Elana Pierce is devastated by the tragic death of her spouse, Rebecca. The traumatic event transforms Elana into a grieving widow who is unable to move on with her life. Instead, she does the bare minimum to get through each day and spends most of her time reading Elana’s journals or watching the movies that were important to her late wife. However, while Elana is caught up in her grief, her home is invaded by a supernatural entity that takes the form of a long haired woman. It is up to players to decide how Elana will handle this unexpected development and whether there is any hope for her to lead a normal life again.
The premise for Morph Girl is quite an interesting one and clearly inspired by Japanese horror movies, such as The Ring and The Grudge. The game itself mimics the FMV titles that flooded the market during the nineties, but the developer clearly had a much lower budget to work with. The result is a game that was filmed with an iPhone and stars the developers girlfriend as both Elana and Rebecca. To make things look a little atmospheric the video quality has been manipulated to look like something from a home VHS tape and the game also uses a monochrome palette instead of full color. While this means that Morph Girl doesn’t look as good as recent attempts at the genre, such as The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, it definitely fits the tone and style of the game. The game also opts to use text instead of speech for all the text, which means there’s a lot of reading involved. Most of the reading involves the flashback stories about how the relationship between Rebecca and Elana became strained when the former became ill.
Morph Girl isn’t just a passive experience either as occasionally you get to make a choice that influences how the story plays out. These choices eventually lead to one of six different endings, which is a good thing as the game is quite short and can easily be completed in a single sitting. While the different endings are rather interesting, the paths that lead to them are not always that compelling. Elana spends of the first part of the story in a fog of grief and even when the supernatural elements start to ramp up her reactions are unusually calm. The result is a game that manages to maintain an atmosphere that ranges from uneasy to creepy, but never really crosses over into horror. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, the slow pace will probably be disappointing for players expecting something more in line with the Japanese horror genre. The story definitely favors a more psychological horror approach instead of over the top blood and gore, but could have benefited from more convincing acting.
One aspect of Morph Girl that is done very well is the music as the game makes good use of audio to maintain the creepy atmosphere. Although there isn’t a whole lot of variety, the game makes the most of what it has when it comes to music. Some people might consider the lack of a voice acting a negative, but the silence works much better when it comes to maintaining the somber mood of the game. Since Morph Girl plays out like a visual novel with FMV, the interface is very simple, but quite straightforward.
Due to the length of the game, there’s not a lot that can be said about the story of Morph Girl without giving away too much. The writing is interesting, but not exactly mind-blowing and while the acting is quite convincing for the most part, it falls a little flat during the supernatural portions. Nevertheless, Morph Girl is certainly interesting enough to warrant a playthrough or two, especially with its wallet friendly price tag. If you are not a fan of FMV or the visual novel genre there isn’t a whole lot here for you, but everyone else should give it a go.