Review: F1 2018, Graveyard Keeper, and State of Mind — Roundup

New games release on Xbox One and PC each week, and it can be quite difficult keeping track of them all, especially during the summer when indie companies are trying to avoid the holiday rush. Some of the games reviewed this week you may not even have heard of. This time around, we’re taking a look at Graveyard Keeper, State of Mind, and F1 2018.

Graveyard Keeper

Graveyard Keeper is what you get when Stardew Valley goes on a date with the macabre. Instead of a cute little farming simulator, you’re treated to a cemetery simulator. No longer will you be maintaining your own agricultural showcase (though you can still farm to an extent); you’ll be burying dead bodies! I promise it’s more fun than it sounds.

I make that Stardew Valley reference because Graveyard Keeper has a lot in common with it, despite some thematic differences. Both contain similar gameplay elements as well as visual styles. Odds are if you’ve played and enjoyed the former, you’ll enjoy the latter too.

In order to maintain the upkeep of your graveyard, you’ll need to do a lot of heavy lifting; chopping down trees, demolishing rocks. That sort of work. Each task expenses a certain amount of energy, and when your energy runs out, you’ll need to hit the hay and rest. While you can use potions and food to regain energy, I still wish the energy meter alone was sufficient enough by itself to last for more than a few minutes. It gets frustrating early on when you can only chop down a couple of trees before you’re spent.

Still, the gameplay is addicting enough that you can overlook this frustration. What most annoyed me was Graveyard Keeper’s “voice acting,” which was just garbled nonsense meant to convey that someone was actually speaking out loud. Lazy Bear Games was likely going for something quirky so that the game wasn’t just silence and text, but it didn’t hit its mark in my opinion.

Stardew Valley’s the cream of the crop in terms of recent releases in the genre, but Graveyard Keeper can hold its own. If you’re looking for something slightly different than usual, give it a try.


Xbox One

This game was reviewed with a code provided by the publisher

State of Mind

Developed by Daedalic Entertainment, State of Mind is described as a “futuristic thriller game delving into transhumanism,” by the company. Does it do just that? Yes. Does it do it well? To an extent.

The game begins in 2048, seemingly taking place in a dystopian future not unlike that of Blade Runner. It’s dreary, the colors are muted, you get the picture. This image is only half of the story, however. Once your character, Richard Nolan, wakes up after an apparent accident, you suddenly realize there’s a whole lot more going on than what’s on the surface. As it turns out, his mind was copied into a virtual utopia where he lives on as Adam Newman. This conspiracy is at the center of State of Mind. It makes for an interesting narrative; one that may have been done better in the past by the copious amount of media focusing on similar subjects, but one that’s compelling nonetheless.

Its graphics appear to be low-poly voxel-based and almost look like something out of Ubisoft’s Grow Home series, albeit with more detail. This gives it a unique aesthetic, but certain scenes lose their emotional impact when you can’t read a character’s face all that well.

As for its controls, they’re clunky. State of Mind’s gameplay requires you to walk around a lot and interact with your environment, so you don’t exactly need precision controls, but even walking can be frustrating when your movements feel sluggish.

State of Mind’s narrative and the universe it develops are certainly its strong suits. Despite some clunky movement controls, it’s a solid game.


Xbox One

This game was reviewed with a code provided by the publisher

F1 2018

I’ll be honest, as big a fan as I am of racing games—I practically grew up on Burnout—F1 2018 isn’t meant for casual players, despite any difficulty options you can choose. It exceeds is giving you a realistic Formula 1 experience at the expense of becoming too intimidating to a lot of players.

Codemasters really went all-in to strive for a realistic simulator. F1 2018 contains dozens of granular customization options and R&D mechanics from tyre allocation and race distance to the chassis, aerodynamics, and powertrain. If you’re not familiar with F1 cars (I’m right there with you) these may not mean much to you, but they add a whole other level to the immersion, for better or worse.

Now onto the most important aspect of the game: its driving. Frankly, I found the cars frustrating to control, although I’m well aware that could be because I’m unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of F1 cars and how they react. It was all too easy for me to spin out going around a bend, even on a car that’s supposed to be easier to handle. However I’d imagine fans of the series will have a lot more luck than I did, and should find the racing quite satisfying.

Is F1 2018 for me? No, it isn’t. But it’s not a bad game. For hardcore F1 fans, this could be exactly the type of game you’re looking for. While it won’t be accessible for a number of players, it provides a realistic experience without actually jumping behind the wheel in real life.


Xbox One

This game was reviewed with a code provided by the publisher

The highlight of this roundup is easily Graveyard Keeper. State of Mind and F1 2018 will definitely appeal to the right crowd, so give them a shot if they look interesting to you.

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