Maid Of Sker Review – Fumbling In The Dark

Maid of Sker begins in earnest as you walk under a burgundy banner advertising the Sker Hotel’s grand reopening. The ivy-covered building looks more castle than inn, with gray stone walls and a central spire flanked by turrets. It’s an imposing piece of architecture, starkly distinct from the sun-bleached wilderness that surrounds it. Passing under that banner and into the dark and secluded inn is the playable version of that moment in a horror flick when things in idyllic suburbia go sideways, or when a shark shows up to wreck a perfectly nice day at the beach. The banner is the dividing line between Maid of Sker’s “before” and “after.” Unfortunately, much of the evocative promise of the before disappears the moment you enter the after.

We move through this story as Thomas Evans, a composer who has traveled to Sker Point, a rocky peninsula on the southern coast of Wales, to rescue his lover Elisabeth. She grew up here, the daughter of renowned singer Prudence Williams–the titular Maid of Sker. Her father, owner of the reopening hotel on the Point, intends for Elisabeth to take up the mantle now that her famous mother has passed and to become the star attraction, drawing visitors to the isolated land. She tells Thomas that she has refused and that, as a result, her father has locked her up until she acquiesces.

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But as Thomas arrives at Sker’s abandoned train station, it becomes clear that Sker Point has descended into supernatural chaos. Elisabeth has sent Thomas her mother’s locket and asked him to compose a song that serves as a musical counterpart to the melody within. This will, in some way that remains unclear for much of the game, help defeat the “darkness gathering here.” In his quest, Thomas needs to explore the hotel and surrounding grounds to collect four brass cylinders scattered throughout, then plug them into her father’s harmonium, a massive pipe organ that dominates the hotel’s central hall.

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