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.
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.
- 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