When the common gamer thinks of visual novels it typically brings to mind a light hearted experiences that involves a number of beautiful people you befriend and eventually date. Doki Doki Literature Club sets itself up to be just this. You are a high school kid who is generally unmotivated and is convinced by your child hood friend to join her club, which is the literature club. There you encounter four girls with different personalities from: Sayori, your dear friend who is carefree. Monika, the all around perfect girl who is pretty, smart, and hard working. Yuri, the quiet, timid, and smart girl. Lastly, there is Natsuki who is the youngest, smallest, and most fierce of the four.
Together you all join in your love for literature together by writing poems every night to present to your peers. You can choose to include certain words that will gain the affection of certain members. By doing so, you unlock more intimate experiences with the girl of your choice and it is noticed by the others. This is the first two and a half hours of game play and along the way you are forced to make choices on who to support in arguments.
But around the third hour of game play Doki Doki Literature Club takes a turn that literally had me jump in surprise. I was horrified by what appeared on my screen and could not believe not only what happened but how they presented it as well.
Before I go on any further I do want to say that I did very much enjoy this game for the unexpected encounters and adventure but I must also must warn readers. This game is built to make you face unspeakable horrors that involve emotional and psychologically trauma of characters and while their cases might be extreme, it isn’t unheard of. A woman has an obsessive nature, another has issues with anger, and another faces severe depression.
Normally I wouldn’t go out of my way to interrupt a review with a warning but I was affected by Doki Doki Literature Club. Although I am too prideful to admit there is a legitimate problem, I know that I have several symptoms of someone who has depression. When I encountered a certain part of the game where this depressed character voiced her concerns, her symptoms, and ultimate breakdown it hit too close too home because I have walked her path. When she realized that even when obtaining of the love of the person she cared for the most did not help ease her inner demons she found only one option left. It is an option I and many others dwell on in times of trouble so it was hard to play as the friend and say all of the right things, give this character all of your attention and affection and then to still lose her to depression.
So I would like to warn that this game can and will affect you. Please consider this before playing or avoid it all together if you are unable to handle disturbing situations.
So after the incident, your character has a breakdown and then the game restarts automatically. This time the game begins but with a corrupted screen over the girl who passes away. The game throws you back into the beginning of the game but forces you to play without the character, which does not work because she initiates the adventure. The game recognizes this and forces another restart instead having Monika as your hook to the Literature club.
In this new adventure all hell breaks loose as artwork gets distorted, dialogue becomes warped, music is off pitch and so much more. Even during the hard choices of who to support, the game forces you to choose or makes it difficult. You start to learn about the other character’s and their unfortunate personality quirks that become hostile. They find creative ways to scare or make you feel uneasy while playing the game with audio or visual tricks. They even reveal the twisted true thoughts of some characters for only a brief moment before clearing the screen.
Doki Doki Literature Club only gets worse as time goes on until you are locked into an exchange with a single character for all eternity. That is unless you go out of your way to mess with the game files. Doing so unlocks another ending and rewards you with a pleasant song and a unique ending. By the end of the experience the game files are so damaged that you literally have no choice but to re-install the game if you’d like to experience it again.
I was blown away by how fantastic this game was! I went in expecting jump scares and received a terrifying experience! The creators of Doki Doki Literature really out did themselves and anyone who can stomach the adventure will be absolutely rewarded for it! The game is available on Steam and is free!
If you would like to watch our play through feel free to check it out here: