It’s rare to come across a game that deals with the normally taboo subject of death in a mature and honest manner.
But that’s enough about A Mortician’s Tale. Graveyard Keeper, on the other hand, illustrates what might happen if you put The Chuckle Brothers in charge of a funeral home.
Within a few minutes of loading up this pixellated graveyard management sim, you’re being actively encouraged to hack flesh from a corpse so you can later sell it as sausage meat; sensitivity is definitely not on this mortuary’s menu.
But despite this rather gruesome start, Graveyard Keeper, from the makers of Punch Club, offers more legitimate ways of dealing with the dead as you strive to build your medieval body burying business. You can repair existing graves, wander into dungeons to retrieve potentially useful items and even grow your own garden.
At this point, you might be thinking.. “Hang on, this sounds a lot like Stardew Valley!” and you’d be right. Graveyard Keeper owes more than a little to the ludicrously popular farming sim. You can even go fishing though I’m hoping that the full game doesn’t step too far away from the core graveyard managing mechanic. I certainly found just pottering around repairing graves and crafting materials to cope with new arrivals to be strangely absorbing.
Stiff Upper Lip
That said, work didn’t really pile up while I was playing the game. There’s the possibility that, playing the full game, you’ll find yourself with more corpses than you can handle. Bodies can get a bit whiffy, slowly decomposing after they’ve been deposited outside your mortuary. The trailer shows your character pitching a corpse into a river, presumably as an attempt to cope with this overflow, so there’s plenty of potential for unethical behaviour. While I’d clearly never, ever, indulge in such behaviour (honest), I’m curious to see whether shady work practices pay off in the final game. And, indeed, if there’s any danger of being discovered.
Developer LazyBear Games boasts that Graveyard Keeper is “the most inaccurate medieval cemetery management sim of all time” and while that’s not exactly a crowded field, it’s definitely piqued my interest. You can dig up Graveyard Keeper when it hits Steam on 15th August.