A Mortician's Tale

released on Oct 18, 2017

A Mortician's Tale is a narrative-driven death positive video game where you play as a mortician tasked with running a funeral home—preparing the cadavers of the deceased (via embalming or cremation), attending their funerals and listening to their loved ones' stories, and running the business.


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you play as a mortician, simply put. you don't just process bodies and send them on their way -- you learn their names, you meet their families and learn who they were as people, because they were people.
it is a heavy experience for being only a few hours long. i know it made me think about things for a while.

a lovely experience with some surprisingly emotional beats. I only wish that there was more of it, especially the last segment of the game, which was kind of abrupt compared to the previous ones. the game uses its detail well, teaching you about the process of body preparation as well as other aspects of the funeral industry while still staying accessible.

A little boring for me - the mortician part gets a little repetitive, and the story is through emails.

Though it’s obviously easy to share the sentiment, all the commentary about corporations taking upon death itself is rather weak. It points out what is certainly happening everywhere, but with an ending dictated with too much of a good heart without thinking about the consequences of actually taking the risk it comes off as naive. The preparation of the deceased through a simple puzzley segment, especially in the cremation process, the stay positive mail list and overall cuteness are probably not the best fit for most of the situations. Yet, there is something in there.
Though simplified as it may be, having to actually prepare each of the deceased gives a bit more insight into the process and labor of a mortician. The mails give new perspectives about death and how to deal with it, sometimes obvious and not that interesting, true, but sometimes hitting the right spot (“Religion provides different paths for dealing with a death, but the goal is almost always the same: offering support, guidance, and ease to the people who are grieving”). Even that cute aesthetic helps to make the process more mundane, in a good sense, considering we are in the perspective of the mortician. But not without respect.
If the game ended up gaining me it was due to the sections where you have to attend the funerals. Due to the protagonist being silent (even if she is implied to communicate at least via email), her role is as simple as necessary, just lending an ear. And not everyone will grieve the same, some will be unable to speak in tears, some will think about if things couldn't have gone differently, some put their mind on how to distract themselves to make it easier… Most importantly, there is one thing that Charlotte will always do before leaving, no matter the complications behind the bureaucracy, including that certain peculiar funeral. She will always bid farewell with a reverence.

A rather short experience, A Mortician's Tale focuses on a mortician, Charlie, as she does her job while also providing players a glimpse into the funeral industry.
Its a good experience! The visuals are cute and the music quite calm and pleasing, fitting the general vibe of the game. Game progression is typically reading your emails and then preparing a body for burial, and then attending said burial to pay your respects.
The gameplay is for the most part simplistic, with the game providing you instructions each step in regards to its main gameplay, that being preparing deceased people for their funerals. The main appeal of the game I personally found was its story and the information it provided about the funeral industry. Its rather interesting, what Charlie goes through as a mortician, the different types of burials, exploitation within the industry, how the people related to the deceased grieve and handle the situation.
My only major problem with the game really is that its quite the short experience; I believe I was about done in less than an hour. It was expected, but it does make me wish for more. It also makes part of a story segment feel a little too sudden than needed.
Overall, its a nice short experience I'd definitely recommend, especially if you're interested in the funeral industry and want to have a little glimpse into what its like. Even if the experience was short, I do think it was a memorable time.