Graveyard Keeper isn’t a new game. It’s been around for five years, in fact. But if you’ve somehow missed it so far, now’s the time to jump in.
Thanks to the new Last Journey Edition, now available on PS4 and Xbox One, there’s never been a better time to pick up this delightfully far-fetched cemetery management game. Graveyard Keeper: Last Journey Edition bundles in all existing DLC for the game: that’s Breaking Dead, Stranger Sins, Game of Crone and the brand new Better Save Soul expansion.
Calling Graveyard Keeper a cemetery management game, though, is a bit misleading. Sure, running a cemetery is part of it. But there’s a surprising amount of content in this delightfully macabre pixelated adventure. When bodies arrive at your door, you can choose to bury them – but you can also harvest them for parts. As long as you can forge a stamp of authenticity, that flesh will make good meat. And as for all the bones and blood? Eh, you might find a use for them, too.
There’s also farming to be done – because what’s a management sim without a bit of farming? – and a town to explore, with plenty of weird and wonderful characters to meet. People you talk to may well have tasks for you to do – and you may or may not end up getting indoctrinated into a weird sacrificial cult. Oh, and there’s a talking skull who lives in your mortuary. It’s safe to say Graveyard Keeper isn’t your run of the mill sandbox simulator.
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As off-the-wall as it may be, though, we’re still getting a huge kick in getting stuck into the nitty-gritty of the game. Sprucing up our graveyard and repairing broken gravestones is hugely satisfying, as is exploring the far reaches of the village. There are enemies to take down, resources to be mined, and plenty more still to be discovered.
In our original review, we called Graveyard Keeper “Stardew Valley of the Dead” and, honestly, that’s a fitting description. If you get a kick out of the type of busywork that Stardew Valley throws at you, you’ll love this. Particularly if you’re a fan of a bit of gore and dark humour, and the idea of exhuming a pixelated corpse doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies. But don’t worry, it’s all above board: you can’t go digging up corpses unless you have express written permission to do so.
It’s also got to be said that Graveyard Keeper has some of the most gorgeous pixel art we’ve seen to date. With a day and night cycle, it’s a joy watching shadows move positions as the time of day changes. There’s also a full range of weather conditions, from glorious sunshine to rainstorms to fog, and all of it has been beautifully recreated in stunning pixel detail.
So: if you’ve somehow not jumped into the grave(yard) yet, Graveyard Keeper: Last Journey Edition offers the perfect excuse to pick up this cult delight. Embrace the strangeness, and there’s an absolute blast to be hard here.