Reviews from

in the past

something i think this game does really well is reveal the politics of an industry that i never really thought about before but obviously must exist. how, like in every industry, capitalism strangles the humanity out of everyone involved, the workers and the people who should be grieving with dignity and peace of mind; how our most popular and profitable methods of funeral are damaging to the environment but those damages are ignored for the sake of profit; how the same systems that manipulate us into spending as much money as possible on services both essential and frivolous dressed up in the language of care are the same ones that warp our perceptions of how our bodies should be valued and how we think about them in life and in death. this stuff is portrayed in deeply upsetting ways that feel very true to me and i'm sure anyone else who's ever found themselves enveloped and chewed up by a corporate system.
the game explores other elements of the death industry that are fascinating and difficult and hopeful in equal measure. exploring the push and pull between a funeral's place as being for the departed and for the people they leave behind. exploring modern and alternative types of funeral services. education about the legal realities of funerals, and the ways people who work in the death industry may be compelled to disrespect the wishes of the deceased in varieties of ways.
sometimes i think the game's point of view when discussing and in one case (the chapter that addresses suicide) depicting some issues is overly narrow and a little clumsy, but in a game whose aim is to be broadly educational about a subject that is both wide-ranging and relatively obscure i think that sort of shallowness is forgivable in the long view.
the game's position as explicitly death-positive and its mission statement of trying to expose a different, more human side of the concept of death and funerals is great, imo, and it works, and i think it's smart that it does that while still being critical of the ways the larger systems of the industry fail people and communities.
clearly the devs at Laundry Bear are passionate and knowledgeable and packed a lot to chew on into a brief, pleasant playable package. i was glad i finally got around to this one.

Cremated a dude with a big chungus t-shirt.

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.

Doesn't really have that much to say in the end.

A Mortician's Tale can be completed in under an hour, and while some mechanics can be repetitive and slow, it does bring to light some thoughts surrounding death. This game is not made for riveting gameplay, but it does present some interesting technology and issues in the "death industry".

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.

Short game with a surprisingly touching story, it explores a lot of interesting topics during its short runtime. I wish the gameplay was a little more varied, but most of the game is just reading anyways and it's not that long, so not a huge complaint.

Short game about the job of a mortician, I learned a lot about the embalming and cremation process

While its gameplay is very repetitive, it's to the game's benefit as it's an excellent look into the funeral industry, even later commenting on the industry and its exploitation of people in a state of loss and despair for financial benefit vs. people who genuinely wish to help send off lost loved ones with care and respect for those left behind. Or even in one instance, with no loved ones left behind just done in honor of the person that passed.
This is one of those "it's not a game so much as an experience" and it's worth checking out.

The artstyle is cool on the eyes if a little too simple for its subject matter i feel.

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.

Aprecio lo didáctico que es y como trata de naturalizar la muerte y darle está visión más rutinaria.
Pero, a nivel mecánico es simplón, a nivel narrativo nada del otro mundo y, a nivel emocional... no me ha llegado.

Less of a game and more of an interactive short story, A Mortician's Tale gives you a glimpse into the interesting, if somewhat morbid world of one who cleans, embalms, and cremate corpses. The premise is intriguing enough, but ultimately, the tale being told here is nothing groundbreaking.
I'm a pretty squeamish person, so I appreciate that the graphics of this game are somewhat cute and stylized. If I had to clean and preserve realistic corpses, I would be done with this game in seconds. The art style, while simple, makes the so-called "death industry" far more digestible than it is in real life.
I knew going into this game that it would be short and story-based, so I wasn't expecting riveting gameplay. That being said, I wish they could have done a LITTLE more to make what little play there is a tad more interesting. I suppose the repetitive gameplay loop is slightly intentional, as you're meant to ponder on what it means to be involved in a "death industry", but the lack of shake-ups left me wanting more.
As I mentioned, this is a game that emphasizes its story. I expected more choices to make this aspect of the game interesting, but there's only one such choice to be found and I don't believe it has any bearing on how the story unfolds (I believe said choice exists as an accessibility option more than anything, which I can appreciate). The game only lets you in on the plot through emails, with your character's day-to-day life and conversations being implied rather than directly shown to you. It's a neat way to tell a story, but I would have liked to see more on-screen development to see how the main character reached her (admittedly, heartwarming) decision by the end of the game.

We're all going to be okay, I think.

very cute little game :) and educational! i learned so much within the short hour and a half i played it, from all the processes that go into embalming and cremating, to the environmental impact of these, to greener alternatives that i never knew about, such as water cremation (which saves 66% electricity and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 90% compared to regular flame cremation)! also, it is very decidedly anti-capitalist, which is always a big plus in my book hehe.
the thing i think i found most helpful about this game though is the "death-positive" spin it takes. to get personal for a moment, death has always been something that terrifies me. it is a very large source of my anxiety.
this game doesn't force you to be death-positive. many people you speak to in the game will be devastated by the loss of their loved ones. articles you read will remind you that, while you aren't personally tied to any of the deceased people, this is a traumatic time for the families and friends, and there are protocols to take to best offer your condolences.
however, the way the main protagonists speak about the topic is really refreshing. they try to show us that death doesn't have to be a terrifying thing, that in some cultures it is celebrated with song and dance. that the purpose of life isn't death... it's life! it's about making real connections with people, taking steps to live the life you want to (even if that means risking stability), and, hopefully, doing your best to leave this world a better place than you found it.
i highly recommend giving this game a try, obviously! it's very very wholesome :)

