If I were to boil down Graveyard Keeper to an elevator pitch it would simply read: A macabre version of Stardew Valley with an intricate crafting system.
Did I say intricate? I meant painfully involved crafting systems. You’ll learn quickly that, in order to get X item, you have to go through three to four layers of crafting before you have the thing you need to continue most of the main quests.
The main story may start off similar to Stardew Valley, but the end game is very different. You find yourself warped to a medieval time where witches are burned and religious figures were the biggest sinners around. The whole point is to play along like you aren’t from a different time until you can build a laser to open a portal back home. Oh yeah, there’s also a talking skull and a talking donkey and they’re both funny jerks. Getting to the ending won’t be an easy task. You don’t fall in love with townspeople or form long lasting friendships, but you gain trust points that further your needs. Make money, bury dead people and don’t tell anyone who you really are... these are the commandments you must live by.
Like Stardew Valley, you can only get so much done in a day (which is represented by symbols rather than the days of the week). Each sun/moon cycle is 9 minutes long, leaving only so much time between graveyard stuff, town stuff, crafting stuff and resting. Eventually, you’ll find yourself leaving rest until the last possible minute in order to get shit done. Crafting a bunch of food to keep you energized instead of sleeping will become the new norm, just make sure you craft a few bits of food to eat while you’re busy crafting all that food.
Another tedious feature is the distance between locations. The map is unnecessarily long and will leave you questioning the importance of some quests. More than once it took over half the day just to get all the way to the lighthouse. After a while, the most I was willing to travel was the distance between the graveyard and the tavern.
Overall, I enjoyed this game mostly for the dark humor and the 50% off price tag. I wouldn’t recommend it otherwise. If I had known anything about the crafting system and landscape ahead of time, I probably would have just gone back to Stardew Valley while I wait for The Last of Us 2 to release.
- Dann D.