Graveyard Keeper Reviews

AuthorReview
HateMe4141
1,064,076 (620,487)
HateMe4141
TA Score for this game: 3,300
Posted on 17 August 18 at 17:03
This review has 22 positive votes and 4 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Welcome to Graveyard Keeper, the edgy, much cooler, cousin of Stardew Valley developed by Lazy Bear Games and published by tinyBuildGAMES. In this eerie management sandbox you will take control of the Graveyard Keeper, an unnamed protagonist who is transported to this dark and gloomy world after a traffic accident. You are quickly introduced to your new best friend, the skeletal head of Gerry, who will help you out in getting started in your new morbid profession. After getting a lay of the land you will be introduced to comrade donkey, the capitalist hating, body transporter who will bring you fresh corpses regularly.

In the beginning it can feel a bit overwhelming as the game does not make it a point to hold your hand. You are given general suggestions and left to your own devices to make it happen. You will start by performing autopsies on the recently deceased to extract useful items from their corpses. Things like bones, blood, and meat to sell or even eat yourself. Then you must transport the body to the graveyard, dig a plot, and bury the surgically mangled corpse to collect the burial certificate. This can be sold at the tavern and is one of the only means of making money in the early game.

After a bit of renovating in the graveyard, you are informed that you are also the caretaker of the church, also in charge of giving the sermon each week. This is not as daunting as it sounds and, in fact, is a great way to make money. Unlocking the church also unlocks access to the alchemy portion of the game that is located in the church cellar. The underground tunnels below the church also connect to the morgue and your house, and after a bit of repair work, provides a shortcut into town.

In the early game, you will spend a lot of your time cutting down trees and mining stone in order to build the means of greater production. When performing these actions, you will be rewarded with experience that fall into either red, green, or blue categories. You will use these colored orbs to upgrade your skills and perks in the technology tab of the menu. This will unlock new blueprints for items and work stations as well as grant the ability to work with new items in the environment.

While there is a combat system in the game, it is seldom used. Aside from the odd slime or bat in the overworld, you will not encounter much combat until you unlock the dungeon, also located in the tunnels beneath the church. There are 15 levels to this dungeon with enemies that progressively harder as you delve deeper. While the combat mechanics are executed well enough, you will not be using them that often and it feels more like a footnote than an actual part of the game.

A majority of your time will be spent working all day gathering supplies from the surrounding area to bring back to your front yard and construct components for other crafts and items, then retiring to your home to sleep in your bed to regain energy and any health you have lost. This is also how to save your game and advance large chunks of time.

The game has a multitude of characters and often they provide quests the progress the story and unlock new sections of the game. Often, these characters only come on specific day of the 6-day week. You can keep track of who you’ve met and what day they come to town by looking at the tab in the menu. The day they appear will be listed above their head as the orb that corresponds with the day of the week. The days of the week are listed in the top left of the screen as well as the amount of time left in the day and night cycle.

Overall, this is my favorite game of the summer. It is simplistic in design and complex enough to get sucked in for hours at a time. The music is creepy and bouncy, like the perfect Halloween song you’ve never heard. The visuals are just as convincing, with rolling waves of fog, rain storms, and all around dark atmosphere of death that even during the daytime feel gloomy. I have thoroughly enjoyed all my time spent with this game and would recommend it to anyone looking for a low stress virtual escape.

This game receives a 4.5/5 from me. The only downside is a few cosmetic bugs as well as a few game breaking bugs that have been promised a fix by the developers.
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Hazar Khall
555,674 (345,766)
Hazar Khall
TA Score for this game: 3,300
Posted on 11 August 19 at 10:49, Edited on 11 August 19 at 11:37
This review has 2 positive votes and 1 negative vote. Please log in to vote.
Tending to your garden, going into a dungeon, fishing, crafting... embalming organs? Both a talking skull, AND a talking donkey???

Hello, and welcome to my review of the game Graveyard Keeper.
Graveyard is a recourse/space/time management game, along the lines of Harvest moon and Stardew Valley, with a few new twists on its own.

A game done in a style and genre, at its time being done quite a bit, to be followed up by Gleaner Heights? How IS it to manage a graveyard, why are we there, and why is there always a dungeon?!? Well lets find out.

STORY
In this pixelish adventure, you take on the role of an unnamed man. Its left *slightly* open ended exactly what is happening, if you are in a land of magic, dream, coma, of what. A car crash is referenced, leading us to understand you are from the modern world, but that only brings up MORE questions of whats going on. However, one things for certain, you have a wife, you have a life, and you very much want to be there and not in front of a broken down farm/workshop.

Taking over as the local graveyard keeper/ sermon holder, the player is tasked with learning about the town they find themselves just outside of, the "dark secret" that seems to be looming over, WHY they are here, and just how the townsfolk can help you, and you them, as you discover that everybody has their own problems, secrets, and dark pasts they are trying to run or atone for.
You do this with Gerry, the talking skull and your initial guide.

Done in a small farm just on the outskirts of town, with a tiered dungeon directly underneath the church you tend to, you find that everyones lives are interconnected, somehow, and that you aren't the only person with secrets.

CONTROLS / GAME PLAY
The control setup seems to be much the same of Stardew or Gleaner. As you move with one stick, interact with the A button, and need to get comfortable with the town/game routine (My time at Portia, Escapists, Stardew) players should feel right at home with the layout.

