Last year, Lazy Bear Games announced Graveyard Keeper and pitched it as “the most inaccurate medieval cemetery management sim of the year“, but being as it’s the only graveyard sim out there, accuracy is moot. It’s “a game of capitalism” and about “doing whatever it takes to build a thriving business.”

You’re the keeper of a small village cemetery, thrust into the position via a tumble with fate. Walking home to your partner while texting and crossing the road (there’s a lesson to be learnt here, Spot it?). Tasked with watching over the dead, the real job is to make a living and help restore the village to past glory. There’s much more to do than just dig graves and bury bodies, every Sunday you have to lead a sermon, like mass for example. There are relationships to maintain and you will come across a few choices you’d rather not make.

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Graveyard filling up? too many bodies coming in? well… you could throw them in the river. Want to increase the amount of money the village traders have… give a sermon about how important the traders are. The more money they have and the richer they become will in turn increase the amount of visitors the church will receive.

There are three types of experience, Red – gathered by performing acts of physical strength such as crafting or chopping down trees, Green – acquired by gaining knowledge of nature and Blue – representing your knowledge of the immaterial world, the spirit world. Everything you do will earn you some kind of these to spend on new craftables or skills from the progression trees.

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Performing an autopsy on the intake, harvesting various pieces and using them for crafting or sale. Crops to harvest, armour and weapons to craft and dungeons and caves to delve. Using any and all means to connect the coin of the village to your wallet.

Befriending the traders grants access to more to purchase and more ways to exploit your influence upon the town such as sending a few of the easily persuaded on a fool’s errand.

There are six key characters you can befriend and they visit the graveyard or the village and surrounding area once a week, these characters are pivotal in your progression of skills and money-making as well as progressing the narrative. The Inqusitor is a favourite of mine, he reminds me of Vito Corleone from the Godfather, he has the raspy hushed voice and insinuates he could sort you out if he needs to… in a good or a bad way.

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As posted in the dev diary “the more popular your church and your graveyard are, the better it is for local businesses” and “the more you trade with a certain character, the quicker he/she levels up. Selling and buying things from a character helps him/her to evolve and become richer“. Its clear from the offset that Graveyard Keeper has big plans, to offer far more than the title would suggest.

It’s like Stardew Valley in appearance but slapped with a great dose of dark humour and ethical dilemma. Graveyard Keeper is due out on August 15th 2018.

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