Graveyard Keeper Review PC

Graveyard Keeper Review [PC] – One Grave A Day Will Keep The Ghosts Away

Advertised as “the most inaccurate medieval cemetery management sim of the year,” I went into Graveyard Keeper expecting to find something weird, funny, and moderately inappropriate. What I found was something… very close to it.

Graveyard Keeper is indeed a resource management game made by Lazy Bear Games and tinyBuild, who are also the creators behind the fighter management game Punch Club.

You are thrown right into the game, witnessing our protagonist’s rather unfortunate fate, which leads him into a curious conversation with Death himself. Suddenly, we are being teleported back in time (year 204 to be exact) and are assigned the role as a graveyard keeper. You receive in your possession an old, abandoned house on a hill, with an even older and rustic graveyard next to it. 

Enjoy your own little bizarre and slightly disturbing utopia by creating a garden, tidying up your graveyard and home. However, to do these things you need to unlock different technologies. As your skills and experience as a graveyard keeper expand, you will also unlock different ways of preserving and taking care of the bodies you receive.

Graveyard Keeper Review PC
It may seem complicated at first, but as you get into the game, things gradually fall into place.

Research and upgrade your characters’ skills by collecting red, green, and blue «points» – which kinda look like regular ol’ gems. Different gems are required for different techniques:

Red: represents hand-crafting skills.

Green: knowledge about the nature of things and nature itself.

Blue: spiritual knowledge of the immaterial world.

Collecting these points takes quite some time in the beginning, making the game feel very slow-paced. However, once I learned more skills, the game naturally became more interesting.

The fact that almost every single action in the game consumes energy feels like both a blessing and a curse. While this is not necessarily a problem in itself, one might discuss that each action takes too much energy. This becomes a little tedious when you eventually have plenty of tasks to do. A grave situation indeed!

Visually, Graveyard Keeper has a lovely retro style design. With that said, the geographical design of the game feels quite big. It feels like the distance between each relevant quest site is too far, and it takes me forever to get there; maybe an auto-walk button would come in handy. But hey, at least the game has really pleasant music that I can listen to while I walk!

Graveyard Keeper Review PC
One grave a day will keep the ghosts away… literally.

The voice effects of the characters are funny and reminded me a little bit of the voices in Undertale. The characters want you to do quests for them, and in return, you gradually build a friendly relationship with them. While the dialogue has many good intentions of being funny, I cannot exactly say that it tickled my funny-bone

Even though the dialogue isn’t top-notch, Graveyard Keeper has a morbid sense of humour. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and that is kinda refreshing. For example, the local tavern is in dire need of meat for their delicious meals. And well, since you have flesh in abundance, you don’t really have to tell them where it comes from, right? … Right?

As you progress further in the game, you will also receive different recipes you can cook, so that you can restore the lost energy. Perhaps you might have some use for the flesh that you’ve been extracting too – if you know what I mean.

Being the graveyard keeper feels like a minor task in the game, compared to the tons of other stuff you can do: keeping a farm, a garden, working as a blacksmith to fix around your home, and doing various quests for the other villagers. The game runs in a day-and-night cycle, with different weather, even though I didn’t get the feeling it affected anything regarding gameplay. The characters’ availability, on the other hand, depends on which day of the week it is, where each day is indicated by its own symbol.

Moreover, Graveyard Keeper can become rather tedious. One example is being able to only pick up one thing at a time when you have to move quite a distance, making each task long and dreary. If I could pick up two things at a time, that would reduce the workload. If these glitches could be fixed, being a graveyard keeper wouldn’t be such a dead-end job… 

Though I must say, after I’ve laid my character to sleep to regenerate his energy bar, I kept finding myself automatically playing another day. Looks I’m just dying to play more… Because even though the game definitely has some flaws, it is nevertheless an entertaining game with a lot of potential.

I believe that the game could become excellent if it received more updates. If you like grinding games, Graveyard Keeper will definitely give you many hours of entertaining gameplay to dig into.

P.S: I hope my editor doesn’t give me the graveyard shift after this!

Graveyard Keeper is available on PC and Xbox One.

My Lovely Daughter

My Lovely Daughter Review [PC] – Experimenting With Emotions

To say My Lovely Daughter is an unsettling story following the depths of how far a grieving father will plunge into alchemist hell might be the only reasonable explanation to describe the grim simulation narrative. Between work/money management, experimenting with alchemy and selfish murder all for the sake of resurrecting your recently deceased daughter – GameChanger Studio delivers an unnerving tale of fiction, but unfortunately comes with a rather tedious concept.

Faust is a man suffering from extreme memory loss discovering his departed daughter immediately upon gaining consciousness. Set centuries in the past, the small village serves as only a slight reminder of who he was, but after discovering the state of his beloved daughter he comes to the realization he, himself, studies in alchemy. The confidence of his abilities only strengthens from there, and off we go on a dark tale about how far a man will go to bring back what he cherishes most.

The idea behind My Lovely Daughter is to use your medieval alchemist abilities to, of course, bring your precious daughter back to the living. If you’re a fan of the anime series – Full Metal Alchemist – we all know what happens when you attempt to bring back the dead using alchemy – but Faust is a desperate man who’s only memories are adrift in the clouds. Slowly he begins to fill in the pieces of his memory as he begins to re-learn the shady process of alchemy.

