Does the simulation genre have to be realistic? Ideally, yes, but occasionally there is room for a bit of light-hearted relief. Luckily, this is where Graveyard Keeper: Last Journey Edition comes to the fore. Originally released in 2018, you may be wondering why I’m reviewing such an old game. Well, the Last Journey Edition has recently been released on console and it comprises every DLC to date. Consequently, I wanted to write about this excellent game as I believe it shouldn’t be missed.
Developed by Lazy Bear Games and published by tinyBuild, this is an amusing RPG simulation title. What’s more, it has some colourful characters, some questionable moments, and a morbid Harvest Moon edge to the equation. Moreover, there is fishing, resource gathering, festivals, recipes, and a talking skull. Therefore, it’ll tick many boxes. However, if one of your boxes is a talking skull, I suggest checking in with the doctor to see if you are okay.
Graveyard Keeper: Last Journey Edition tells a macabre tale.
The saying, “You never know when your time is up” is painfully correct. Subsequently, one moment you can be enjoying your best life and planning to meet your loved one, and then suddenly, you are struck down in your prime. Disappointingly for the protagonist, this is exactly what happens. However, instead of entering Heaven or Hell, he becomes the latest resident of a strange land. Furthermore, he is charged with becoming the new graveyard keeper, whether he likes it or not.
Determined to get back to his loved one, the hero will do whatever he can to appease those in charge and open a passage to his land. However, this is easier said than done, as everyone wants a piece of him. The Bishop demands that he maintain and appease the locals. The Inquisitor wants to burn every witch in sight, and finally, the talking skull doesn’t know what it wants. Accordingly, you are left to your own devices as you carve a path in this strange graveyard-keeping simulation title.
So much content.
The day-to-day running of the graveyard is pretty straightforward. Like its peers, you must manage your stamina, gather goods, and complete an array of side quests. Additionally, you are tasked with building new structures, opening secret tunnels, and managing every body that comes your way. Yet, where Graveyard Keeper: Last Journey Edition is different, is its grotesque but amusing elements.
You must decide what to do with each body you are given! Do you cut out every vital organ and drain the blood? Alternatively, do you bury them respectfully while increasing the appeal of your church? Whatever you decide has a vast impact on how the game progresses. However, ultimately, each path leads to the same result, so your choices are effectively mute.
If cutting up bodies isn’t your thing, you can slay monsters, explore dungeons, or fish for food and goods. As long as you are gathering items and repairing your graveyard, you are bound to be helping someone out. Moreover, the further your progress, the closer you are to getting home.
Quests and skill trees.
With plenty to see and do, I wasn’t surprised the skill tree was unbelievably massive! The hero earns XP in the form of green, red, and blue gems. Each one is allocated depending on the tasks you have completed. If you study, garden, or do manual labour, you’ll earn a smattering of XP. This is then used to unlock new items or skills, and you can then improve the quality of your graveyard, tools, and the food you eat.
Alongside this, Graveyard Keeper: Last Journey Edition demands that you undertake a mind-blowing number of quests. There is a central quest line with steep requirements that takes up most of your time. While you try to follow this path, you’ll have to unlock blocked routes, repair buildings, and undertake questionable jobs. On top of this, you can complete plenty of side quests to improve your XP and earn some gold. These tasks also help to improve your relationship with the locals, so it doesn’t hurt to focus on them now and then.
The DLC is impressive.
Normally, I turn my nose up at any DLC on offer. As a general rule, it isn’t worth the money, and it rarely adds enough to make it worthwhile. However, Graveyard Keeper: Last Journey Edition breaks the mould with its 4 unique additions. The excellent DLC bulks out the story perfectly while enhancing the amusing and morbid nature of the core game.
Each additional chapter adds hours of gameplay as well as some amusing events. Moreover, they expand each key player’s role in the game. Whether you help people to challenge the Inquisitor, or you build your own bar, it adds plenty of tasks and interesting ways to find out about your neighbours. On top of this, you’ll master automation to make things easier and cleanse a friend of their sins. Whichever path you tackle first matters not, as you’ll enjoy the madness alongside the core gameplay.
Graveyard Keeper: Last Journey Edition is polished but old-school.
I love the sombre and melancholy aesthetics. Furthermore, the pixelated graphics and large world are phenomenal to look at. Additionally, the varied backdrops and locations are equally great. Whether it is the farm, swamp, or dungeon that you are exploring, they never get old. On top of this, the UI helps to alleviate any problems. With so much content and the deep skill tree, it could have been horrible to play. However, the developers have done a great job of keeping things simple.
The visuals are perfectly old-school. What’s more, the audio follows suit with its whimsy and folksy tones. The day-to-day action is accompanied by a blend of upbeat and medieval songs. This was fantastic, as it matched the tongue-in-cheek nature of much of the action. Alongside this, the basic sound effects are often OTT but brilliant at the same time.
Though there are plenty of tasks to complete and an array of unusual jobs to undertake, Graveyard Keeper: Last Journey Edition is surprisingly easy to play. The developers haven’t overcomplicated the matter, and this was fantastic. Many of the actions require a single button press and managing your inventory or the skill tree was a cinch. Thanks to the aforementioned UI, all the fiddly elements are simplified, and this ensures that you can focus on the job at hand.
This is an incredibly large game to undertake. Thanks to the time-consuming quests, the never-ending demand for resources, and the amusing characters you interact with, you’ll play this for hours. On top of this, the amazing DLC enhances the experience further.
Graveyard Keeper: Last Journey Edition is a brilliantly whimsy title.
Running a graveyard shouldn’t be this fun. However, Graveyard Keeper: Last Journey Edition proves that you shouldn’t have preconceived ideas. Whether you are growing vegetables for a merchant, draining blood from corpses, or helping the local blacksmith, there is plenty to do. As such, this is one indie game that will impress you from the off. I adored this brilliantly whimsy title and I recommend that you buy it here! Can you complete every task and find a way home? Help the locals, improve the church, and become the best graveyard keeper ever.