Making Morally Ambiguous Choices – A Macabre Game Review

Hey everyone, PushingUpRoses here and welcome to my graveyard. As you can see, it looks like garbage, but that’s the nice thing about management simulation games, isn’t it? I can make my space look as ugly as I want, with as many haphazardly placed lawns and flower pots as I want, and nobody can tell me it’s wrong. Except for maybe this guy. As you can see, today we are taking a look at Graveyard Keeper from 2018, developed by a company called Lazy Bear Games – I feel like I have no choice but to write a review on

this game because at this point, I’ve lost at least two weeks to it, so what better way to combine business and pleasure, or bleasure, if you will. One day I went on Twitter, as you do, and asked for a game similar to Stardew Valley. I received a lot of great suggestions, but Graveyard Keeper spoke to me and my witchy, macabre heart. Making ethically ambiguous decisions about selling human meat? Creating zombies? FARMING? Yep, I’m there. This is exactly what I need to keep my neurodivergent brain at bay. Add in a cute talking skull with amnesia and

this is heaven. Or Hell. Probably moreso Hell. I do want to mention that I had some issues with my gameplay hitching on my PC, but I am not sure

if that’s a universal problem or not – I was capturing footage while playing and it seemed to happen more when I did that, but I just wanted to give a warning in case you notice it. Let me give you a brief overview of the story: You are this guy here. The introduction shows him dying in a tragic accident, and he wakes up in the distant past. The

little talking skull named Gerry takes you through a tutorial, and you come to realize that you do not want to be here, you need to figure out a way to get back home to your life and to your love, but while you’re here you are assigned the job of Graveyard Keeper. It starts out simple enough; you fix graves, you autopsy some bodies, you make the church look as nice as you can, but hear you me, this game gets INVOLVED. You meet loads of interesting non playable characters, discover new locations, and learn so many technologies your

head will explode. Gameplay consists of doing certain activities, like cutting down trees, foraging, and cooking, so you can earn tokens in three categories: hand crafting skills, nature and farming, and knowledge. When you start to earn a lot of these tokens, you can use them to unlock new technologies, as shown by these trees. You can learn a LOT and there are several categories, including building, smithing, farming, theology, and anatomy and alchemy. Unlocking new skills and blueprints for making machinery to help you make products and building materials is how you go about helping the characters in the

game; they often have quests that involve using your abilities, and in return they will help get you items needed to send your character back home. At first I felt a little burdened – there seemed to be so many things to do, and your character starts out with very limited skills and has barely any money, so for a while it felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything. But I was so intrigued by unlocking all of the tech trees and helping out these characters. The game is pretty organized – there’s a list of characters that keeps you up

to date on what you need to do to help them, it keeps your technologies on track with descriptions on what things do, the inventory menu is very clear and easy to work with, and one of the BEST things about this game? You do not need to have things in your inventory to work on them, you can build trunks nearby, and as long as you have items on that screen, in a trunk, you can work with them. Thank fucking god, that is a really nice feature, especially for someone like me who wants to go on hours

long collectathons and take everything that isn’t nailed down. I just have a very hard time throwing things away, what if I NEED 90 bat wings for something? You never know. This is not a talky game, but I do love the sound effects used for the characters voices – it reminds me of Banjo Kazooie, just gibberish words and sounds that come together to represent dialogue. My favorite voice belongs to the merchant, who sounds like Kermit the Frog. (clip) I am a person who likes busywork in games – I’m the one grinding for hours in a JRPG

even when I don’t have to, because I like being prepared. It’s like the Mise en place of a video game, so while some people may find this kind of gameplay boring, I could not get enough of chopping trees, mining for rocks, and crafting item after item. A very important part of this game is the alchemy, and as fun as it is to craft potions and combine strange things together to make other magical items, it’s also one of the most unintuitive parts of the game. I think some of this game greatly benefits from using a guide,

especially when it comes to the alchemy and anatomy. It’s not like you can’t figure it all out on your own with some concentration and trial and error, but I was already dumping so many hours into unlocking technologies that using a guide really cut down on some of the more complicated game play. There are so many items in this game it can be a slog to experiment with all of them. I also just think that guides and manuals are an important part of a game and can even add to the experience – it’s similar to looking

up a recipe in a cookbook. There is a little bit of combat in the form of a spooky dungeon; when I got to this part I started getting flashbacks of the mines in Stardew Valley; I died so many times and was ready to set myself on fire after every level I went through. Much to my surprise and relief, Graveyard Keeper only has 15 levels of dungeon, and once you kill an enemy, it is gone forever. I love that it saves your progress; it IS challenging enough on its own even if the enemies don’t respawn, making

