I’ve just spent about 50 hours to complete this game. It was fun, and I’m not even “done” yet. Graveyard keeper can be best described as Stardew Valley with zombies. In many ways it plays quite similar, but in many ways it’s quite different. Your main focus isn’t growing crops to sell, but you can still do so if you need money for other things.
Hark, you died
You’re run over and find yourself in a medieval realm. A strange place, and somehow you’re appointed the keeper of the graveyard. While your main thought is for your girlfriend still back at home, you’re slowly coming to terms with your new job. Burying corpses. Not as glamorous as it would seem, and it’s a bloody business indeed. Your futuristic knowledge helps you to build and learn new technologies with which to impress the locals.
Eventually you hope to learn what happened to the previous graveyard keeper, and how you might find a way back home.
Getting rid of the evidence
Plenty is the supply of dead people. Either from the nearby village, or the larger town down south. A lonely graveyard keeper needs to earn a living somehow, and meat is meat. The locals will never know – or are grimly aware of the quality of the food you are willing to sell.
Indeed, no corpse is sacred in this game. Drain the blood for science, cut off the meat for food and the skin to make into paper. A good corpse is a wealthy supply of resources. If you botch up the quality, you can bury it in your own graveyard, cremate the leftovers or ditch it in the river.
Sacred or, not so much
Your graveyard has a certain level of quality, which is determined by the quality of the corpses you bury in it. As they say – die young, leave a pretty corpse. A wooden stick is less fancy than a marble statue or headstone. Once you learn how to craft stone and marble, or place a few flower beds and lanterns the quality of your graveyard will improve. This ensures the people who visit your church will donate more money.
Yes, capitalism ho! Graveyard keeper is a capitalist game down to it’s core. I’d sell anything I could get my hands on – sadly the game does limit you in this. The NPCs in the nearby town are not too willing to buy your creations, and they have a limited budget to spend even if they do. Luckily you can get a merchant to help you start a business.
Resources are free, labor is not
You will quickly gain access to an axe, shovel and pick – and from there on out the world is your oyster. (Almost) Any tree is free to be chopped down and converted in a number of ways. Boards, beams, sticks, kindling, you name it – nothing is left. Stones are next and there’s a lot you can do with them as a graveyard keeper. Headstones obviously, but also a furnace or fixing the fence. Metal is available in these hills, and you’ll soon be making yourself better tools and even weapons.
Every action takes energy however, and eventually you will run out. Time for bed. The game runs on a 6 day week cycle and keeps this running throughout the game. Certain NPCs will only show up on a certain day of the week. This is noted in your “known NPCs” log, as well as what current objectives they may have mentioned to you.
The quest system in Graveyard keeper – is somewhat of a weak point I feel. There’s a lot of waiting and idling going on here, but you’ve always got something to do, so it’s not as big of an issue.
If you find yourself running out of energy a lot, there’s berries, apples, and food you can cook to help you keep your energy up. A good farmer will have quality produce, and you will certainly be able to sell your graveyard vegetables through your trade emporium later on.
Learning new Technology
Every action you do in regards to crafting or research will yield you one of three types of tech points. Red, Green and Blue. The red is related to physical labor, the green relates to nature and the way of things, blue is spiritual. As you perform actions or research your points go up – but eventually you’ll want to invest some in learning new technology. Working stones, improving your surgical skills and prettier headstones or church improvements.
The church of the risen dead
As your graveyard grows, so should your church. Spirit or faith is a resource you will need to craft higher quality items later as well as… Zombies! Free labor was never a diligent or fast worker, but at least they’re free. And the leader of a capitalist empire, you just can’t beat free.
Your zombies will be able to work at growing crops, mining and even crafting. So you won’t have to! They’re slow, but they work while you sleep and dream of other things, and never complain. Zombie beer, zombie wine, zombie veggies. Free labor is cost effective labor. Like slaves who will never disagree with you.
What about those DLC?
Well, the base game was released on steam 15 Aug, 2018. Since then there’s been two DLC made available:
Each DLC adds and expands upon the base game. Adding vampires, your own tavern to run, and cultists. They don’t “add” to the game at the end but rather somewhere in the middle. The base game has a good few hours worth of content, but not much replay value. So if you find out you enjoy the base game by the time you’ve got 10 hours into it – you may want to consider getting one or two of the DLC packages. They’re well worth it if you’re halfway into the game – but might not be as fun or interesting if you’ve already finished the game.
System requirements: Windows 7, intel core i5, 1.5Ghz and up, DirectX 10 and 1 GB video card, 1 GB Disk space.