Graveyard Keeper

The Game

Graveyard Keeper developed by Lazy Bear Games and published by tinyBuild is an indie game that revolves around managing a graveyard (much like the title suggests). The game is comparable to Stardew Valley in many ways: the aesthetic, the fun characters, the crafting, combat to name few. Graveyard Keeper starts you off in a world you are unfamiliar with (you’ve come from present day) , it seems you are stuck in some sort of medieval fantasy world and you need to figure out how to return home to the present day. As it turns out you are the new keeper of the village’s local graveyard, after the previous one mysteriously disappeared. You are introduced to various characters in and around the village and their weekly schedules and quests (the game has 6 days with various events or NPC appearances being tied to each one).

Over time you develop and fix up the old graveyard and your house, you unlock farming, beekeeping, wine and beer making. As the graveyard gets nicer and filled with better “quality” people you will unlock the church which is where the game really takes off. You will be tasked with doing a weekly prayer, this will help you generate faith which leads to the most powerful unlocks in the game. Doing tasks and work generates points – there are three types of points – red (generated by wood/stone/metal work), green (generated by doing farming work) and blue (generated by researching things and high level item crafting). These 3 types of experience points are used to unlock things in the research trees, and there is quite a good amount of things to be unlocked.

Worth it?

The game is incredibly addictive. It has that typical element of “just one more day” or “just one more task” that keeps you on it for crazy amounts of time. What makes the game even more clever is the way the days work – often times quests will require you to do something that’s basically 5 days away, meaning that you have to wait almost an entire week to complete a phase in a quest (during that time you’re obviously doing other quests or tasks). This has the effect of keeping you super busy all the time, following NPCs schedules and working around having a corpse delivered to you every so often as well. The game’s aesthetic is well delivered and can be very eerie at times (especially when the fog roles in). It’s perfectly matched by the sound design of the game and some of the rather dark and funny humour.

Graveyard Keeper will generally set you back around £10, which at first may seem like quite a lot, but the game really offers quite a lot, it’s also cheaper than competitor Stardew Valley. If you can grab it while it’s on sale for around £5, then you’ve got yourself a steal; it’s worth noting the game is also free with PS Plus Extra. While the game’s ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered and there are 3 DLCs that attempt to answer those, each of the DLCs will set you back around £7-8 and add a variety of new stories and gameplay mechanics (like being able to make zombies to automate tasks). The game is highly addictive and will keep you hooked for a considerable amount of time – overall the story can take around 40 hours to complete, but that could easily stretch towards 50-60 depending on what you end up doing.

Tips

  • Get the teleport stone from the Dark Horse tavern as soon as you can afford it – it makes moving around the map so much easier
  • Try to only put high quality corpses in your graveyard, red skulls reduce the appeal of a grave
  • Focus on opening the church in the early game so you can unlock the weekly prayers – these will generate faith for you and unlock the church basement where you can do alchemy and craft new types of items
  • Meet Clotho to unlock the alchemy workbench and skill tree
  • For a perfect 12 skull corpse you will need to have unlocked and use the various embalming injections
  • Blood and fat always remove 1 red skull, organs will account for a random amount of red/white skulls in each body, flesh will always remove 1 white skull
  • The Quarry lets you set up a little base where you can mine iron, stone and marble for extended periods of time – just make sure you have enough materials to build the workstation and storage there
  • Save blood – there’s a late game quest (and speed potions) where you will need quite a lot of it
  • The dungeons save your progress – so if you’ve killed half the mobs on a floor and exit it, that will be saved when you return
  • Throwing bodies into the river is ok, but if you have a poor quality body you’re better off burning it as you still get the burial certificate
  • Once you unlock alchemy and the tier 2 bench get speed potions – but only take them after you’ve had a sauerkraut (as it increases the duration of buffs)
  • Gravestones and fences generate a lot of blue points when being researched
  • You can purchase books containing a specific number of red/green/blue points from the astrologer

Useful Links

The Sea of Death

The Game

The Sea of Death is an adventure puzzle game developed by HoitStudio. The game has a nice pixel graphic aesthetic and features a large variety of puzzles as you embark on a rather mysterious journey in which you attempt to figure out what exactly is going on in this world. You start the game out on a ship during a storm, but after a rather mysterious turn of events you wake up in a strange and dark world and begin trying to piece things together and to find your way out of there. The slightly dystopian world seems to focus on doing various menial jobs and talking to some rather strange people.

