This is an incredibly short game that's very light on gameplay, which is going to turn some people away right off the bat. There is a genuinely touching message at the heart of Mortician's Tale though, and with a playtime of only an hour, you're not losing much by giving it a whirl.
An educative and somewhat poetic experience that doesn't overstay its welcome. As simple as gameplay is, there is something to be said about performing those actions nevertheless. Staring at the dead body, cleaning it, massaging it, watching it oscillate between object and someone else's loved one.
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 :)
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.
it is a heavy experience for being only a few hours long. i know it made me think about things for a while.
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.
This game taught me things I did not previously know and I think that is pretty cool. I think this game did a fine job at teaching, but I think it could of done a little better when it came to your personal relationships with everyone and expressing your thoughts on things for the player to see.
Not as much a game as an interactive first person lesson on the process of embalming or cremation. It's emotionally and effective, and got me to research the death industry and think about how I want my body to be treated after I die. The standard method is, as this game demonstrated, horrible. One of my favorite sections was listening to the scattered opinions of the mourners at the funeral (you can't move on until you've payed respects for the person whose body you've just prepared). They are sad, funny, or nonchalant, giving a look at the range of reactions people have to death. One of the last funerals is for an unidentified homeless man, and the memorial is empty. I was shocked, and spent a moment honestly mourning.
This game made me want to leave my body in its opening segment, as disgusted as I was to learn and perform the clinical tasks of caring for a dead body, but it made me more comfortable with facing that reality, and that inevitability, through repetition and interactivity, which is quite an accomplishment! Unfortunately, little else here works from the blocky art style to the narrative’s resolution of its correct observation of capitalism’s trajectories towards death with the creation of another company. Profound in one of one’s component parts but ultimately frustrating as a holistic text.
A Mortician's Tale delivers very concisely a striking series of vignette-things centered around a mortician's day job. There are some weird things going on. The game in some sense functions as an argument against the embalming process, which is cool as long as that isn't associated with some online political ideology yet? In an ideal world AMT would take after something like Papers Please, and use seemingly banal gameplay to really get into the shoes of an unconventional vocation. What we get instead is bittersweet and effective but lacking.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a delightful (sort of) look into the funereal industry and contains lots of interesting details. Really might make you stop and consider what you want to happen to you once you pass.
But it's not very long and there aren't any choices, so once you're done you're probably done. But I picked up on sale at a very decent price, so I'm fine with it.
But your mileage may vary.
I initially found this game quite jarring - I've had to stop playing a couple of times in the past, but I just knew it would be rewarding in the end. So I sat down with the intention to play the bulk (if not all of it) tonight, and I'm thrilled to say that I DID and I wasn't wrong! While the difficult subject matter was never particularly easy to broach, the game and death as a whole became more a matter of intimacy and kindness.
I agree with the few reviews who state that there are a some instances of plots that are not effectively explored, but given the briefness of the game as a whole I think the fact these moments are included at all lead to sufficient provocation of thought. The game is exploring one element of a business that folks were just getting used to when the game was released in 2017. So, one can't expect the game to cover every element of the ethics of the death industry in complete detail. We're growing and the ability to talk about issues like these is becoming more and more accessible, and if this game makes someone wonder about the death industry then that is enough because people like Caitlin Doughty exist who have created incredible learning platforms for those curious about death positivity.
All in all, I feel happier knowing that this game is available for people to play! Now I need to go and kiss my cat and tell him that I love him so, so, so much.
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.