From Russian developer Lazy Bear Games, creator of Punch Club, comes a fabulous new sim game in line with the likes of Stardew Valley, with an eerie twist. In Graveyard Keeper you play as, well, the Keeper. Suddenly thrown into a medieval village, aptly called The Village, with no idea how to get home, your modern man is now left to run a graveyard and morgue without arousing suspicion from the villagers or the Inquisition. Perform autopsies and take necessary parts from the bodies delivered to your morgue by a donkey with an attitude, and bury, burn, or toss your… clients into the river. You can explore The Village, the woods, a swamp, and similar areas surrounding your abode to find crafting materials and meet NPCs who might want you to do something for them.
Now this title is not just like Stardew Valley. While it is enjoyable if you are a fan of that type of game, you can dislike farming sims and still adore Graveyard Keeper. It has a unique charm and wit that isn’t found in such games. Like the alcoholic talking skull that hangs in your morgue. There is also an interesting level of religious tone to it, but not in a way that would turn anyone off or necessarily offend anyone’s beliefs. It is the time of Inquisition, where anything magic related has been destroyed and you have to be careful about your true intentions of building a portal to lead you home. But, there is something much darker beneath your church involving a dungeon, some skulls, and a man called Snake.
One of my favorite aspects of Graveyard Keeper is the crafting system. I keep a notebook beside me and keep note of required materials so I don’t have to keep going back and forth to the specific crafting areas to double and triple check. There are multiple areas for crafting, from the graveyard to allow you to set up more graves, to your own yard to equip yourself with a carpenter table and stone cutter. The technology tree allows you to unlock new skills in crafting, writing, theology, and even autopsy. I have become obsessed with which ones I can unlock next, and the experience feels rewarding and exciting.
I currently have 35 hours on Steam, and that does not count the ridiculous amount of times I played through the alpha before the full game. I am not even close to finished, as I am busy trying to earn the coin to get the Bishop to allow me to hold sermons in my newly upgraded church. Caring for my garden and vineyard, selling bread and wine, working on a stone fence, and more is currently filling my hours. Endless gameplay paired with funny characters, an interesting story, and a unique world has made Graveyard Keeper a great title, and one to pick up if you are bored over the upcoming fall semester. Pick it up for $19.99 on Steam or Xbox One, and get to keepin’.