The core gameplay loop gets you completing various tasks for people in order to progress “up” in this unfamiliar place. You take on various jobs which involve solving puzzles, collecting items and talking to strangers. The puzzles are all quite different and unique (the game has over 50 different ones) – some of them will really challenge you. As the story develops you begin to learn more about this world and how it works, its social class system and hierarchy.

Worth it?

Overall the aesthetics of the game are quite appealing and it does a very good job of creating a dark and sombre atmosphere. The puzzles the game offers are quite unique and there is a good variety of them to keep you busy for a while. The dialogue is ok, can be improved in certain areas grammatically, but the story does really make you wonder what is going on and figuring out how you ended up where you did.

The full game will set you back around £3.99, which isn’t too bad given that it will give you unlimited actions to continue your adventure. Prior to that the only way to get more than your initial 500 actions is by watching videos (each one gets you 100 actions). For those of you who enjoy a good puzzle mystery game then this one is worth checking out. The game works for both shorter stints where you just do an odd quest, but is much more suited to a mid to long term session as it allows you to engross yourself much more in the story.

Tips

  • Pay attention to what people say or their roles – these will give you hints when someone else mentions them
  • Use and pen and paper – as some of the tests get more complex or involve you keeping track of numbers or even doing some calculations
  • Tap on the text get the entire dialogue to print out
  • If you’re really stuck – hints do help

Useful Links

Botworld Adventure

The Game

Botworld Adventure by Featherweight is an mobile open world RPG games focused around collecting, upgrading and battling various bots in a huge open world. There’s an overarching main quest line and various contracts (as the game calls daily quests). You can unlock new areas and zones by upgrading your boat, which serves as your home base. As you progress you will unlock power ups, gadgets and various other aspects that will enhance your combat abilities. The main story isn’t something unique or new by any means, but the size of the areas and the variety of quests make this quite a solid open-world RPG, especially considering it’s an Android game.

You will be able to choose the appearance and race of your character before you start. Then in a Pokémon-esque fashion will need to pick your started bot from three available. Then your adventure truly begins. You can upgrade your bots, they will also gain XP and level up which will allow you to pick skills that will enhance them even further. There’s different tiers of bots and different classes – each with it’s own stats and abilities. If you get tired of battling wild bots and bandits you can take your bots to the arena and take on other player’s teams.

At the start of each battle you choose your bots starting position – placing 3 of them in the fighting area. They will then proceed to fight on their own, using their abilities against the enemy bots. You will have access to some special abilities that you can use to influence the battle – these specials can buff your own bots or damage/inhibit enemy ones. The game also makes it look like there are other players wondering around – although these are likely just NPCs made to look like other players.

Worth it?

This game is big. It has a lot to offer, especially considering it’s a free Android game. The low poly graphics and aesthetics are quite appealing, Botworld is brilliantly colourful and vibrant. The world is well designed, lots of nice details and well thought out. There’s a slight downside to contracts (daily/mini quests) as they can take quite a few hours to reset, but you can watch and ad to do so faster. However, it must be noted that there are no in-game ads and there’s no obligation to watch ads or pay for premium versions (there’s a premium currency and you can purchase the Mayoral Membership, which gives you access to extra rewards for around £7.49).

Another way that the game limits you is through battery packs – each time you venture out into the world you will use one up (you have about 5 to start with) – these take time to recharge, although they can be rushed by watching ads. I haven’t found myself needing to watch one. Finding materials for your boat and specific ones for your bots is where the game starts to get a little harder. I found the boat materials quite hard to find and was usually going out on missions solely for that purpose.

