Mr Jones Graveyard Shift Review

A time management game about running a cemetery? Have game developers been watching too many horror movies?

Game window

Mr Jones thought he had his retirement all set with his new house in the forest and his faithful dog Kranky. Unfortunately, Mr Jones has found he can't live without his girlfriend Mimi who wants him to join her in the Caribbean. The problem is that Mimi has some REALLY EXPENSIVE tastes and needs things like a yacht and a million dollars in spending money! What's Mr Jones to do? How will he raise that money?

By opening a cemetery, of course!

It sort of strange that a time management game would be based around those who have eternity to deal with but that's the premise of Mr Jones Graveyard Shift. Mr Jones will attempt to raise the money so he can join his demanding girlfriend by selling graves ranging from very modest plots to lavish crypts for VIPs and the wealthy.

Let's see how he plans on doing this.

Tool Bar

The game starts in Mr Jones' yard next to the empty field that will become the graveyard. You can move Mr Jones by either right clicking on a location or selecting the walk icon from the toolbar (shown above) at the bottom of the window and left clicking on the location you want to go to. No that you can move Mr Jones, let's find some customers.

Customer Icon
A customer is here!
Talking to a customer
Talking to a customer
Now and then, a square with the picture of a vehicle will appear on the lower right side of the game window. This indicates that a customer has arrived and is waiting in front of the house; click on the square and Mr Jones will walk to the vehicle. Click on the person next to the car to find out what kind of funeral they want.

The customer will tell you what they would like at the funeral and the price range they are considering. The important information you should get from the conversation is:

1) They will NOT pay you more than the maximum amount of money they have stated regardless of what you put near the grave.
2) You don't HAVE to give them what they request. In many cases, that would cost you more than what the customer has already stated they will pay.
3) If you give them something extra they DIDN'T ask for, they will still pay extra for it.
4) They will pay LESS if you give them something they said they didn't want.

Now that you have a customer, let's get to work.

Supply boxes
Get supplies
from these
Fancy Grave
Make sure customers
will pay for extras.
Click on the shovel icon to dig a grave, then left click on the area where you want it placed, move the cursor with the mouse and a green oblong rectangle will appear. When it's in the proper position, left click on it and Mr Jones will start digging the grave. Once the grave is dug, you can put three types of items around it: flowers, a headstone, and other decorative items. You can find these items in the appropriate boxes located at the top left and bottom right of the cemetery. Click on the icons in the tool bar will move Mr Jones to the closest one.

The headstones range from pine board crosses to elaborate and expensive stone monuments. Remember to get a headstone that matches the customer's price range or the funeral will cost you more than the customer will pay! Flowers also come in a wide variety of types and prices. The other structures are a bit more varied and include items such as benches and fountains of different qualities as well as other items such as lamp posts.

Funeral Service
After everything is in place, select the chisel tool to engrave the deceased's name on the headstone. If you are working on several graves for different customers, be sure to select the proper name. Once the name is chiseled onto the headstone, a coffin will fall from the sky into the previously empty grave and the funeral party will arrive. After the funeral, talk to the man standing beside the hearse to collect your money. Clicking on the square with the dollar sign will move Mr Jones to the customer to get paid.

Your pay will be determined by how well your followed directions. The customer gives you a price range and you try to prepare a funeral that will pay the maximum amount. You will not get any more than the maximum amount stated so don't place $50 worth of items around a grave for a funeral with a $25 maximum budget. Adding items increases the bill while adding items the customer specifically asked for will generate the largest increase in the bill. Conversely, adding items the customer specifically asked NOT to include will generate a penalty that lowers the bill.

That's the basic gameplay but there's a few more features that add even more interest to the game.

Supply Van
Click to go to
the supply van
You start the game with a limited number of supplies and, once they're gone, you must buy some more. A square with a van on it will appear next to the ones with customer vehicles indicating the supply van has arrived. Click on the supply van square to move Mr Jones to the van. Click on the person standing beside the van to open the buy supplies window. Buying too many items at once will leave you short of cash and unable to purchase items needed to fulfill customer requests.

Nothing ruins a funeral
more than a zombie!
After the funeral is over and you have been paid, you can remove items and use them on new graves. The problem is that removing items from a grave lowers its value and causes the deceased to rise from their graves as zombies!! Zombies aren't really what paying customers want to see and cause a penalty that lowers what new customers will pay. To get rid of the zombies, you must add items to restore the original value to the grave.

A little planning goes a long way to maximize your profits. Some customers will request the grave be placed by a small tree and will pay extra for it. These locations are limited and should be saved for more expensive funerals that will pay the highest premium for the location. You can also add walk ways to the graves which will increase their value. The longer the walkway, the more expensive it is, so place the premium graves closest to the gate. You have two days to complete the funeral arrangements which means you don't have to get the graves ready in the order that they appear. In some cases, you may want to complete several less expensive funerals in order to use the money to buy expensive items for higher budget graves.

As time goes on, the game window will get dark meaning night time has arrived. Mr Jones can continue working or he can go to bed. Working at night is difficult since you can't see anything but sometimes necessary in order to complete a grave site. Click on the house if you want Mr Jones to go to sleep for the night. Before he goes to sleep, Mimi's list will appear with a selection of items that you can get. Remember, if you buy too many items, you'll run out of cash to buy items for new grave sites.

Mimi's list

At this point, you must be thinking "I don't believe this! A casual game review about a graveyard? All I can say is that Mr Jones Graveyard Shift is a really bizarre concept for a game but it really works. The time element is different from many time management games since it allows players as much time as they want to gather the needed money. Graves must be completed in two days but how quickly you gather money is up to you. This feature gives the game the feel of a "Graveyard Tycoon" type sim. Some may be put off by the morbid concept of the game and anyone involved in funeral arrangements of a loved one knows that funerals aren't fun at all. Mr Jones Graveyard Shift, however, is NOT real life and those able to view the theme of the game in the proper context will find it clever, imaginative, engrossing and a lot of fun.

This is how I rate Mr Jones Graveyard Shift

Cost - VERY CHEAP at $6.99

Available Platforms - PC Only

Gameplay - Wide variety of tasks and graveyard management keeps the game challenging.

Graphics - Very good

Originality - A time management game based on a graveyard? I'd say that's a new idea!

Strong Points - Interesting gameplay, original concept, and a large variety of tasks keep this game engrossing.

Weak Points - Impatient players may not care for the slow start caused by the constant tutorial hints. The tutorial hints, however, are needed to learn how to play the game and can be easily turned off.

Boredom/Frustration Ratio: 1/1 - The gameplay presents increasing challenges without ever getting impossible. New items becoming available keep the gameplay from getting stale.

Overall Rating: 9 -

Conclusion:Mr Jones Graveyard Shift creates a "sim" like environment that challenges and entertains. The concept is very original but may turn some players away. Those that give Mr Jones Graveyard Shift a try will be rewarded by a unique gaming experience and will certainly be glad they did.

Download Mr Jones Graveyard Shift from The Shareware Genie and try it for one hour free. The price has been reduced to $6.99