Last week I finally bought Graveyard Keeper after having my eye on it for months. It’s a game that constantly draws comparisons to Stardew Valley, albeit with a much darker tone – you’re main job is to tend to a graveyard.While the comparisons make sense at first glance with many of the same tasks (farming, fishing, mining, cooking, crafting) and a similar art style, it didn’t take long for me to realize that the games are only similar on a surface level.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. I wasn’t looking to just play Stardew Valley again. I started playing Graveyard Keeper and I’ve barely been able to put it down, which is pretty much what happened when I first started Stardew Valley. But Stardew Valley was so laid back and I never felt pressure to rush through it – it was so relaxing. I did not feel relaxed after my first several hours of Graveyard Keeper.
The first thing I learned while playing, is that to complete any task – a quest or crafting an item – you have to complete a different task – completing a different quest or crafting a different item. And those quests and items probably required several more quests and items to be completed and crafted. Basically it took me way longer than I thought to complete what seemed to be a simple task.
This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing – I love crafting stuff in games and that might be part of the reason why I can barely put the game down. But you also have to unlock many crafting tools through technology branches, which is another feature I actually like in games. The problem is there’s so much going on and little direction and it’s a bit overwhelming when you first start playing. There’s too much to do – you’ll sleep when you’re dead.
That’s why I waited a few days before writing about it. Now I can say, that while I still feel like there’s a ton going on and I don’t feel at all relaxed like I do while playing Stardew Valley, I’ve gotten the hang of things. I’m enjoying the game more instead of getting frustrated when I realize something is going to take a million more steps than I originally thought, and I’m not rushing through quite as much. And I really love the game’s dark sense of humor.
I had a lot of fun decorating an area called the Sacrifice Zone. You have to make it look as scary as possible, which involved lots of skulls and blood (I won’t tell you where I got those things). My tip – fill the fountains with blood after you’ve made all the other decorations – everything suddenly looks so put together and cool.
I do wish I could interact a bit more with some of the villagers. I’m not finished the game yet, so maybe that will happen later, or in the dlc. I might have to get the two dlc, Stranger Sins and Breaking Dead, later this year for Halloween. Now it’s time to get back to decorating my church and graveyard to appease the bishop!