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A Mortician's Tale review
by Jorian Rutten

A Mortician's Tale is a game about death, funerals and everything no one seems to want to talk about. The gameplay, which bears similarities to the "make-up" browser games, is minimal. The narrative and art style compliment the gameplay, but are nothing to write home about either. But you should play this game anyway. Because it was never made to be a dazzling spectacle. It is supposed to educate you about what happens after someone dies, and help you formulate your own values, priorities and rituals. And it is perfect exactly for that reason.

In A Mortician's Tale you play Charlie, a newly appointed Mortician in a Funeral home. You get lead through all the steps in preparing bodies for the funeral or cremation. There is no real challenge here, no choices: you follow the instructions, and make sure the body is handled as requested. Afterwards you get to talk to the family, and learn a bit more about the life and death of the person you cared for.

I was surprised at how informative A Mortician's Tale is. The developers have clearly put a lot of effort in their research, and that has seeped through into the narrative. The emails you go through every morning contain a lot of educational information about death, it's rituals, and your options. The game starts a conversation about what your values are, and where your ethical lines lay in regards to the last wishes of the deceased. And in doing that the game also manages to hold a surprising amount of emotion, especially for a game in which you, as the player, have so little control. I found myself caring more than expected about the workplace culture, representing the wishes, and making sure that each person got a respectful send-off. 

My only gripe with the game is how passive the player is in the story. I want to be more involved in the process - talking to families and comforting them, deciding how to handle the wishes of the deceased, and perhaps slowly working towards my own company. All of these are handled without any player input. This feels like a missed opportunity to make a bigger impact by involving the player in the story, and letting her make a stand for her own beliefs.

Overall I recommend that you give A Mortician's Tale a shot. It is the best kind of educational game: playful and extremely informative without the player realising. Although it will only take an hour or two to play through, I provides a lot of value larger in the context and knowledge you take away from it. So if that is something you are interested in (and you should be), go play A Mortician's Tale!
Serge Ulankin
Wow, thanks for the review. I'm totally playing it soon.
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Other reviews6

Translated by
Microsoft from Russian
If you are willing to pay 288 rubles (360 rubles full price) by discount for an hour and a half reading the text on the monitor in the monitor and such a dull gameplay in the game, consisting of two rooms and a slow main character, then welcome-A Tale! But I, as the practice has shown, was not ready for such.
Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
I sent the Idea of the Game very nice and unusual, which led me directly to Buy. However, this Game is less a Game than a Story to click through. With Playing Time of just under an Hour, this Experience can be described as more overpriced and disappointing. What a pity! The Idea and the Message are good. Unfortunately, no €10 is worth it in my Eyes.
Translated by
Microsoft from Russian
A super controversial game. It's the first time I saw a game about funerals and it's the biggest advantage in my opinion. The downside of the game is that it's very short (like 1h playthrough max) and while you play it it's extremely repetitive. There are 5-6 actions you can do and you repeat them over and over again. I can't really recommend this game because it's short and quite expensive, maybe get it if you are wondering what kind of story a funeral game has, otherwise I am afraid this game can't offer anything. P.S. If you read until this point, you've spent more time reading my review than playing this game. )
Translated by
Microsoft from French
Really fine game. I liked how it treated death, in a very simple yet decent way. I appreciated its very tolerant and respectful vision of things. The graphics are really soft and pleasant, and the background music is nice aswell, despite being a bit motononous. The game brings interesting questions about the death industry in general, and its ethic. It shows the processes of embalming and cremation in an interesting way, and distils lots of informations about the job. I have to mention tho that you're guided all along the process and it can feel a bit too "directed" in the end. Expect approximately 2h of gameplay, which is a bit short for the price to be honest, but if you can get it on sale, go ahead.
Translated by
Microsoft from French
Even if I do recommend to play this game, I have to admit that its price feels disproportionated. Around 20$ for a game that only last 120 minutes and mainly requires the players to follow instructions and read some mails is more than what I would have expected. This being said, A Mortician's Tale remains an important game if only for its unusual but important subject. I learned a lot about the ways a corpse is disposed of, the new and traditional options that exist for the families and the legal details that anyone should be aware of before going to a funeral home. I loved the empathy, humanity and respect that can be found in the different stories and the positive message sent about death. For all the curious players out there.