Overall the game has a lot to offer and given it’s a free game it’s absolutely worth checking out. Sessions on the game can last anywhere from 10-15 mins to a couple hours, depending on how many batteries you have. The ads aren’t intrusive and there’s no need to spend any money to get the most out of the game. The game itself is quite big (~490MB) and after some time it does tend to get a bit repetitive in terms of quests and offering overall. The combat, the upgrades and the variety in bots gives the game a considerable amount of depth worth exploring, there are also plenty of regions and a long main story line. It has enough elements that will keep you coming back to it every day for a good few weeks minimum.

Tips

  • Remember to always collect the free materials from the shop (sometimes it’s worth buying the ones on sale as well)
  • Pick your fights – there are ways to run around wild bots/bandits so you don’t waste your bots on pointless fights if you have a set objective
  • To get the most out of each battery pack (traveling out into the world) keep fighting till you lose as there’s no penalty for that
  • Your recruits will use the bots you haven’t got equipped – so make sure to upgrade them as well
  • Place your weakest bot last so that your enemy can’t put more of their own bots near it
  • Use auto-battle if you are just grinding familiar enemies or wild bots, however be weary of auto-battle as it doesn’t always place your bots very well
  • Run over critters to capture them
  • You can exit the game at any time and it will continue where you left off

Useful Links

The Burnable Garbage Day

The Game

The Burnable Garbage Day by GameOn Co. Ltd is a casual mobile game with a powerful message and some really amazing graphics. The game is set in the distant future where you are a cleaning robot who has discovered that Earth has been covered in garbage, humanity has disappeared and nature is struggling. You quickly discover that some humans have been frozen away in settlements and you can help them rebuild society.

The core gameplay loop focuses around you tapping away the rubbish and completing quests for the various settlements you discover tucked away under all the garbage. Each city you unlock will come with a set of quests and its unique set of items that it produces. You are limited in the number of clicks you can do by your battery, which recharges over time, when you level up, clear an area or by using a battery pack. As you unlock more settlements you will have access to more items, which will in turn allow you to complete more quests. Completing quests will give you xp and level up the settlements. While it is a very simple and repetitive gameplay, it can be quite addictive as you unlock further regions, new settlements and upgrade yourself.

Worth it?

The game does have a bit of a gatcha side to it with the battery aspect, but you can find a lot of spare batteries during your adventures (or from quests), there are also some short ads whenever you level up (after level 10), but overall nothing too intrusive. There isn’t much to the game, but it’s nice and relaxing and something you can come back to for a few minutes every few hours. Town’s take around 5 minutes to reset their quests, once you unlock a few regions you can bounce between towns to get quite a longer session in. The story and the message of the game are quite relevant to the challenges we face as a species. The robot (you) is quite endearing and some of the dialogue with its voice assistant (Biri) can be quite amusing. It could be nice to have some sort of daily login reward or achievements. There are some minor text and translation errors, but they don’t detract from the overall experience.

Overall I’d definitely recommend it as a casual time-waster game, the ads are not intrusive, you can buy an ad-free version for £2.99, which is a great way to help out the developers. There are plenty of regions to unlock, each with its own set of challenges, resources and towns. It’s an aesthetically pleasing game with a great message, endearing and funny dialogue and story line, perfect for a quick session that will keep you coming back regularly.

Tips

  • Try and get the gold chests in each area as soon as you enter it
  • Once you encounter the vending machine it’s worth visiting it every time it appears to get more batteries
  • Many of the settlement upgrade quests are fairly easy to guess, if in doubt read the item descriptions – they are usually quite close to what the quest giver is asking for
  • The Dolphin in the tropic area needs Stone Axe to make him feel cool
  • The Octopus in the volcano area needs Honey Flavouring to help him calm down from his nightmares

Useful Links