Sker Ritual – PC Review

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I’m checking out the new game from Wales Interactive called Sker Ritual. The name might ring some bells as they did have a previous horror game as well called Maid of Sker. Although, that entry was a single-player horror experience. Their new game, however, takes a rather bold direction by switching to a round-based zombie shooter similar to Call of Duty Zombies. 

You and up to three friends can fight waves together as Sker Ritual is available now on Steam for £19.99. The game is still in early access, but its full 1.0 release will be on the 18th of this month. There’s a demo also available for the game for those looking to try before you buy.

Nôl i mi eu heneidiau!

From the Steam page, the Sker Ritual takes place after the events of Maid of Sker. The story primarily will appear through dialogue, notes and finishing the level’s easter eggs. I did enjoy the first game, and this one looks just as good, even though I am sceptical about the drastic gameplay change.

This is one of the menu backgrounds the player can earn. The players get displayed on make shift crosses. In this menu background in particular there is a gentlemen eerily staring at the player.
I like that you can get different menu styles.


The game allows you to play solo, privately with friends, and online with other players. Before you head into a map, the player can select from five difficulties, with Beginner being the easiest and nightmare the hardest. Here’s where the fun begins. Similar to what you would find in CoD Zombies (there are plenty of similarities found in Sker Ritual), you will start in a small room with nothing but a pistol. There are some weapons to purchase nearby, like a rifle and pistol, but nothing too wild. 

an image of the map selection screen. On the left hand side are the four map titles with the Sewers of the dead currently highlighted. The main picture shows a man with a small mustache and bowler hat. His eyes are glowing pinkish purple. On the sides of him are tow other images, the left is green and has faceless people and the right is blue with a train. The smoke of the trains spout has taken the form of a skull.
There is only four maps to start.

One thing I found interesting was a shield and sword that allowed me to lower or increase the difficulty of the game. I thought this was a nice touch, just in case you play with someone who isn’t used to FPS games. You can play Sker Ritual in two ways: complete the objectives and beat the level, or survive and have fun while looking for hidden secrets. 

“Perks” of the game

Sker Ritual also uses perks that work in the same way as CoD. They provide buffs that will help your chances of survival. For example, here’s a list of the five perks and what they do; 

  • Elixir of Life – Health increase (Juggernog)
  • Stallion Juice – Increase movement speed (Stamin-Up)
  • Life Token – Self-revive with all perks (Quick Revive/Tombstone)
  • Swift Death – Increase rate of fire
  • Fast Hands – Faster reloading (Speed Cola)
  • Shock N Load – Electrical burst when reloading (Electric Cherry/Electric Burst)

Another great thing about these perks is when the match has ended. You will earn upgrade points called Blodwin. Using the Blodwin will improve the effects of the selected perks, such as more damage from the shock effect and up to 30% more reloading speed. I haven’t played the last few CoD games, but I don’t recall being able to upgrade perks, so I feel this was a fun idea.

The perk menu found in the game. The item on the table glowing red is a syringe that the player uses. Below is the upgrade list and how many upgrade points I have. I have purchased two of the five upgrades for the perk "Elixer of Life.
Hope they add more perks.

Miracles & Pick-ups

Now, the main part of Sker Ritual’s gameplay is killing waves of creatures that progressively get harder. What’s new is after finishing a wave, the game will award a Miracle. These offer different effects so that things like your grenade and knife don’t become redundant. For example, knives are able to stun and give the player an ultimate skill. If you want to see all the Miracles in the game, then you can check them out in the main menu and plan ahead. 

A gif of me running to the side while reloading my gun. The area is mainly tinted purple and there is a enemy firing a ball of fire at me.
Just here surviving.

While fighting the hordes, they may occasionally drop pick-ups. They are mainly the same as the ones in Cod, apart from one called SafeGuard. SafeGuard gives you more defence, which is helpful when running from large groups. Some of the other pick-ups you might know are;

  • Scythe – Instakill
  • (£) – Firesale but halves the price of everything.
  • Ammo box – Max Ammo
  • Triple Points – Double Points

Finishing Objectives.

In Sker Ritual, you can try to survive for as long as possible or finish tasks to unlock some of the story. The task will usually be puzzles that you and your friends must do. Some of these tasks may have the player escort a lamb to a zone, while others will be to find combinations to locks. While doing some task, a random event might occur, like destroying a machine that will spawn powerful foes. If that wasn’t a burden, sometimes a boss will hunt you down like the character Abraham (If you’ve played Maid of Sker, you will know him).

