Graveyard Keeper Review: Dig Corpses, Get Money

Thanks to a lovely Christmas gift from my boyfriend I am currently the proud owner of a Nintendo Switch Lite. I want to highlight one of the major appeals it had for me since its launch: the variety of indie games available through the Nintendo eShop.

That’s where I would like to start getting my games for reviews.

I enjoyed browsing Steam to search for new indie games, where I own more than 30 titles in my account with thousands of hours logged into them. But I had two important reasons to prefer the Switch. First, I need a clear separation between my work area (my laptop, in this case) and the leisure area. Second, the portability of the Switch is unbeatable when you want to relax on your couch, bed, or hammock. It was the perfect Christmas gift and I decided to start buying digital games for it.

One of my first purchases was Graveyard Keeper, developed by Lazy Bear Games and published by tinyBuild. I played a few hours the PC version, but this time I decided to start from scratch and immerse myself in the portable experience.

I must clarify that at the time of writing this article/review I have +20 hours logged in my Switch and +14 hours in my Steam account. This article won’t be spoiling major plot details, but I will include some tips and advice for new players.

What’s Graveyard Keeper about?: General Review

You’re presented with a man going home after buying groceries and gets run over by a car. Yikes. He wakes up and is greeted by a mysterious figure, who tells him his new role from now on will be working as a graveyard keeper. From that point, you’re dropped into this medieval cemetery management sim to return home, simple as that.

The game has a day/night cycle with a 6-day week. Each day is assigned to a specific NPC (each one representing a deadly sin: guess who represents Death?). While being a cemetery management simulator, it implies a lot of resource gathering and upgrading your Technology Tree to unlock new recipes and materials. In order words, grinding.

Something to keep in mind before playing the game: you will not finish it in one sitting. I’ve been playing it for +120 in-game days by now, and I’m still not even halfway through the main storyline. So far my experience with it has been a bit cryptic (pun aside) since I had no clue to move the story forward. It caused me frustration whenever the game didn’t give clear instructions or guidance, but that was precisely what ended up hooking me to the game for now.

My only game save file. The game is in Spanish since my Switch Lite is configured with that language. Go figure.

I feel like the clever humour that this game presents in your interactions with the NPCs and the chosen audio gibberish for their dialogues gave me some amusing moments and were a nice enhancer to the experience.

Unfortunately, I only own the base game. I am interested in purchasing the Breaking Dead DLC to unlock the ability to resuscitate zombies and have your free labour force. But the contents offered in the base game have been more than enough to keep me engaged.

I am afraid of getting into the late game stage and run out of things to do. The rhythm in which the game progresses can get tedious, especially when you’re waiting on a certain day of the week to deliver a quest item and you’ve already finished upgrading everything.

Nevertheless, it’s a nice game for a chill afternoon.

Your home at Graveyard Keeper
The UI in the Switch version shows a hot bar, a calendar, your stamina bar and a label for the current area.

Tips and Advice to Start With No Hassle

If you don’t want to go completely blind into Graveyard Keeper, follow these tips and suggestions to get yourself on track a bit faster. You can also have the official wiki on your phone while playing if you feel like you get easily lost with what to do next.

Again, this list is not comprehensive at all with all the essential information, but rather things I would like to point out to avoid getting into a dead point.

Gameplay information

  • Your character will get an energy debuff after not sleeping for two days in a row. You also need to go to bed to save your progress, so don’t overlook some nice napping time.
  • Dying only teleports you back to your home. Nothing else. Use this information wisely.
  • You can get a Teleport stone to move into four areas once you’ve visited them for the first time (your home, the inn, the lighthouse and quarry). But keep in mind that it has a 3-minute cooldown before you can use it again.
  • A nice trick I found out while chopping down wood is that you can teleport while holding a log and it will transport alongside you. (Apparently, this also works for zombies. But again, I haven’t been able to confirm it myself because I don’t own any DLC)
  • Try to unlock new cooking recipes as soon as possible, since they can provide useful buffs to increase your productivity or the quality of crafted items.

Recommendations

  • Leave the free Whetstone you get for when you improve your tools and weapon. It’s honestly more money-efficient to sell them to the Blacksmith and buy a new set.
  • Once an NPC gives you a quest, talk to them again. Next to the dialogue options, they have the item icon you need to give them in order to advance. It took me way longer than I would like to admit to knowing that.
  • Carrots! Always plant carrots and keep at least 10 in your inventory or the storage near the burning site to keep the corpses coming.
  • Getting Faith is very important to continue with the Theology and Alchemy technology tree. I always keep a Sermon in my inventory.

I hope you can make a more informed purchase with this general review for Graveyard Keeper. Have fun!

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