'Graveyard Keeper' Preview: Edgy Sense Of Humor Meets Familiar 'Stardew Valley' Mechanics For Capitalist Murder Shenanigans

graveyard keeper
A screenshot from upcoming cemetery management sim Graveyard Keeper. (c) Lazy Bear Games, tinyBuild

Graveyard Keeper is a tongue-in-cheek management sim that capitalizes on the success of Stardew Valley while strictly maintaining its own identity. Sure it’s got the adorable pixel art and the crafting mechanics, but it’s a vehicle for dubious capitalist practices and shady corner-cutting, not happy marriages and that humble farmer shtick. If you’re not making hot dogs out of corpses to save that extra dosh, you’re not getting the full and proper Graveyard Keeper experience.

Graveyard Keeper comes from the makers of Punch Club, a boxing management sim, so it’s not like Graveyard Keeper is some cheap attempt to rip off of Stardew Valley entirely. The element of satire is certainly there, but in the demo I played, every other line of dialogue was worthy of an actual laugh.

You’re immediately accosted by a floating skull, the graveyard’s previous keeper, who directs you to a dungeon below the graveyard after a body mysteriously disappears. You locate it after killing a couple bats and collecting their bits, then drag it up a ladder and into your house. You emerge from your house with the body slung over your shoulder, kill a priest in a panic, then dispose of his body.

But you harvest the brain first for your floating skull friend, cram the brain in so that it can access the priest’s memories and explain what happened with the first body’s mysterious disappearance, and proceed to go through the business of bodies: gathering wood for a cross, processing and crafting it, digging a hole, dumping the body, burying it…

The demo was so short I felt deprived once it ended. Graveyard Keeper ’s sense of humor can come across as a little heavy and self-conscious (see, we’re edgy! We’re not pure and wholesome like that other pixel art management sim set in a village-like location) but is also genuinely funny. The floating skull, the immediate introduction to a simple dungeon with some light combat, the more prosaic tasks of completing a grave all promise both plot and variation.

What I’m really curious about is how the LazyBearGames and tinyBuild team plan to support Graveyard Keeper after it comes out, hopefully around Halloween. I need so much DLC. I need so much free expansion content. I need so much mod support. I already know that I need all these things.

Will I get them? Way too early to tell - Graveyard Keeper is still at the point in development where my floating skull buddy blocked my way out of a building, keeping me from moving anywhere but back inside. (He seems like the kind of guy to do that anyway for kicks.) But between the laughs, the aesthetic and my overwhelming love of both management sims and shady capitalist antics, I can already tell that I’m going to love Graveyard Keeper .

Are you interested in the Punch Club crew’s tongue-in-cheek management sim? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

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