July 3, 2022

Graveyard Keeper Preview

Lazy Bear Games wants to give players the chance to manage their own graveyard and cause all kinds of mischievous havoc in its new game Graveyard Keeper.

Graveyard Keeper is the most inaccurate medieval cemetery management sim of the year. Build & manage your own graveyard while finding shortcuts to cut costs, expand into entertainment with witch-burning festivals, and scare nearby villagers into attending church. This is a game of capitalism and doing whatever it takes to build a thriving business. Face ethical dilemmas. Do you really want to spend money on that proper hotdog meat for the festival when you have so many resources lying around? Gather valuable resources & craft new items. Expand your Graveyard into a thriving business, go ahead and gather valuable resources scattered in the surrounding areas, and explore what this land has to offer.

Make business alliances. These dead bodies don’t need all that blood, do they? Why not sell it to someone who can put it to good use. Same for body parts. Hey, it’s being efficient with recycling!
Explore mysterious dungeons. No medieval game would be complete without these. Take a trip into the unknown and find useful new ingredients which may or may not poison a whole bunch of nearby villagers. Capitalism.

After playing this game it’s easy to make comparisons to other village management sims like Stardew Valley with neighbouring towns and a villager relationship system which can provide extra quests. There are some subtle differences though, as unlike the villagers of Stardew, from the first moment, we realize that something strange happens in this town… and that the needs of its inhabitants are much more mature, even obscure.

You play as the caretaker of a small village cemetery, and you’re tasked with managing the inflow of the dead. This isn’t the main goal, however, as with games like the aforementioned Stardew Valley; your true goal is to make a living and help grow your village. Capitalism!

So you will find you do plenty more than drag bodies around, because although the game is touted as being an inaccurate cemetery sim, it has a lot more management gameplay hidden underneath. Graveyard Keeper is also about doing whatever it takes to build a thriving business and you may have to bend a few rules to keep yourself in the black.

Yes, you have graves to dig and maintain but you’ve also got crops to collect, gear to craft and dungeons to explore. As well as burying bodies, you can also autopsy them to harvest various pieces and put them to a more productive use (this is where the more mature and obscure resident needs come in). Also because your cemetery is technically holy ground, you can find work in the clergy swindling tithes and spreading rumors.

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Selling and buying things from a character helps them to evolve and become richer. This, in turn, allows the city to thrive and evolve which attracts more people to the town and also your church. You can also increase profits from the village by giving a sermon about how important small businesses are.

Lazy Bear Games have done a great job with the pixel art graphics and sound design, bringing back the nostalgia of 90’s era games but looking fresh and new at the same time due to its lighting effects. Graveyard Keeper is up there with the best of them when it comes to nostalgia inducing fun.

Graveyard Keeper is a fun game overall. It’s bright and gloomy in the best ways possible. It has obvious comparisons to other games in it’s genre but manages to handle itself well and has enough to distinguish itself from these. The Alpha is naturally buggy at times and I did experience a crash causing a wipe of my save file but the game plays wonderfully despite this. 

If you have a dark sense of humour and a love for village sims the this is one to watch.

Graveyard Keeper releases on the 15th August on Xbox One and PC.

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