Graveyard Keeper Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Lazy Bear Games

Published By: tinyBuild Games

Reviewed By: Rachel Ingersoll

Thank you so much to tinyBuild Games for providing a review code! 

As a big fan of life management simulation games like Stardew Valley, I was very excited to try out Stardew’s dark counterpart in this new game for the Nintendo Switch. (Did it live up to my expectations)?

Story

After getting hit by a car, you find yourself transported into the medieval era, where you are dubbed the new Graveyard Keeper! With this new title comes new duties, you are expected to bury the newly deceased and care for your graveyard in order to make it, and the Church you look after, the best they can be! But, with the new responsibilities and tasks that comes with being a graveyard keeper, how will you get back to your love, who is waiting for you in the modern day? 

Gameplay

Starting your adventure can be challenging and overwhelming at the beginning. The game starts with not much of a tutorial besides some basic instructions on what to do given to you by a talking skull named Gerry. Besides that, it’s on you to learn as you go and understand what you should be doing. However, once you get over the initial hurdle and begin to learn more as you go, the game really starts to become enjoyable. 

The main focus of Graveyard Keeper is to maintain your graveyard. You can improve your graveyard stats by burying bodies. When bodies arrive, they will have multiple white or red skulls which represent good deeds and sins. If a body has multiple white skulls this can increase your graveyards rating when they’re buried, but if a body has multiple red skulls it’s best not to bury them since they will give a negative impact on your graveyard. So, what do you do with them? Harvest their organs then burn them or throw the bodies in the river! The choice is yours!

Graveyard Keeper uses an experience point system that is divided into three different categories: red points can be earned by crafting and collecting resources, green points are related to agriculture such as harvesting, and blue points are gained through the Church. These experience points are very important as they can be put towards unlocking a new technology in one of the seven different skill trees. The skill trees can be a little overwhelming and confusing at first, but after some time it’s easy to see where to invest your points in order to progress. Overall, unlocking new technologies through the skill trees in order to craft new things was a very rewarding process, and helped create goals that I worked towards while playing. 

Besides filling up your skill trees and improving your graveyard, it’s also important to form relationships with the NPCs. The NPC’s will give you quests which you will have to complete in order to become better friends with them. NPC’s help to progress the story and their quests don’t need to be completed under time restrictions, so you are free to work on them throughout the game. The dialogue shared between the main character and the NPC’s were almost always hilarious, with each one having a different personality and different funny interactions. 

Although not the main focus, Graveyard Keeper also provides combat, farming and fishing options which are all important to learn and participate in, since the items you get from killing monsters, harvesting food, and catching fish are needed for various quests. Later on, Alchemy can also be used to increase the quality of the corpses you receive which can improve your graveyard.

It’s also worth noting that the “Breaking Dead” DLC is not included with the game in the eShop. The DLC focuses on being able to resurrect the dead as zombies and costs 5.99$ on the eShop while on PC it’s free.

Presentation

The pixel art style of Graveyard Keeper is visually beautiful. The visual effects for lighting and weather were overall very well done, with accurate shadows and cool weather effects such as fog, creating a more realistic environment that looked stunning. The comedic NPC’s also helped establish an atmosphere that kept the tone of the game lighthearted and fun.

Technical Issues

Throughout my playthrough I did stumble upon a few small technical issues. First being the load time to boot up the game, which took a solid 30 seconds for the game to begin. However, this didn’t hinder my experience while playing the game, and I was happy there are little to no loading times once the game is running. While playing Graveyard Keeper I also experienced some frame rate issues and visual glitches. Although I only encountered this a handful of times, it did disrupt my experience while playing.

Summary:

Overall, I enjoyed my time burying corpses and making friends with a talking donkey and a skull named Gerry. Although I had a bit of trouble beginning my adventure, I enjoyed my time in Graveyard Keeper after learning and understanding what to do and how to do it. If you’re looking for anything more than a simulation / management simulator this game will not win you over. However, I would recommend this game for anyone looking for something a bit less time restricting and more challenging than Stardew Valley.

7/10

Pros

  • Visuals Are Beautiful
  • Skill Tree is Rewarding
  • NPC’s Are Very Comedic and Full of Life
  • Tons of Content to Enjoy
  • Challenging Gameplay

Cons

  • Can be Very Confusing in The Beginning
  • Some Visual Bugs/Glitches & Frame Rate issues
  • Lack of Tutorial When Beginning The Game
  • DLC is Not Included
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