The game takes place in a setting with a 6 day week. There are 5 unique NPCs whom you need to learn the story of and help, each of who show up once a week with a single task/item/request to finish.
While you don't have a time limit on tasks per say, the story doesn't progress until you complete a quest in a chain, and as everyone is tied together, you'll eventually hit a wall until you shift your focus to someone else.

The sixth day out of the week is for holding sermons at the church just outside of your house, initially your main source of income (Yes, PAST the farm, what a twist).

You have a basic "Tech tree", with experience you gain as you complete tasks, red orbs for things done usually physically, like combat and crafting wood items, green orbs for farming and gathering, with blue orbs for special or difficult tasks, such as creating skill books.
Orbs in this manor are not only used for unlocking new items and abilities, but also as the currency for certain items, thus adding to the management part of the game.
*Though the tech tree is somewhat extensive per say, much of it is just opening up things you can craft, so you can craft OTHER items, ultimately offering less variety of things to make that weren't directly tied to either combat/crafting/story. Its obvious here you tend a graveyard, not say a workshop where you can decorate like My time at Portia.

As said above, Gerry the talking skull guides you as you start out, offering useful advice and sass as you go about your tasks.

Much like the games it takes reference from, you farm, mine, chop wood, craft things, sell them, all that good jazz, with the fish and the foraging and fetch quests, story quests dungeons, mystery and ultimately closure.
As stated and shown many times though, you also tend a Graveyard. You ALSO appear to be an amateur alchemist/embalmer, with as much ease as woodsman, farmer, or smelter. Mind you NONE of the tasks are things your unnamed protagonist is known for.

A donkey, whom has the ability to talk, and finds it odd that YOU find its talking odd, delivers bodies to you regularly. Initially free, after a set time costing 10 carrots (easily obtained its just annoying to forget honestly) The game tasks you with quickly obtaining the delivered bodies and burying them in the church cemetery.
Bodies come with organs that have stats of a kind, a sort of plus or minus for if the organ in question is "pure". Initially you don't have the tools to identify organ "quality", and must take what you can get, later on embalming, removing organs and fat, even cremating undesirable bodies, all to raise the rating/popularity (and this, pure cash income).

As can be expected with crafting and material working, many of the items you can make are tiered and thiu tied to the story, though many times you have more than one way to go about getting things.
Don't want to mine, AGAIN, to get iron? Well, if you've cycled your quests equally, you should, per the example, have access to the dungeon, again located under the church (it being like the mine in Stardew) and can obtain iron nails, bars and plates. Sound unappealing at the moment? Fish for a bit, craft some furniture, sell it and BUY what you need.

GRAPHICS / SOUND
The game looks like a higher resolution version of Stardew Valley. It is slightly less pixelated and boxy in that aspect.
The game has a very laid back soundtrack to it, with is usually more just ambient noise or gentle nature than it is a rocking tune.
Text is written as opposed to spoken, and you can expect special noises upon getting hit, getting a resource, doing tasks, but other than that, for how dark the setting really was, the music in the game rarely got too eerie, the dungeon being an obvious exception to that.

DIFFICULTY
4-5 out of 10, though get ready for the breakdown;

ANY management style sim you play will be hard until you learn the routine, how to optimize gathering resources, and how to get their version of unique or rare items, and Graveyard Keeper is no different. It WOULD sit at around a 5-6...
...However, NPC affection does not degrade over time, your body/resource/money scramble only lasts initially, afterward you can focus on one task, and as stated before, any task given to you has the time limit of when you CAN turn it in, based on the NPCs unique day, but otherwise, no penalty for holding out.

As the game also gets easier and more convenient as you go on, even the required higher tiered items become easy to obtain in comparison. Initial 5-6 if you are new to games like this, 4-5 if you aren't but you pick it up, 3-4 if you are coming from Stardew directly.

SCORE / COMPLETION
This game was a lot of fun, and it was defiantly a twist on the farming/crafting/management sims that came before it. It brought a few new things to the table.
The in game achievements are either tied to the story, to a grind (drink 50 health potions) that can be tied WITH the story (potions + dungeon runs), or luck, but outside of that and the occasional wiki lookup, none are really miss able.

On top of that, the more forgiving game play stopped me from feeling rushed that often. It was only initially difficult, with many of the "problems" coming after that just being a headache (forget to get an item before an npc shows up, have to go directly back to gathering after wiping out your stocks, the usual)

However, the game offers little in the way of replay value, as events always happen in the same order with the same solution. As stated above, your crafting abilities are also usually tied to the story in some way, so you have little in the way of design sense, opting instead to go straight for the tasks presented.
I will note, though, that even with a little less fluff, you are still looking at a game taking 70-100 hours. The difficulty then just becomes a test of endurance over actual skill. The 100% is possible but there are NO shortcuts to getting to the end.

Ultimately I feel the game deserves 4 stars. If it had more replay value, a little more crafting variety, or grinds in certain areas just to HAVE grinds there, it could be higher.
Its a great addition to its genre of games, that aside, and not only does it appeal to those who like Harvest Moon, Stardew and the like, but is different enough to appeal to those like the above, but who wanted to opt out of so much farming.
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