I am currently fighting the boss of the level called Abraham. you can see a lot of pink sparks around me. The bar up the top displays his health and what round i'm on.
He kinda looks like Mr. X from Resident Evil.

Although he isn’t dangerous, he is a bullet sponge, and this can be tedious to deal with when you already have a horde on you. If you do manage to deal with all that and complete your task, you will face off against the boss and unlock the door, ending the level. You don’t have to end the level and can leave the area to continue looking for Easter Eggs and other secrets.

Graphics & Audio

What Sker Ritual lacks in detailed textures, it makes up for in design. Admittedly, the cinematics are blurry, and the character model animations look slightly awkward and robotic. Despite this, I love the designs of the in-game customisations and feel it’s where it shines the most. The masks are unique, eerie and some excellent nods to the previous entry. The voice lines are equally brilliant, varying from funny to creepy. You can even customise the menu background and even the menu music.

I have used a gif to show off some of the masks the player can earn in the game. Two of them are from the previous game and are called Isaac and Abraham.
There are 75 mask in total, but only ten are DLC.

The menu backgrounds have a nice selection of dark and lightly gory scenes, ranging from a morgue to the Hotel Sker. Being Welsh myself, I loved that Ych a Fi! is an unlockable voice line and how a classic Welsh song, Calon Lân, is an option for menu music. I also enjoy the artwork used for the Miracles, such as the spirit Cyhyraeth.

One of the patrons who give a Miracle to the player and what they do. This patron is the spirit of death in Welsh Folklore Cyhraeth.
Love the art for these patrons.


Like any multiplayer game, the longevity is down to the individual. The Sker Passes the game offers give you something to work towards while you hunt for notes and secrets to expand the story further. They could add daily challenges on launch to better increase the longevity.

The Thumb Culture Teams Thoughts

Sker ritual took me by surprise. I would have never expected a spin-off of 2020s “Maid Of Sker” to near-perfectly fill that Call of Duty zombie-shaped hole in my heart. It unmistakably draws inspiration from the Call of Duty zombies mode. So much so that I think saying “inspired” may be too light a word. But, you can crouch at perk machines to get points in call of duty zombies and you can’t in Sker Ritual, so they’re totally entirely different. Saying that, the game is closer to “Black Ops Cold War” zombies through its Easter egg system and progression alike.

Sker ritual still manages to evoke that feeling of playing black ops 1-3 through its maps. Easter egg steps have a fun balance of nudging you in the right direction and providing satisfying puzzle-solving challenges. I love that players can turn off HUD for the true Easter egg experience.

Sker Ritual’s multiplayer aspect disappoints, with constant disconnects and hitbox issues detracting from an otherwise enjoyable experience. Even with that I still adored the single-player portion of the game. It lacks the polish of most mainstream shooters, but it’s still undoubtedly fun and is a worthy contender that scratches that familiar itch.

Sker Ritual was a bit of a shock, from the team that has recently been synonymous with FMV games, comes a wave shooter akin to Call of Duty Zombies! To say i was pleasantly shocked would be an understatement. With solid gunplay, a story to follow through and a giant Abraham Lincoln-esque monster, the game impressed.

As a big fan of zombies, I know to always keep moving, but on a number of occasions, I was pinned by a group who ended up downing me. Only to come back at the beginning of the next round. Overall the game was a great joy to play. There were some frustrations when playing multiplayer, but I am happy to pass these off as early access issues. It’s definitely a game I will return to often.

Final Thoughts

I’m really impressed with what I’ve already played of Sker Ritual. The gameplay feels great, taking some of the best parts of CoD zombies and also adding a bit of originality to it. I am a bit gutted that the game only has four maps, but at least they are solid to play. The game could do with a few more weapons as well, and maybe lowering the cost to upgrade guns because the price is way too high. The fact that doing objectives to finish a map is a choice was a big plus for me since I did enjoy having something to work on. 

While playing with the TC crew, we had a few issues with connection while playing Sker Ritual and would get kicked out abruptly. I hope this does get fixed when the game fully releases on April 18th.  

I was worried when seeing the Sker Passes as I thought that I had missed some past content. Luckily enough, this wasn’t the case, and they were just different reward trees. Similar to Halo’s cosmetics, where you play and earn them at your own pace. In the end, the game is excellent, and I feel this can become bigger than the actual CoD Zombies, especially if the team keeps updating the game with new maps, perks and weapons. I feel that Sker Ritual deserves the Thumb Culture Gold Award.


Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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