This game is rated PEGI 18
Our review includes potentially triggering words:
Depression, Extreme Violence, Horror, Killing, Mental Health, Self-harm and Suicide.
Ignore All Content Warnings
Posted: 19 months ago, last updated 6 months ago.
You play a young boy who, on the first day back at school, decides to join his friend's book club. Once there, you try to win over the girls in attendance; Monika (the club's president), Natsuki, Yuri, and of course Sayori. Suddenly, however, about 90 minutes into the game, the characters start killing themselves and becoming more violent and aggressive, eventually leaving just Monika.
This character becomes aware that she is in a game and manipulates the code of the other characters so they became less likeable to you. Eventually, you confront Monika and make her undo the damage she has caused, before eventually reconciling with her.
You progress by selecting responses to the dialogue in each scene. These scenes are presented as realistic cartoons depicting events. There are also poetry writing sections, where you select words that you think your favourite club member will like.
Although the premise of a self-aware game is necessarily misleading and requires care for younger players, Doki Doki Literature Club offers a unique way to engage with issues about mental health, depression and suicidal thoughts for adults.
A new version, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus, which features updated graphics and new stories, is set to release June 30th, 2021.
Rated for younger players in Australia. Rated Mature Accompanied (MA 15+) for Violence, Coarse Language, Horror Themes.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!
The original game is free on PC and Mac, but Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!, which is on PC, Mac and consoles come in several editions:
- Physical Premium Edition: Pack of stickers, a standee of each character, a poem from "Monika", a club membership card and a soundtrack download card.
- The Digital Edition: Just the game.
The requirement to access and alter the game's files to complete the story are probably the biggest hurdle for accessibility, as it requires a complex knowledge of how to handle the data. Although myriad tutorials exist online to help, it is still be difficult and confusing.
As the gameplay virtually exclusively consists of reading text, which you can slow down, you don't need to be quick to react to anything. After each section of text you are required to click before the next text appears.
Most of the text is large and outlined in black. The options to save and to go back to one of your save states are a little bit more difficult to read, however. There are also some times where the text is intentionally distorted or covered over with big black boxes, and it is always obvious when this is the case. There are other times when the text disappears quickly, and in these instances you are not expected to read it. There is no voice acting (apart from a final song over the credits).
At the end of the game, when you are required to go into the game files, you are given hints about what and how to do it, but for the majority of the game, such hints are not needed due to the play-style.
Diversity and Inclusion
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