Martha is Dead (Folkloric Stolen Identity Psychological Horror Game)


Here again I feel like I have to pull out the “you just don’t get it” mantra due to negative reviews I skimmed concerning this latest psychological horror, ahem, masterpiece. Ugh, it’s the same old, tiresome complaints, too. The gameplay is tedious, the shock horror was unnecessary, the story was too long, blah blah blah blah blah… God, let me say it, again, this type of game is like reading a good novel. It’s not about the gameplay, that can be thin as shit as long as the story slays. But, as opposed to the usual, Martha is Dead not only has gameplay, and story, and atmosphere, and horror, and… Yeah, you get it now? It all takes place in WWII Italy, precisely 1944. You play as Giulia, whose twin sister Martha mysteriously drowns, blurring the lines between the tragedy of war and local folklore, due to the tales of a “white lady” at the lake near where they live. Giulia, generally hated by her mother, takes on the identity of her dead, and deaf, sister in order to solve the mystery, digging herself deeper into the ground.


The story of Martha is Dead is beautifully, and gently, told, utilizing the classic “white lady” mythos found all over the world. As Giulia you navigate the family manor and the natural spaces around it while Nazi and partisan fighting rages occasionally in the background. Giulia’s emotional anguish is high and wonderfully related in all of its tenderness, as the storytelling aspect here is quite dense. However, unlike the typical psyhorror where story tends to trump gameplay, there is a great deal to learn. Of course you navigate various mysteries, but also master period technologies, the most important being Giulia’s camera. The historical accuracy and attention to detail, not only in this aspect, is rather incredible, placing the player directly into the time period and into Giulia’s thoughts as the plot unfolds. But most wonderfully the peaceful eeriness of Martha is Dead is occasionally wrecked by abject terror, often in the form of body horror, including the notorious face cutting scene. Some have complained about this aspect in particular, but this is part of its charm and the textbook form of proper terror. Quite often it is unexpected, and this is in itself how you make an effective scare that involves graphic violence. It’s not about the jump, it’s about the wtfffffff. Complaints? None honestly, Martha is Dead is an easy-to-learn masterpiece of the genre and a definite entry for those interested in trying such a game. Delve into the sister-identity stealing plot and dig the gore.


Martha is Dead Official Steam

Written by Stanley, Devourer of Souls

Martha is Dead
LKA (developer), Wired Productions (publisher)
4.8 / 5