Weird and Wonderful: “Graveyard Keeper”

Gaming is one of my biggest hobbies, and something I already write about regularly for the Michigan Daily. Over the past year especially, I’ve grown obsessed with simulation games. Animal Crossing New Horizons and Stardew Valley are two that have completely taken over the world of gaming, but there’s a ton of variety in the genre. One of the best examples of a unique management sim is Graveyard Keeper, which I recently got hooked on.

Graveyard Keeper begins with your character being magically transported from the present day to medieval times. Once there, it’s decided by a talking skull and a bishop that you are to be the new graveyard keeper. Shortly thereafter, you get – you guessed it – your very first corpse to bury!


The main quest line of the game revolves around you trying to find your way home, but along the way you learn to manage the graveyard, climb the church leadership ladder, and use the locals and their resources to your advantage. One of your first quests is gathering wood and iron to fix the gravesites you’ve inherited, which unlocks a slew of side quests. 


Much of the game revolves around these side quests, whether that’s smuggling magical items from the nearby town or increasing the success rate of your sermons. Each completed side quest earns you points with characters, which can be exchanged for information, items, or further quests. 

Another aspect of the game that is surprisingly complex is the technology system, in which the player can spend three types of points on new “technologies”. There are eight different categories to upgrade, each with their own point requirements. These points are earned through specific actions — red points via physical labor, green via interacting with nature, and blue via studying and writing. Managing these points and unlocking technologies is key to completing quests, as it goes hand-in-hand with resource management.


The gameplay loop of gathering materials, crafting, unlocking technologies, finishing quests, and repeat is addicting. Every time I enter the world of Graveyard Keeper, I end up playing for hours without realizing it. The “just one more quest” mentality takes over, and I find myself wanting to keep unlocking new content to see what lies ahead for my little time traveler.


Not only is the gameplay unique and intricate, but the visual component of the game is as well. The pixel art is devilishly delightful, including the tiniest of details. Miniature skulls remain after witch burnings, flowers made of a mere few pixels dot the landscape, and little stone grave fences have defined texture.

The games’s developers, indie studio Lazy Bear Games, advertise Graveyard Keeper as “the most inaccurate medieval graveyard management game,” and even if there was competition, this game would still win my heart with its dark-yet-wacky narrative and charming stylistic details. For those who, like myself, are entertained by macabre humor, this casual game will quickly become one of your most played.


Graveyard Keeper is available on PC, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android.

Harper Klotz

Harper Klotz is a Senior studying Creative Writing and Communication. Her column "Weird and Wonderful" is an opportunity to share the strange, unknown, and just-plain-goofy art she loves with others. Music, film, theatre, and literature are her main interests, but wherever there's something wacky, she'll be there to see it.

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