Tedious Slave-Driving Management

The gameplay requires players to perform a series of tasks which all help to nurture the soul of Faust’s daughter, and eventually use the soul to bring her back from the dead. Players will use materials such as wood, clay, meat and water to transmutate into living homunculus that you’ll lovingly suffocate with work and gifts in order to reach specific affinity levels to add to your daughter’s remaining soul. Creating multiple homunculus will net Faust more income as you send them off into the village to earn a hard day’s wage, as well as grow in experience levels, but showing each one particular affection raises each one’s specific affinity.

My Lovely Daughter
Check up on your daughter’s corpse or begin the fusion, perform alchemy to transmutate new homunculus, check up on your family of homunculus or set off for the 7-day work week.

Homunculus comes in a variety of affinity emotions ranging from anger to joy, to sadness and fear – and it’s up to the player to determine which place of employment decreases the affinity levels the least. The affinity tied to every transmutated homunculus is determined based off of the three ingredients used in the alchemy process. The affinity levels increase when particular items are gifted to the daughter-like homunculi, or the player decides to spend some much-appreciated time with the miserable chemistry experiments.

Across the village map lays a number of places to send your precious homunculi daughters off to scrape together necessary gold to keep your loving daughter in a composed form, as well as keep your homunculus collection happy. There are around 2-3 places pertaining to each affinity emotion, like pet grooming for sadness, gardening for joy or smelting for anger. The players send off from their house for a seven-day workweek emulated through a flowing timeline lasting around only less than half a minute. Within this time frame players are able to freeze the clock while they assign their homunculi crew to specific workspaces to earn gold and experience, purchase necessary items and strategize the remainder of the work week. This whole process is fairly easy to grasp early on making for a simple concept, but can grow rather tiresome and feel like a monotonous grind the longer you play.

Possessing a collection of various homunculus each representing a different emotion selfishly puts gold into Faust’s pocket with every passing day. Earning gold allows Faust to keep his daughter’s body from decomposing throughout the weeks spent obtaining crucial alchemy ingredients and perfecting the ancient art. Raising your homunculus affinity levels are important for finding the perfect formula needed to resurrect your daughter which is precisely where players must experiment with sacrificing their many homunculi.

My Lovely Daughter
Once created, your homunculus are separated into affinity categories depicting their permanent emotion, such as anger, joy or sadness.

Collecting Your Sacrifices

Between the assortment of alchemy ingredients players will transmutate one homunculus after another in order to nurture, work and inevitably slaughter, in turn adding to your daughter’s overall soul affinity level. To reach your goal you must configure the perfect formula of the affinity emotions that perfectly match the amount of joy, fear, sadness and anger in which make up your daughter’s personality. The higher the affinity level for each homunculi means more of that specific emotion contributes to your daughter’s soul, but only after the homunculus has been mercilessly sacrificed. Every four weeks the player may decide to try to fuse the affinity-collected soul with your daughter – in an attempt to bring her back, but in doing so will apply all current affinity levels making all of your work prior to the fusion attempt a complete gamble.

The constant homunculus experiments, slave-driving mentality from our “hero” Faust, bizarre method of nurturing your twisted alchemy collection and unholy desire to relentlessly slaughter them as quickly as they were created is the entire concept of My Lovely Daughter. While grim as it is, the underlying tone urges players to dig deep within themselves and question: just how important is one’s life compared to another? The pleas and confusion displayed every time you decide to exterminate a homunculus are borderline gut-wrenching knowing this is your only option moving forward in the game. Still, growing a bond with your homunculus and watching as they begin to develop a faint wisp of trust for Faust only to be snuffed out in the name of the one daughter he actually gives a damn about is a tough pill to swallow, time and time again.

My Lovely Daughter
Once players have specific homunculus reaching a high enough affinity level – or things just aren’t working out – Faust may choose to end the bond through sacrifice…
My Lovely Daughter
Sacrificing isn’t something Faust is exactly hesitant to either, often leading to gritty dialogue of his extraction of the homunculus.

The workload in the village rewards players with a modest pay in gold, but the cost of homunculus gifts, alchemy materials and expensive preservative balm – applying this periodically to your daughter’s corpse is vital in keeping her from decomposing – begins to add up. Aside from the typical everyday workspaces, players may also take on requests from the villagers. Usually asking for a number of specific materials gained from sacrificing your homunculus, i.e. clay, wood, iron etc., players may choose to take on these timed side quests to gain a hefty step forward in your gold total. While not mandatory, these do add a bit more depth to the otherwise tedious gameplay, but nothing to seriously change the overall concept of the game.

The dreadful story and bleak setting of My Lovely Daughter are enough to captivate players interested in experiencing a tale not typically told in video games. However, the constant grind and gambling process to achieve the overall conclusion is what may drive most of them off. While appreciating what the creators of My Lovely Daughter have accomplished in this maturely themed narrative, the gameplay is a bit lacking – let’s say something closer to a semi-strategic visual novel. Though the constant difficult decisions to sacrifice your lonely creations after so much time and effort put forth into bonding with them, and listening to their often depressing stories still somehow manages to weigh heavily on your conscience well after you finish the unique experience that is My Lovely Daughter.