Martha is Dead – Review
Follow Genre: Psychological horror, narrative game
Developer: LKA
Publisher: Wired Productions
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One / Series X|S
Tested on: PS4

Martha is Dead – Review

Site Score
8.7
Good: Intriguing story, beautiful graphics, cool camera mechanics
Bad: Some scenes feel a bit forced
User Score
9.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Martha Is Dead is a dark and disturbing game, describing the experiences of a girl dealing with the death of her twin sister Martha and other traumatic events which happened during her childhood. The game is set in 1944 Italy, during World War II. As you explore this story, the lines between reality, fantasy, and superstition will fade, leaving you wondering about what really happened.  

Story

This game tells the story of Guilia, a teenage girl living in the Italian countryside during World War II. One day while taking photos in the forest near a lake, she discovers the body of her twin sister Martha, floating on the surface of the water. Guilia runs into the lake in a panic, trying to save her sister, only to discover Martha is already dead. Blinded by grief, Guilia takes Martha’s necklace and puts it around her own neck. As her parents rush towards them in shock, they think Martha is the one to survive. Guilia decides to act like she is Martha, because she believes Martha was the favorite child of her mother.

As Guilia struggles with her grief and tries to uphold the illusion that she is Martha, she begins to doubt herself and her memory of events at the lake, thinking that she might have been the one who killed her sister. Playing as Guilia, you’ll explore the house and its surroundings, and gather clues to figure out what really happened. While investigating you’ll also be confronted with what happens within your family, and learn about the war raging in Europe.

Guilia’s father is a general in the German army, and Guilia’s lover is fighting for the Italian resistance. You’ll hear news about the war while listening to the radio and reading the newspaper, and eventually, you’ll become involved in helping the resistance yourself. Guilia’s father is nice to her, but he is mostly away from home, because of the war. Guilia fears her mother, who is very mean to her. So, Guilia is left to her own devices trying to figure out what happened at the lake.

As the game progresses, you’ll notice that strange things are happening to Guilia. She blacks out sometimes, waking up at home, questioning whether whatever transpired before has actually happened or was only a dream. Sometimes she experiences multiple versions of an event, with different outcomes. All this will make you question what is real and what only happened in Guilia’s mind.

There are several different endings to the game, depending on the choices you’ve made, the objectives you’ve completed, and at which point in the story you’ve finished these objectives. Certain scenes can only be completed in one correct way, but if you fail, you’ll be able to try again until you successfully complete these sequences.

Graphics

The graphics are very beautiful, they are realistic but have an atmosphere like a painting. The Italian countryside and the cottage of Guilia’s family are pretty and tranquil, which is a stark contrast to both the horrors happening to Guilia and her family, and to the horrors of World War II happening around you.

The game will confront you with some very disturbing scenes and twisted imagery, so if you dislike experiencing depictions of gore, suffering, and death, you’d better stay away from this game.

Sound

The sounds are very realistic, making you feel like you are actually walking around in Guilia’s cottage and the surrounding forest. The atmospheric sounds and music are properly creepy and disturbing, especially during spooky and twisted parts of the game. You’ll be able to listen to the radio in the game, which plays music that fits the setting of the game, adding great flavor to the game by tuning in to different programs and the news. The whole game is being narrated by Guilia herself, and the voice acting is very well done.

Gameplay

Martha is Dead is a narrative-driven psychological horror game. The gloomy and disturbing story of this game is the central part of the gameplay. You’ll follow the story by exploring, investigating, and completing objectives. You’ll gather clues through pictures you’ll take, through messages and letters you receive, and through many different objects you’ll be able to investigate.

The game features a list to keep track of the tasks and the objectives you need to complete, making it easy to have an overview of everything you can and need to do each day. You are not required to complete everything, but the choices you make will affect how the story plays out. Guilia carries a bag where she can keep important objects and clues, and also a map to help find the locations she’ll need to go for the current objectives.

Guilia loves photography, and she owns a photo camera that she uses to gather clues by taking pictures of relevant objects and locations. Photography is an important game mechanic; taking and developing good photos is a sort of mini-game. You’ll gather different lenses and different kinds of film to be able to take proper photos in difficult circumstances, like in the dark. After taking the photos, you’ll need to develop them by using the darkroom in the cellar of the cottage. Developing the photos also takes several steps, and if you like to play around with this mechanic, you’ll be able to create beautiful pictures this way. The photography mechanic is interesting and fun, and it fits the setting. If you are not too interested in it, it’s still easy to gather the clues from the photo, even if the picture itself isn’t the prettiest it could have been. After a photo has been properly developed, Guilia will tell what she learns from the picture and then puts the photo in an album you can review later.

Conclusion

Martha is Dead is a beautiful and deeply disturbing game. The story will certainly pull you in and keep you intrigued while trying to find out what actually happened to Martha, Guilia, and her family. However, since the story is being told by Guilia, you’ll never know if anything you’ve discovered has actually happened, leaving you with a lot of questions as the game ends, which adds to the mystery of the game. The different endings are a great motivation to try to explore the outcomes of doing things differently, seeing if you can learn more about what actually happened to Guilia and Martha. However, even with the different choices you can make, there are some scenes that are fixed, which feels a bit forced at times. Overall, Martha is Dead is a great game that will be appreciated by anyone with an affinity for horror and narrative-driven games.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Martha is Dead - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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