Graveyard Keeper was on my mind ever since I heard about it a couple of months before its August 15 release. It sounded interesting– a more challenging Stardew Valley clone centered on “historically inaccurate” village life. It sounded neat; even more so since it took place in the middle ages. Since this blog is centered on how the modern and medieval collide, I was excited about it more so than I usually would be for this kind of game.

Now that I have played it for a 90 minutes, I have some (very) basic thoughts about the game.

  1. It is Stardew Valley on steroids. If you don’t know what Stardew Valley is, then go look it up: if that game doesn’t sound interesting, then don’t bother playing Graveyard Keeper because, sure, Graveyard Keeper has more elements than Stardew Valley, but at the end of the day, the basic game play is the same.
  2. I mention Point #1 because Graveyard Keeper is what you get when you expand Stardew Valley‘s mechanics into a game in itself. Farming, cooking, resource gathering, buying and selling, friendship meters, exploration… gone are Stardew Valley‘s straightforward and limited options and here are the “grown up” options with mechanics and progress measured by many branching tree paths.
  3. Progress is slow. There was a Kotaku review a little while ago that complained about the sequencing of quests. I agree with that sentiment completely. Game play in Graveyard Keeper goes like this: meet someone, do this, then do that, but in order to “do that,” you have to do this AND that, and so to do those things, you need to acquire these resources which means that you need to… and so on. Completing Graveyard Keeper will take hundreds of hours.
  4. At the time of writing, criticisms have been leveled at the game that it is still unfinished. If the game’s Steam page’s review section is any indication, that is true. I will hand it to the developers for standing by their project and listening to customers, as they have been doing a great job there by listening and fixing piles of problems from bugs to balancing and menus. All the same, I feel that before I really dig into this game, I will let the Devs work it into a more playable state.
  5. I like the characters: a screaming, alcoholic skull; an anti-capitalist donkey; and a rather lethargic priest all make appearances early on and provide the game with the sort of oddness that Stardew Valley lacks.

That is all for now. As I said, once the game is progressed on more and more stable, I will spend a lot more time with it. Since I have only played the first 90 minutes of a game that, realistically, will take 200+ hours to master, I will have plenty more time to muse on the game’s entanglement with medievalism.

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