.

Review from Steam

This rather classy stealth-horror has an interesting mechanic: covering your mouth to stop yourself from coughing, from things such as dust particles floating in a basement or smoke wafting from a nearby fire. This is especially relevant in a game where all the enemies stalking you are blind! (You can also do fun stuff like ring hotel bells to attract enemies to specific areas; and you eventually get a nifty, limited-use item that also aids you on an aural level...)
Fittingly enough, the sound design and music in this game are truly excellent - no end of spooky creaks and dramatic melodic "stabs"! - as are the graphics, for that matter. The atmosphere, overall, is about as good as it gets, even if it never reaches the fever-pitch terror of a game like Outlast, for instance (this certainly isn't one of the "scarier" horror games on the market).
A slight flaw: your character frequently comes across items that could - and thereby probably should! - be picked up as weapons. Take the proliferation of pickaxes in a certain mine-like area, for instance...why not grab one, just to be safe? Presumably your character is some kind of stubborn pacifist; I just don't remember that being mentioned anywhere in the story! Oh well...
There's also a slight lack of manual save points (phonograms, 'natch) in some portions of the game, so be sure to save as often as possible, and be willing to go back and re-use save points whenever you're able (unless you're especially fond of repeating the last ten minutes or so of gameplay that you've already conquered)! Aside from that, this isn't a particularly hard stealth-horror game as the sub-genre goes - at least not on Normal difficulty, which is the only one I've braved thus far - so it may even be a decent place for newbies to find their feet. As someone who's beaten Alien: Isolation on "Nightmare" difficulty I won't lie and say this was a tremendous challenge...but it was a very worthwhile experience, with an interesting tale to tell, and its fair share of memorable "moments". (Those of us who enjoy exploring Resident Evil-style mansions should get an especially big buzz!)
Oh, and don't get too duped by all the guns you see in the trailers and screenshots: they're only in some reasonably fun "challenge" modes you can play, not the main storyline. But evidently a nice bonus, just the same, as is the fact that you can use your final Continue in the menu to backtrack slightly and get the good ending if you got the bad one the first time (or vice versa)!
Verdict: 9/10.
(PS If you enjoyed this review, feel free to check out my two Curator pages:
Cheers!)

Review from Steam

Overall it's short and fun but have it's pro and cons.
+ Music and sound design
+ Environment
+ 2 endings
+ Have a dog in the game and lets you save and pet her.
- The lighting is bit odd, its either too dark or very light.
- Gets bit repetitive or boring in certain parts.
Playtime ~ 3-4 hours