By Crystal Colwell / January 2nd, 2014
|Title: The Grave Digger
Publisher: Home Groan Games
Developer: Home Groan Games
Release Date: May 30, 2013
Platforms: PC and Linux
Age Rating: N/A
I tend to hoard up PC games, and play them when I have time. I love the Humble Bundles and other sales like that! I saw The Grave Digger being advertised somewhere for only a few dollars, and decided to see what the game was all about. It’s a creepy-looking dude robbing graves! I had to have it! Would I fall in love with The Grave Digger or play it for five minutes and lay it to rest?
The Grave Digger is a dark-themed puzzle game. The game starts with a couple of guys sitting around having a drink. They are discussing paying rent and talking, as guys do. Tully is definitely drunk as he contemplates quitting their jobs and starting a new business. He mentions Fagus being good with a shovel… One of the first things you will notice is that the character graphics are not the highest standard HD graphics around. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: give me a great game with awesome gameplay and I don’t care about graphics! I looked past the character models, and dug into the game. After a short scene, Tully and Fagus are standing outside a graveyard. Tully says he will stand watch as you see what goodies are to be had inside!
The Grave Digger does a great job of explaining everything that is going on. It tells you how to dig up a grave, how to run from certain ghosts and what different items that you see in the graveyard will do. Since the ghosts kill you if they catch you, that’s handy information to have! A screen pops up with an introduction, basically telling you how to play the game. You can use the arrow keys or WASD. I used the arrow keys. Hitting tab will let you see your inventory. As new ghosts are available on harder levels, the game gives you a description of each of them. You only see this one time, after which point the game assumes you know what is going on. It also explains what the Blessed Beacons and other items are. Once a Blessed Beacon is activated, you will start back at the beacon if you die, instead of the entrance to the graveyard.
As you start each level, you see the entry to a graveyard. Seems legit. It is very spooky! Tully shows up talking about “what you do.” He is, of course, talking about robbing graves. He gives you some information on who is buried in the graveyard and what spoils they were buried with. It’s a bit odd to be standing there discussing the deceased and what expensive items are laying with their rotted corpses. Odd, but in a fun way! His list becomes your objective. You must get the items he tells you about before you can leave the graveyard. Until then, you are locked inside with all the riches and the ghosts! You enter the graveyard to begin your search. The first thing that happens is this super creepy sound effect of the gate closing, which sets the mood. It’s raining, it’s dark and you are locked in a graveyard. Nice! Start to walk around, get a feel for the layout of the graveyard and see what sorts of things you can get into.
On each level of the game, you have to figure out the puzzle. Figure out where to go first, which graves you have to dig up and how to keep from getting killed as you do so. Each level brings about a new challenge – a new layout and new ghosts who want to kill you for desecrating their graveyard! You can explore parts of the graveyard before you desecrate it and bring about any ghosts. Since this is a puzzle game, you may not be able to explore much of some levels in the beginning. You will have to find a key in a grave to open certain gates. As you get farther into the game, the puzzle aspect becomes more and more challenging, which is to be expected.
The ghosts become harder to get away from, the layouts get more tricky and the puzzle aspect is kicked into high gear. In one of the levels, you have to play around with quite a few switches. You need to get a set of gates open enough for you to get through, but closed in the right spot to trap a ghost! I had a blast figuring out the puzzles, but I did get aggravated a time or two.
Each level is playable on a different difficulty setting. Once you complete a level, you are taken to a screen that shows all the available levels. Finish one level, and click to start the next. Once you choose a level, you are asked which difficulty setting you want. You can pick Easy, Normal and Hard. On Easy, you have five lives, and the graves are shallow. On Normal, you get three lives, and graves are the standard depth. Hard, which I have yet to try out, gives you only one life. The graves are deeper, Blessed Beacons are limited and extra ghosts spawn. When digging a grave, you focus solely on that as you dig deeper and deeper. Your field of vision narrows considerably, and you won’t be able to see the ghosts coming at you. This makes a huge difference considering how, on Hard, you only have one life.
Graphically, certain parts of the game looks great! Your character isn’t the best looking character ever, as I mentioned above. Since you mainly just see his back end as you are walking, this didn’t matter much to me. The graveyards are detailed enough that you can see different rocks and grass on the ground. The graves all look similar but the ghosts are different and the layout of each graveyard is different as well. This helps keep the game from becoming repetitive.
The sound effects and the music in The Grave Digger are spectacular! They do exactly what they should. They enhance the game in all aspects. Creepy things become creepier, for sure! The sound of the gate closing always makes me feel as though I am quite screwed! The creaking, and then that final click let me know that I am stuck here until I complete my objective. That is quite a high compliment coming from me, since those of you who have read previous reviews know that I listen to the effects, music and voice acting enough to form an opinion, and that’s it. After that, I blare some other music while I game. Everything from the bells tolling, to the sounds of the ghosts and the sounds that Fagus makes as he walks are done in the highest quality. The Bride ghost crying her eyes out is quite unsettling! I hate her, by the way. She is a huge pain in the ass. She has no set territory, and I can’t seem to outrun her. I hear her weeping followed by the terror-filled scream of Fagus, as he dies quite often. The characters are voice acted, and this, too, is done in a high quality manner.
Depending on your level of skill, and how many times you want to replay each level on a different difficulty, you could spend five hours or 40 with this game. Those of you who want to prove just how great you are at desecrating graves on the hardest levels will put massive amounts of time into the game. There are a few other fun things to discover as you play, in addition to digging up the graves. There is buried treasure that you can find a map to, and things like that. I purchased my copy while the game was on sale, but even at the full price of $5.99, you can’t go wrong! Grab your wallet, and dig into The Grave Digger! Don’t believe me? Try a free demo here!
Game was purchased by reviewer.
Home Groan GamesThe Grave Digger