Graveyard Keeper: Managing The Dead With DLC – PC Review

Developer Lazy Bear Games has dug six feet deep with the DLC in management sim Graveyard Keeper. Playing it for the first time with so much content was certainly overwhelming at first as minimal direction is given for how to proceed. However, while these early uncertainties were initially frustrating, once I sunk my teeth into it and worked my way through both the base game and excellent DLC, I came to appreciate the sheer amount of content available in Graveyard Keeper. While the base game is great on its own, the three pieces of DLC not only add a heap of welcomed content but expand it in so many wonderful ways.

Graveyard Keeper - Dialogue
In-game Screenshot

“Before you fill each plot, you can choose to operate on the body and avoid putting any good bits to waste.“

Fans of management sims will feel right at home in Graveyard Keeper, in sharp contrast to its main character. After arriving in a strange world, the Keeper you portray must manage the graveyard for a nearby village. In his downtime, he searches for a way to return to his lover. Little sympathy or details are afforded to the Keeper, requiring a bit of trial and error to get things right. 

Advancement in Graveyard Keeper is directly tied to what you accomplish. Actions like chopping wood, picking flowers, and crafting structures reward the player with one of three types of skill points. Physical labour, nature, and spiritual knowledge are represented by red, green, and blue points respectively. These points can purchase technologies that unlock new resources, recipes, crafting items, and perks. This rewards the player for exploring everything, especially with how the different technology trees are so closely intertwined. Performing actions will burn through your energy, which you replenish via food or rest. While you can chow down on berries to burn the midnight oil eventually, the Keeper will grow tired. This very wisely encourages players to go to bed, which has the added effect of saving the game.    

Graveyard Keeper - Technology Trees
In-game Screenshot

The most obvious way to earn money is through selling burial certificates. You get one of these certificates when you lay a body to rest, encouraging the Keeper to do his job. Before disposing of a body, you can choose to operate on it and avoid putting any good bits to waste. Flesh, skin, and brains will prove useful for future endeavours, with you eventually gaining the ability to add embalming fluids. The state of each body and grave affects the graveyard’s rating, which plays a role in opening the church. This is a smart route to take as the church can quickly rake in even more coins as it develops.    

“Toting fantastic names, the three paid DLCs promise six to twelve hours of new content while the first comes with the base game “

Including working with wood and stone resources, players can farm, cook, perform alchemy, write, brew alcohol, fish, and more. Many of these require advanced resources earned from multiple technology trees furthering descent down the rabbit hole. This gives the player a number of goals to work toward immediately after accomplishing the last. Unfortunately, this does create a problem as you can only view crafting recipes at the corresponding table for that item. It’s frustrating needing to run back to your house because you once again misremembered the number of nails needed. There is however something to do along the way to any destination. This helps keep these incidents from going so far as to drag down the experience. 

Along with a day/night cycle, Graveyard Keeper features a week cycle. Days of the week mostly determine when NPCs are available to interact with. These characters have a number of quests you can take on, that raise your relationship rating with them. The DLC adds new storylines like a vampire visiting the village and the extortionist donkey starting a revolution. Even the shop owners have a tier system that determines the items they will sell you based on how much business you give them.     

Graveyard Keeper - Gameplay
In-game Screenshot

Toting fantastic names, the three paid DLCs promise six to twelve hours of new content with the first coming with the base game. Breaking Dead gives players the ability to turn unburied corpses into zombies. This cheap labour allows you to automate your tasks, creating an undead factory. You can even improve their efficiency by putting them under the knife. Stranger Sins dives into the lore of the game while opening up the option to run a tavern. Game of Crones brings a refugee camp under your watch, along with its new storylines. The most recent, Better Save Soul, adds new layers to corpse handling and introduces remote operation.     

“At the end of the day, Graveyard Keeper is exactly what you want out of a management sim. “

At the end of the day, Graveyard Keeper is exactly what you want out of a management sim. The DLC brings in loads of new content, with new characters, objectives, and features that flow nicely with the rest of the game. This gave me something to do, plan for, work on, and explore at every point of my playthrough. From carving gravestones and giving sermons, to hunting dungeon beasts and cooking corpse burgers, I failed to locate a low point in the experience. I should warn that the game is extremely hands-off once it sets you on your way. Some objectives given by certain NPCs are not trackable which can lead to a bit of confusion. I actually didn’t see a tutorial page that explained one of the basic mechanics until after reaching hundred days in-game. 

Graveyard Keeper - NPC / Quest log
In-game Screenshot

If you’re up for a gripping graveyard sim, then you can grab your own copy of Graveyard Keeper with all the DLC on Steam for $41.95. This does include the artbook and original soundtrack. You can also purchase the base game which comes with the Breaking Dead DLC for $19.99. You can purchase Stranger Sins, Game of Crones, and Better Save Soul each separately for $9.99.

*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC, code was provided by the Publisher.

Graveyard Keeper DLC Review
Summary
Graveyard Keeper is a phenomenal management sim that is absolutely bursting with content. Each DLC adds new layers to the gameplay loop while funneling back into your main objectives. Though often bleak in tone, Graveyard Keeper continues to deliver hilarious interactions and imagery at every turn. Simply put, Graveyard Keeper is a must-buy for fans of the genre.
Pros
Fantastic dynamic gameplay
Tons of excellent content
Humorous storylines, dialogue and naming conventions
Cons
Difficult to track crafting recipies
9.5
Writer

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