In Graveyard Keeper, you find yourself waking up in a dank, gloomy land where you have found yourself in a career path that you always dreamed of – medieval graveyard keeper! I know that based on the title of this game, this is not what you were expecting, but if there is one thing I can almost assuredly guarantee, it’s that you will not be disappointed in this role. You’ll find a pleasant hybrid of management/simulation and exploration while you go through your grim adventure.
Graveyard Keeper is a fun, fresh take on the management genre by approaching it with a storyline that is much darker than almost all of its predecessors, but it tapers this with a touch of comedy that creates a great balance. The story is largely uncovered and driven by tasks you complete, and conversing with characters you come across will be a large force in uncovering a several branches of the plot. Many characters only appear on one day of the week (denoted by symbols that can be located in the top left of the screen) and many of these characters will lead to more areas of your map unlocking. While this is not something new to the management genre, the setting, characters, and comedy make Graveyard Keeper feel thoroughly refreshing. The retro-pixelated style fits the game very well, and the controls are largely intuitive and make it easy to pick up the basics of the game very quickly. While the basics are easy to master, Graveyard Keeper offers many layers to make the game an getaway that you can easily get lost in.
I have two criticisms of Graveyard Keeper – the first is the font, the second is the lack of explanation behind some systems in the game. This isn’t the first time I’ve had a complaint about font in a retro-pixelated style game (which is starting to make me think that maybe I’m going blind), but Graveyard Keeper seems to have made the same mistake that we’ve seen in other games in the same stylistic vein. It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that there is a fair amount of reading that is important to the actual gameplay. It doesn’t make the game unplayable, but I did find myself walking up to my TV occasionally to make sure that I was reading something correctly. My second complaint, the lack of explanation, is another one that cannot be overcome by enough playing around and exploration. This frustration became most apparent when figuring out things like the upgrade system or actual tasks involved in some quests, and while I was able to figure it out eventually, it took me a bit to figure out what the heck was going on.
The achievements in Graveyard Keeper are a mix of quest completion achievements, task completion (like burying so many bodies) and a few collectible type achievements. Overall, it is a very well rounded list – initially, I was concerned because it seemed like some of the achievements may be very lengthy grinds, but it appears that many of these achievements are doable within playing the game for quest completions (with possibly some endgame grinding to round out a few). The achievement list will also make you explore virtually all of the different aspects of the game, from performing autopsies and tending to the actual graveyard all the way to fishing and cooking.
Graveyard Keeper has achieved a very well-rounded playstyle among both the actual gameplay to working in a fun achievement list that will make you really delve into all the aspects of the game. Minus a few small hindrances in the actual presentation of the game, Graveyard Keeper hits almost every nail on the head in what a management sim should aim for. If you’re looking for an easy-going game that you can bury a lot of time in, Graveyard Keeper is for you!