"Death industry" is a terrifying combination of words. The not-so-subtle mission of A Mortician's Tale is to show that that's not inherent to the concepts but an effect of how our culture interprets those words. More specifically, the mission is to take the sting out of the first word and caution about the second.
It succeeds well enough. The "industry" aspect comes across as almost cartoonish. Mom & pop store good, reasonable, empathetic. Large corporation evil, rigid, exploitative. Not that it deserves a rebuttal. I'm certainly not going to disagree. That it's taken for granted however causes the writers' politics to shine bright when it wouldn't be necessary with more gradual escalation.
The "death" side of the equation is far more affecting. Preparing bodies, attending funerals, and reading the funeral-themed newsletters (?) becomes meditative to the point that death, in a way I can't really articulate, stops feeling like death. It's not a numbness to death but perhaps a compassionate respect for death. Unfortunately while the game does briefly explore the different ways the dead can be received at the funeral home it does not give each one time to breathe. So when (no spoilers) one person's wake is starkly different from another, it doesn't have the impact I feel like it could.
These two issues are fundamentally the same complaint: game's too short. Not as in it's lacking in content but as in the pacing feels off. Let me zone out to routine jobs a little longer before throwing a moral choice at me. Let me work for the corporation a little longer before telling me I'm doing a bad job because I'm too compassionate.
Maybe that's outside the scope of what the game wants to accomplish. I did come away from this feeling more educated on the, erm, "death industry." I thought about my own death through a lens of comfort instead of existential horror. I'm still young enough for that to feel novel.

I understand everyone wants to praise indie games. I get it, I really do. It’s a middle finger to the corporate world and developers can explore interesting new ideas without the weight of a watchful eye. A Mortician’s Tale kind of explores this exact idea, but with a funeral home.
The game starts out well and gave me an idea of how the game would progress. A mortician named Rose gets a new job right out of med school at a family owned funeral home, you slowly perform different ways to prepare bodies from embalming to cremating. It’s a cool concept and things started getting weird when the game walked me through every single body preparation. I thought I was in for a long game as I thought it would take a while to see everything the game had, thus the extended tutorial times.
The story is told through emails on your computer between employees and Rose’s school friend. The sad morbid music painted an atmosphere I was starting to get into and the emails told me that something was going to happen. Of course, the tides turned when a corporation bought the funeral home and I was thinking this is when things will start picking up, but they didn’t. Then the game ended. Yeah, just like that.
I really admire indie games and these unique little adventures and stories they tell. Some are the most memorable I have such as Soma, Observer, and even Journey, but this isn’t how you do it. Don’t drag the player through tutorials, build an entire game system, create characters and an atmosphere, and end the game when most would start picking up. I hate this so much and I refuse to give these developer’s any credit for what they did. They literally skipped to the end of the story and everything building up to it had no meaning. I also understand short games, I’ve played games this short and felt very satisfied with their ending. This tale is not worth a second of your time.

bit short but lovely all the same. i highly appreciated the "dying while trans" newsletter

I really enjoyed this short experience. I learned a lot, it made me cry and left me with a lot to think about. One of my favourites from the racial justice bundle!

gameplay is dull, writing is poor, and the cutesy ultra feminine aesthetic doesn't mix well with admittedly interesting subject matter.

It has an interesting message and discusses an often unexplored topic. Sadly, the only argument for this to be a game and not an animated short is its spin on Minesweeper, seeing how the game keeps holding your hand on every step of the way.

i could see how someone could really like it but it personally didn't resonate with me much. chad's pretty hate-able though so the game gets some points for character writing

a fitting and thoughtful meditation on death. well done.

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.

While playing through some longer RPGs, I longed for a short little 'snack' in between. A Mortician's Tale looked like the ideal candidate thanks to its short run time (30 minutes of my 2 hours with this game I have optionally spent with its rendition of Minesweeper) and its interesting theme.
In this game you play Charlie, who joins a family-owned funeral home as a Mortician. The game spans about a year and you 'spawn' once a month or two, go on your computer to read some optional e-mails from colleagues, friends and prior 'customers', and also to see the mandatory e-mail that tells you what your task for the day is. You either ready bodies for closed-casket (you just have to clean them) or open-casket funerals (much more tasks involved) or you cremate them, based on the families wishes.
These tasks are rather simple and each step is carefully explained every time, so the goal is not to do it right, it's just to do it.
I know nothing about funeral homes, so I appreciated the game for showing me how they operate, how different requests are handled, about the environmental effects of embalming versus green burials, and about corporations that exploit both employees and customers even in this business.
Apart from that however, the game doesn't really manage to be emotionally impactful regarding its main character, which has no dialogue lines during the game. Anything she feels and thinks about her job, about how she handles it and anything else that could bring the players closer to her, doesn't exist, which I thought was a shame.
So while I appreciated the game for its topic, it doesn't succeed in being more than a tutorial/showcase for the 'industry', and I'm not sure if there was any intent to do anything beyond that.

Well, that was over quick. According to the launcher, I installed this game less than an hour ago, and now I'm done with it. I have to admit, I probably would not have played this if I didn't get if for free. It wasn't bad, mind. One day, we will all croak it, and I think this game portrays the feelings of those left behind on a pretty accurate way. As most things, death is pretty diverse, and you get to see a lot of cases here, which are treated with a lot of respect. A young man who took his own life, a woman who died of cancer, an unidentified homeless man whose corpse nobody claimed. It made me appreciate the job morticians do even more. Music is pretty decent too. If you feel like playing a relatively slow, short and contemplative story, I can recommend this game, although I'm a bit more hesitant to do so on the regular, full price. It depends on whether or not you feel its worth $10 considering the length of the game

Short and not really replayable but it's runtime has a pretty good story to tell. The ending is just a little too gimmicky and feels off compared to the rest of the tone though.