October 31, 2012

Farming / Tower Defense Hybrid Grave Maker Rises from the Development Tomb

Considering that it’s Halloween today, it’s a good day for a horror-themed game to get a launch. To that end, the folks at YoYo Games have officially launched their newest title, Grave Maker, now available on Facebook (NewsAlert), Android tablets and via the Web thanks to HTML5.

The iPad-specific version is set to follow later, but for now, there will be plenty of ways to get in on this.

Billed as a combination tower defense and social farming game, Grave Maker allows users to farm an army of ghouls, revenants and assorted similar beasties by way of the graveyard under the user’s control as the town’s gravedigger.

Users’ task then becomes twofold: first, create an army of fiends via the graveyard, and two, use that army to defend the graveyard from a horde of angry villagers that doesn’t much care for the fact that someone’s using the town cemetery to yield a pile of monstrosities that may well be turned against them one day, especially by the guy they likely hired to watch the place.

While planting and fielding an army of undead horrors is important – users begin with skeletons, but can progress from there to things like zombies, werewolves and mummies – of equal importance is, oddly, style. Users will have the ability to set out set pieces like evil trees and sarcophagi to bump up the sheer foreboding level of the graveyard.

Grave Maker – according to the head of publishing at YoYo Games, Stuart Poole – represents "the most complex game we’ve made so far," citing "its innovative cross-platform, single-account profiles, high production values and deep gameplay" as points in its favor.

The game plays reasonably well, and offers plenty of variety, which should make it a nice shot of something short to break up the day. Indeed, the ability to start playing on one platform like Facebook, and then transfer that same information to, say, the Web-based version later, gives it an extra edge in a hotly-competitive marketplace.

That competition is going to put a lot of heat on Grave Maker, though – casual gaming has come a long way and boasts a lot of competition in the marketplace – so it remains to be seen if this one can go the distance against its many competitors. It certainly does have the chops to at least compete, though it’s clear Halloween theme may work against it when it’s, say, November 19, or a bright and sunny May morning.

Still though, for a shot of something short and spooky that goes most anywhere, Grave Maker is one to take a closer look at.

Edited by Braden Becker


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