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Embalm corpses, fill out forms, and battle for your soul in DreadXP’s new horror game

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Horror publisher DreadXP, which has previously brought us spooky weirdness including the Dread X Collections (opens in new tab) and a Cthulhu mythos dating sim (opens in new tab), has joined with Darkstone Digital on a new game that’s out today called The Mortuary Assistant (opens in new tab). It’s yet another game about having a job, but—of course—there’s a lot more to this gig than draining stiffs and filling out paperwork.

In truth, the mundanities of the job are unavoidable. You’ll have to follow step-by-step procedures for identifying bodies, processing and embalming them, and even cleaning up after yourself, and frankly that part of the game is plenty unpleasant all on its own. Using a trocar (today I learned what a “trocar (opens in new tab)” is) to suck fluid out of the stomach of a corpse is actually one of the less stressful parts of the experience—I found stitching the jaw together to be much more traumatic, largely thanks to the sound effects but also, you know, teeth.

(Image credit: Darkstone Digital)

It quickly becomes apparent, however, that this is not a mundane morgue. The place itself is creepy as hell, for one thing, and the mortician in charge is clearly not okay. A window slams shut unexpectedly; a bottle of improperly stored chemicals pops open; a glimpse of movement outside catches your eye. Then the doctor sends you into the dimly-lit storage closet to whip up some cleaner for the embalming machine, and man you know something bad is going to happen in there, so you’re mixing and you’re looking for the descaler and you’re stressing out because something is going to come screaming out of the toilet at any second, and then—nothing happens. The tension doesn’t break and you’re back cleaning the death goo out of the machinery, and then the doctor tells you to go home early with a tone in his voice that leaves no doubt that inappropriate things are going to happen after you’re gone.

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