Mr. Jones' Graveyard Shift
Running a graveyard is certainly not common scenery for a casual game, but that is exactly what the player will have to do in Mr. Jones' Graveyard Shift. However, if the soil at Mr. Jones graveyard is as buggy as the game itself, we can only pity his future customers.
Just when Mr. Jones has finally settled himself in a peaceful cottage in the woods with his dog, he starts to feel lonely. It is hard to understand what he originally expected from this move, since the woods isn't exactly bursting with people and entertaining distractions. It seems like fate when his old love Mimi calls him from the Caribbean to suggest that both of them could spend the rest of their lives together. However, her vision for the future involves Mr. Jones buying her all sorts of presents, from elegant sunglasses to a not-so-cheap Hacienda. And what is the first idea that comes to mind when you really want to have the time of your life with you true love? Right, let's open a graveyard!
Your customers arrive by different vehicles, whose appearance already indicates how the burial will turn out. In the beginning mainly old and dirty trucks will stop by at your graveyard, while later on rich and eccentric characters will visit in long sedans and even helicopters. Mr. Jones Graveyard Shift slightly varies the usual time management concept in that you have as much time as you want to reach your main goal, which is to buy all the presents that Mimi requests. However, if you decide to prepare a grave for someone, you only have two days to complete this task.
Depending on the customer's wealth, there are different price ranges that your customers are willing to pay. The really poor ones may be able to acquire graves worth $5 to $25, while the really rich people usually expect tombs costing between $6,000 and $100,000. The creation of a tomb is easy and funny at the same time, as strange as this may sound at first. You'll start by digging the grave, and can decorate it with a lot of different objects from three categories. By hovering over the fresh grave, you can see where you have to place these items so that they are still in the sphere of influence of this grave.
The items you can purchase as decoration include flowers, such as roses, daisies, orchids or purple cosmos; tombstones that vary from very poor and basic crosses to huge, golden monuments; and other items like large statues, a vending machine (in case visitors to the grave get thirsty), or a huge block of gold. While decorating a grave for a customer, you have to take numerous factors into account. For one thing, customers often have specific requests which items they prefer or dislike. Also, if two graves are too close to each other, this lessens their worth, while a path connecting graves with the entry of the graveyard increase the value.
Your possibilities to design and arrange Mr. Jones Graveyard are nearly unlimited, and the smart combination of less time pressure, yet still challenging goals might appeal to both people who enjoy classic time management titles and those who normally dislike the tight schedules of similar games. Apart from that, the refreshing setting and the really impressive graphics - although they might not be everyone's cup of tea due to the slightly morbid topic of the game - speak in Mr. Jones' Graveyard Shift's favor.
Regrettably, the game doesn't fully live up to its great potential. The controls are really complicated to learn and could have been more intuitive. As it is now, you have to click manually through the different actions Mr. Jones can perform, which really inhibits the pace of the game. Far worse are the various bugs and glitches that make it hard to enjoy the game. It kept crashing constantly, bought items disappeared, and sometimes, when I returned to the game I suddenly had less money than before, or the reputation of my graveyard had skyrocketed without me doing anything.
Mr. Jones Graveyard Shift basically is an interesting and innovative mixture between tycoon and time management game. If it weren't for the unacceptable amount of bugs, the game would easily have received a considerably higher rating, but for as it is we can only recommend it to really patient and forgiving players.
- Innovative setting. Above-average graphics. Decent length. Numerous items to purchase. Graveyard is totally customizable.
- Some major bugs and minor glitches really spoil the game's actual quality. Tricky controls. Theme of the game might deter some players.