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Sker Ritual review – One for Call of Duty Zombies fans

Sker Ritual review header
Image: Wales Interactive

If you’re a horror game fan, you might be familiar with of Maid of Sker, developed and published by Wales Interactive in 2020. We weren’t that impressed by it, unfortunately, but it was improved after launch, with an enhanced edition making its way to PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Part of the enhanced edition was a range of new challenges that introduced combat to the game, and they no doubt laid for foundations for Sker Ritual, a multiplayer co-op first-person shooter spin-off firmly targeted at those fond of Call of Duty’s Zombie-based offerings.

Jump into Sker Ritual and you’ll find that it has four maps for players to make their way through, each one essentially a mini campaign. Playing alone or with up to three other players online, you’ll start with just a pistol, and as you kill the waves of enemies thrown at you, you can purchase new weapons, upgrade the ones you own, and buy a wealth of other upgrades that may help you survive the upcoming onslaught. And that’s all on top of perks that you acquire by levelling up, offering a range of bonuses and changing the characteristics of both your ultimate and grenade attacks.

As you’d expect, the waves of enemies get more fearsome as you progress. Initially you’ll just have basic Quiet Ones coming after your blood, equipped with sacks over their heads and melee weapons in their hands. But before you know it, you’ve got more advanced enemy types flinging fire and electricity your way, as well as grotesque hags, invisible assailants and more. To make matters even worse, elite enemies are thrown at you every now and again, too, taking considerable firepower to take down.

Sker Ritual Review 1
Image: Wales Interactive

Your goal in each one of Sker Ritual’s maps isn’t just to see how many waves of enemies you can survive, however. Instead, each one has a number of story missions for you to complete, adding yet more challenge. In between combatting waves of enemies you might need to find and charge numerous coils, for example. These missions are rather varied and force you to explore each map, using money earned by defeating enemies to open up doors.

Progress in Sker Ritual is a balancing act, then. You can rush to open up doors if you wish, but that might leave you with a basic weapon that’s not all that effective when you encounter a powerful enemy. And if you focus too much on defeating waves of enemies, you’ll gain lots of cash but may find it harder to complete missions dues to the sheer number and increased power of enemies thrown at you at higher wave levels.

Thankfully, win or lose, Sker Ritual is a blast to play, with solid shooting mechanics and plenty of variety. You’ll also gain blood droplets for your efforts, which allow you to power up perks you can easily acquire when playing, boosting your max health, rate of fire and more. Add in multiple difficulty levels, and you have a game that is always challenging, but can be made enjoyable for those of all skill levels.

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Image: Wales Interactive

It’s not an experience that’s free of issues, however. Playing on PS5 for review, for example, when the action gets absolutely hectic there’s some noticeable slowdown even when playing using the Performance setting. Players might also encounter some balancing problems at times, especially when playing alone or with an incomplete party. There’s the occasional bug, too. We had one player pass through a wall upon death, preventing other players from reviving them. And upon completing the last map, the game crashed after the credits had rolled.

These issues don’t spoil Sker Ritual too much though. And for those who enjoy the frantic action that the game offers there’s plenty to do. Beyond the primary story missions, each map has a secret objective to complete which will truly test the skills of those playing. There are also a wealth of rewards to unlock across four ‘Sker Passes’, lots of collectable documents to locate, and rewards for overcoming the game’s toughest difficulty levels.

Sker Ritual isn’t perfect, then, but for co-op shooter fans, especially those who have dug the Zombie modes in Call of Duty titles in the past, there’s a hell of a lot to like. There’s impressive enemy variety, each map very much has its own theme and unique quirks, and mechanically it’s very rewarding. It’s just a shame that it can feel a little too overwhelming at times, and that there are some technical issues to iron out.

This review of Sker Ritual is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

Sker Ritual review - GameSpew's score

Sker Ritual
7 10 0 1
This Maid of Sker spin-off goes all-in on intense co-op action, and fans of the Zombies mode in Call of Duty are likely to lap it up. It's just a shame that Sker Ritual can be a little too overwhelming at times, and that it has some unfortunate technical issues that mar its performance.
This Maid of Sker spin-off goes all-in on intense co-op action, and fans of the Zombies mode in Call of Duty are likely to lap it up. It's just a shame that Sker Ritual can be a little too overwhelming at times, and that it has some unfortunate technical issues that mar its performance.
7/10
Total Score

We like...

  • Intense co-op action
  • Good enemy variety
  • Each map very much has its own theme and quirks

We don't like...

  • Some performance issues
  • Doesn't always feel well balanced
  • You might encounter the odd bug
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!