it rewarding when you get to the next section. Now, you may notice that I don’t have any enemies on my screen. That is because I killed them and didn’t have any left for my capture, but I did want to show you the dungeon regardless. Hey everyone, Roses from the editing room here and I did find some enemies while I was editing this video, so I will them on the screen either right there, or right there, or right there, depending on how I edit this. You get a sword as a weapon, which you can of course

upgrade when you unlock smithing skills in your tech tree. As much as I love this game and was thrilled with how many things were happening early on, I did notice there were some quiet parts where I didn’t know what to do; I was either waiting on something, or someone, so I could progress. There IS a time mechanic; each day goes by in about 7 and a half minutes, and the days are represented by these symbols. Noteworthy characters will show up on certain days – for example the astrologer shows up on the moon day, the bishop

shows up on this symbol, and that’s also the day you can give sermons – yeah, did I mention you pretty much manage the church? Just look at these inspirational words! There is one essential character you can talk to or try to help for each day, but I noticed the more I progressed, the more I found myself waiting for someone specific, so I’d need to fill my time with grinding and leveling up my skills. I do think that happens with most games in this genre, I did my fair share of trying to make things move a

little faster in other similar games. Since you can do so many things on your own time it’s hard to constantly have something to do every day for those 7 and a half minutes, but overall I think it works very well. Though this game is very pretty and there are many cute elements, it definitely has a much different tone than saccharin titles like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, there are times your character makes highly questionable decisions, such as: Joining the inquisition, serving human meat to villagers, and throwing bodies you don’t want to deal with into the

river. Look, they’re dead, they don’t know any different! Though the narrative changes over time and characters grow within their own stories, I found it very difficult to make truly horrible decisions – I’m not so much bothered by throwing corpses into the river and selling human meat to the tavern, but joining the Inquisitor, who finds joy in burning my witchy friends, was rough. It was, however, one of the more interesting and detailed story lines. I also didn’t mind stealing money from the church. Just wanted to mention that. Something that stands out to me is that there

is no romance mechanic; the goal for your character is to get home to reunite with your love, so I suppose romance wouldn’t make much sense, but I sure did miss bringing NPCs randomly items like rocks and pumpkins to win their hearts. You can build up friendship meters which you basically have to do to progress, but no dating for the Graveyard Keeper. Probably for the best, I went a little off the rails in Stardew Valley – I romanced every single character, divorced them, used magic to wipe their bad memories about me, then romanced them again. I

am a monster. I really enjoyed exploring the map and finding new places and characters as I walked around, but at some point I was very happy to buy a teleportation stone, which transports you to places you’ve already found. I don’t think I could have dealt with constantly walking back and forth from the village, to my house, and to all of the other places around the map in real time, so I am glad the devs were aware they needed to add this. The main reason I think this game works so well is that it perfectly blends

simulation and role play; I am not a big fan of games like Terraria or Minecraft, even though they deal with crafting and creating; I need a game to also have some kind of narrative or leveling up system, and I need some kind of relationship mechanic. It doesn’t need to be romance, it just needs to have people I can talk to. I get lonely, what can I say. Part of me wishes the characters were even more fleshed out, but there is already so much going on, the simple dialogue and story lines work just fine. As of

right now, I haven’t finished this game. I am very close to getting a final item I need, but I felt pretty confident about writing a review since I sank over 100 hours into it. Meaning that I definitely recommend this game, especially if you like simulation games that involve a lot of crafting, building, and side quests. If you played this game tell me what you liked about it in the comments, and please feel free to suggest other similar titles that I will likely become obsessed with and play until 6am every morning. Thank you for watching and

until next time, stay spooky. Hey everyone, thank you for watching this little review on Graveyard keeper, I hope you enjoyed my commentary and give the game a try. If you want to see more from me, I have many more videos on this channel, but first I want to give a heartfelt thanks to my Patrons for if not for them, I wouldn’t have bought the game and lost 100 hours of sleep. …Wait. If you’re interested in supporting me, my cat, and the channel, please consider donating a few bucks, and if not, shares and likes really help

me to reach new viewers. If you are interested in more content from me, I have a few recommendations on the screen. On the right is a video from my flagship series, That Time on Murder She Wrote. It’s a very spooky episode that falls right in line with Graveyard keeper. On the left is my last video game review on The Return of Monkey Island. Thanks again, and as always, I will see you in the next one.

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