Author: Jerome J.J. Rooy
Play as a bounty hunter that found their way into The Forbidden Stronghold which is ruled by The Skeleton King. To get to the treasure the player will have to defeat him, and defeat him again, then again…the idea isn’t hard to miss.
Grave Keeper is a top-down hack and slash by Baldur Games, ported from mobile to PC. The objective is for the player, The Bounty Hunter, to kill the Skeleton King and steal his treasure. The player is made aware of this by Arryn, the game’s guide, who has a more detailed aesthetic compared to the rest of the game. In addition, she also mentions how pathetic the player is, but they can get stronger by continually beating waves of various monster reskins, which are effectively the core of the game.
Grave Keeper is available on Steam for your regional pricing.
Grave Keeper has quite a simplistic story. It merely serves as a means of giving the player context when beginning the game. The player upon starting the game is told by Arryn in slightly awkward English that they have walked into The Forbidden Stronghold and should be wary of enemies. Later, Arryn tells the player that in order to gain the treasures within the stronghold they will have to defeat The Skeleton King.
The core gameplay consists of the player waddling around a small battlefield, avoiding monster attacks and attacking back. Movement can be a little bit robotic though for the most part moving around is not any trouble. The player is given three weapons to attack with; a crossbow, a sword, and a special move.
The tutorial for Grave Keeper is adequate at best. The player is dropped into battles, whereby a particular function of gameplay is introduced. Thereafter, upon completing a battle the player enters a battle, which introduces another function. The game continues this process until all functions of the gameplay are covered.
Grave Keeper‘s controls are quite simplistic. The player’s movement is controlled by the by four keys; ‘W’ (up), ‘A’ (left), ‘S’ (down) and ‘D’ (right). Other additional controls for attacks, item use, and the pause menu. Firstly, attacks are designated to left-click (crossbow), right-click (sword) and ‘Space’ (special attack, which hits multiple enemies at once). Secondly, item use is merely just the use of health potions through ‘Q’. Finally, the pause menu is reached through ‘E’, where the player can find daily quests, missions, the in-game shop, and auto attack boss option.
Grave Keeper allows players to buy different weapons, melee weapons and upgrade said weapons. Although there is an option for swords, maces, and scythes, each weapon choice has identical functionality. Therefore, there is no reason to use one over the other, as it does not alter gameplay in the slightest. The upgrades serve no purpose as well as these essentially boost damage, however, enemies still require the same amount of hits to die.
Daily quests, Missions, and Shop
The game’s pause menu houses daily quests, missions, and its in-game shop. There is nothing noteworthy of daily quests, as it is implied that completing these quests award the player with either health potions, coins and so on. Mission themselves are simply the objectives the player has to complete in order to progress to the next level, and Arryn tells the player the requirements they must meet to complete missions (which are quite simplistic, for example; Kill 25 enemies or beat 3 bosses). The in-game shop is where the player can acquire coins and power stones through gems (Grave Keeper‘s currency). Although seemingly set up for microtransactions, the player never has to purchase anything, besides the game, with real money.
Graphics and Audio
Grave Keeper had little to offer both graphically and audially. The game has been developed in Unreal Engine 4, and as expected from a mobile port, the graphics are quite average. Although the cartoonish aesthetic helps the game, character models were stiff and the controls for ‘The Bounty Hunter’ felt a bit off. However, the enemy’ movement appeared much smoother than the player’s own movement. The game’s sound effects are passable at best, but the soundtrack is terrible. It is a 5-second piece played on an endless loop.
In conclusion, Grave Keeper offers little for the player to enjoy. It lacks a sufficient story, which fails to give the game context. Furthermore, it falls short with its lack of variation in gameplay when using different melee weapons and repetitive mission, meaning there is no replayability unless one is trying to pass the time. In addition, graphically and audially Grave Keeper falls much shorter due to its repetitiveness with enemies, level designs, and the endless looped 5-second piece.
|+ Simple combat||– Repetitive gameplay|
|+ Solid foundation||– Uninspired soundtrack|
|– Lack of gameplay variation|
|– Zero replayability|