Doki Doki Literature Club Review

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Posted: 5 weeks ago, last updated 4 weeks ago.

Author: Ben Kendall and @GeekDadGamer.

OverviewOverview

Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) is a psychological horror game in the form of a high school dating simulator. You attend your school's literature club and try to win over the girls there. But with little warning, it takes a drastic turn that results in the characters killing themselves. The game plays with reality, by letting you alter its files and restart multiple times in ways that affect the narrative.

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.

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 18+

Release Date: 22/09/2017, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Narrative, Puzzle, Role-Playing and Simulation

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: @TeamSalvato

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: This game will take between 2 and a half hours and 7 and a half hours to complete. Because of its visual novel style gameplay, the time to beat will vary greatly depending on your reading speed. Typically, it will take about 4 hours.
 
Players: This is a single player game.

CostsCosts

Doki Doki Literature Club usually costs £11.29.
 

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!

Switch £11.29
 
Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'. 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.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Rated PEGI 18 for Extreme Violence, Strong Language

Rated ESRB MATURE 17+ for Blood, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes and Violence

Mature Content as described on Steam: Self-Harm, Suicide and Suggestive Sexual Themes. The developer states that "This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed."

AccessibilityAccessibility

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.
 
Our Doki Doki Literature Club Accessibility Report details 23 accessibility features:

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