Steam Library: Graveyard Keeper

Graveyard Keeper's eerie graveyard

Graveyard Keeper sold me a non-Steam version. It was sold to me by a colleague who recommended, and I quote, “Stardew Valley for adults.” Not that I was expecting a fairytale-like village with friendly neighbors of all colors of the rainbow and endless carrot fields, but the idea itself was intriguing.

I immediately had a picture in my mind:

Instead of another gingerbread house with benevolent neighbors and endless carrot fields, you arrive at a shed near a graveyard, dig graves, and in your free time, try to seduce a nun or two. And all around, peaceful decay, just like in Beksinski’s paintings. Now that’s what I call diversity.

However, it turned out that my fantasies went far beyond the actual game.

First of all, Graveyard Keeper informed me that I already have love and it’s waiting for me after the game over. Well, thanks.

Secondly, the game started making cynical jokes. Instead of a Harvest Moon-like mayor, my character was greeted by a skull from Planescape Torment, who first instructed me to cut meat from a corpse and then sell the cut meat at a tavern. Romance is not really a thing here.


Well, at least the skull showed me a game and explained what’s really going on here.

The main job is as follows: you take the body brought to you by a mule-Marxist – no, I’m not joking, that’s how the developers joke – you take the body, carry it to the cellar, and start dissecting it. This is necessary so that the deceased can rest better in the cemetery and lie more quietly. For example, a bloodless corpse is two points kinder than a full-blooded one. And this, the carving from the dead body, is a useful thing to have. We already know where the meat goes, some fat goes for church candles, and some skulls – well, at the very least, they’re just beautiful.

Then you have to bury or cremate the deceased. The second option is useful when a drunk pathologist in our person cuts something wrong or not right. And if the scalpel doesn’t tremble, we dig a grave, bury the body, and make a gravestone with a fence.

Once a week, you have to read sermons. For example, about how the local church needs a lot of money for various spiritual matters.

The process itself is the same funny scene throughout the game, but the happiness of the Graveyard Keeper preacher is not in it, but in preparing the performance. A good, convincing, and profitable Sunday speech is forged for months through the search for new local jokes and the mastery of the underground (literally) craft of book printing.

Oh, and yes. In order to maintain the barn, extension, yard, garden, morgue, cemetery, church, and other optional apiaries, you will need to cut down the entire local forest, grind all the local stone, and smelt all the local ore.

Of course, we will personally extract all of the above, then we will build various furnaces, sawmills, and printing presses ourselves, then we will carve out each first gravestone ourselves, then we will attach it to the grave ourselves, then lightning will strike the grave, and it will all start over again.

Cultivating the graveyard in Graveyard Keeper

Finally, no normal local resident can do without our help. The regular village inquisitor, for example, wants to turn his regular witch burnings into a full-blown Rammstein show, for which he stamps flyers with our hands and gets soldiers drunk with our wine again. And the criminal living in the church basement suddenly becomes possessed by the idea of summoning Satan and demands the blood of sinners and a bunker filled with skulls.

I thought my character would be the biggest hardcore enthusiast. Chopping bodies, digging graves. And around my cemetery, you know, impressionable noble daughters will slowly circulate. But no.

In general, the most interesting thing about GK is dealing with church affairs. Firstly, it is truly an unusual occupation. Secondly, your successes are always evident. With each new grave, the cemetery becomes more and more well-kept, the graves themselves become more solid, and then you can even build a beautiful columbarium! And fix the fence! And build a new church! And an extension to it!

Beauty, happiness, and complete satisfaction from the work done by oneself, the beloved job.


Everything else… well, so-so. Pretending to be a gravedigger is interesting and unusual, carrying logs on foot through half the map is not. Decorating the church, the satanic basement – some kind of creativity, but dragging logs, clearing deadly boring dungeons, and other carrot farming – it’s all just grinding.

Roughly speaking, for ten minutes you grind your teeth and chip away at stones, only to happily dismember, bury, and decorate another corpse in about three minutes.

A separate problem is the game’s design of menus, mini-games, and other details. In general, it’s amazing how the developers of Graveyard Keeper manage to create disgusting menus and mechanics time after time.

It’s always the same story

First, the game developers come up with some kind of innovation. In Graveyard Keeper, it’s the whole system with the morgue, graveyard, and church. And this innovation will work great because they will polish it in the first, second, third, and all subsequent queues. Then the developers will peek at something from their competitors. But it will be exactly one thing, and even that will be trivial. And everything else will be done… well, it will be done, but very, very poorly.

The local designers, for example, copied several mini-games from their own (apparently) Stardew Valley, but added a disgusting, completely inconvenient inventory and completely refused to include an encyclopedia of items and abilities in the game. These guys even couldn’t be bothered to write hints.

And some kind of fast travel on the map was only added in one of the post-release patches. Moreover, it was already demanded by gamers who had by that time gone crazy from pointless marathons on foot.

Managing the graveyard's resources

But you know what? Graveyard Keeper can still hook you. You dig graves, chop wood, bang your head against the anvil, but still want to build a cool new mausoleum, still wait for the local Sunday to read a new sermon, to see how many people will come and how much money they will leave you.

And when you manage to rebuild the church, then your soul will sing for at least a couple of hours, until the cool new roof settles in. And then you will open the blueprint for the extension, gather almost all the necessary materials…

It could have been made into a much better game, but what it is, is still decent. I don’t have any gravedigger simulators better than Graveyard Keeper for you yet.

Graveyard Keeper
PC, Xbox One
Adventure, RPG, Indie
Lazy Bear Games
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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