This is another hard one to write about. It’s hard to write about some of the themes in the game so as not to upset readers. It’s also hard to write about a game that I didn’t finish. Nonetheless, it is my job to try to guide you through the choice of whether to buy the game or not.
Martha is Dead is a narrative driven, psychological horror, Walking Simulator. Let me break that down for you. The narrative driven part means that you progress by experiencing more of the story. There’s no enemies to defeat or xp to be gained. Although there are technically quests, including side quests, all but the one that progresses the story are optional. The game is broken up into chapters representing individual days, all you need to do is complete the day for the story, and overall game, to progress.
The psychological horror aspect is very front and center. Expect jump scares from seeing things only in your characters mind, along with lots of gore, and some supernatural elements. Since the game progresses through days, your character has a lot of nightmares between chapters which Amp up all the horror even more. Luckily, during the most triggering parts, you can press a button to skip that part. However, you can’t do this for all the horror elements, only the most extreme.
The Walking Simulator part just tells you how most of the game plays. You mostly just walk around and interact with things. No jumping, attacking, or using abilities. Don’t take this as it’s boring, it’s just simple. There are many things to interact with, most of which don’t affect the story, or maybe give more info about the story or characters. You still spend a lot of time solving puzzles as well as taking and developing photos as those are part of the core gameplay and required to progress.
Now to talk about the story. You play a young girl that finds her twin sister’s dead body. The story revolves around your character trying to find out what happened to your sister as well as grapple with your own mental health issues. The story is told through cutscenes, nightmares, puppet shows, and side content like reading letters and completing side quests. I don’t want to spoil too much, as I think the game is best experienced on your own.
The setting for all this is an Italian farm during the height of WWII. You and your family moved here from your villa to be safer. Your family consists of your character, your twin sister, your mom, and your dad, a general in the German army. If you don’t partake in the side activities like reading the paper and doing side quests, you might miss a lot of the setting that permeates the game.
Overall, I enjoyed my time playing the game, even though it was cut short by a progression blocking bug. It was probably my fault for doubling back into an area that I shouldn’t have, and I can always reload the autosave from the beginning of that day, but I didn’t feel like replaying half of my total playtime. I believe I was relatively close to the end, so I felt like I had enough to write this. I would suggest the game to horror fans, especially those that enjoyed other Wired games, or maybe those that like classic photography. You could almost play the game as a classic photography game, but you have to play through the first day before you get your camera.
I played Martha is Dead for about five hours on a Series X. I received a code for the game from the publisher with an expectation for an article of some kind. I am mostly blind, so some things I have trouble with may not affect your experience with the game. Martha is Dead is available now on several platforms, though the Playstation and Switch versions have been edited to remove some sections of the game.