Average Playtime: 3 hours

Doki Doki Literature Club!

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Doki Doki Literature Club puts you into the role of an anime character, an average Japanese schoolboy. Your protagonist joins a literature club in which he's the only male member. The remaining four girls – Monica, Sayori, Natsuki, and Yuri – compete for the boy’s attention. Each girl represents a certain anime character stereotype, such as tsundere, genki or kudere. As you get to know them closer, however, they turn out to have individual character traits on their own. Eventually, you will choose one of the girls to romance with and follow her personal storyline. The gameplay is based on interactions with the other characters and carefully choosing dialogue options. You will also perform tasks as a club member. The latter includes "writing" poetry, although the player actually only gets to select certain words to fill the blanks.
The plot and dialogue are front and center in this game. The visuals and soundtrack, however, are static and minimalistic: the music is looped, and characters have a very limited number of sprites in each scene. There's no voice acting, and you only interact with characters through text.

Release date
Team Salvato
Team Salvato
Age rating
Not rated

System requirements for Linux

System requirements for PC

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: 1.8GHz Dual-Core CPU
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Integrated graphics
  • Storage: 350 MB available space

System requirements for macOS

  • OS: OS X 10.9
  • Processor: 1.8GHz Dual-Core CPU
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Integrated graphics
  • Storage: 350 MB available space
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Last Modified: Nov 29, 2023

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Doki Doki Literature Club! reviews and comments

Just a normal visual novel ;)
«That ending!»
It's good, but the pacing is so slow. The first 2 and a half hours are just a normal dating sim (which I know is supposed to be the point) but the only reason I wanted to play this was because I knew the horror aspect was going to come in and only wanted to play it for that. It's a lot of pressing the space bar with options every once in a while. I would have preferred it to be starting at act 2 where it's sorta' normal but still eerie.

The only way to enjoy this is to play it on the day's release before people start talking about it so then you get the experience. Maybe this would have worked 20 years ago when let's plays weren't a thing and everything was in obscure forums. The effects are pretty cool though but the 2 contrasting genres don't work in my eyes.
«That ending!»
Changed my view of games. You should definitely try this game, even if you are not into VN's. This is a short and unforgettable experience.
«Blew my mind»
«That ending!»
they're cute!! just a really nice sweet game :))
«Beaten more than once»
The game is very cheap, don't learn anything about it, just play it.
i just love psychological horror maan
«Better with friends»
In a few Discord servers, I've stated, usually in very chide one-off statements, that this game sucks. I've never actually spent time elaborating why it sucks, and I realize that just saying it does doesn't really help any conversation whatsoever, or really have anything new to put forth.

Because, to be honest, to say this game is all bad is missing the mark just as much as saying “anime is for weebs”... which is largely true but still missing some information that could point a different direction.

So what is DDLC? It’s a very, very short VN that lampshades what happens in most VNs, where you meet a handful of characters and deal/handle their personal issues, except without a lot to say about it. It uses its runtime to poke fun at the laughable traits of the worst of VNs while then proceeding to put some valid criticism of unconditional attachment, while peppering its runtime with enough shock value to make streamers freak the fuck out and thus become a touchstone of Twitch culture with its reaction and memes such as “just Monika”. I highly doubt that all of that was intentional, but the impact can’t be disregarded, because it did become a part of online video game culture as a whole… for better or for worse.

There is something I need to outline. While I agree usually that a game should not be based on its toxic fanbase, DDLC is so big that it’s tough to ignore. It is extremely hard to detach the community and fanbase as a whole from the game. We can agree to disagree from there.

Let’s be clear, the shock value fucking works for one key moment. I am a wimp and autistic and find very emotional attachment to video games that is borderline unhealthy, and thus the very infamous first shock rolled me over like a lawnmower and I still have nightmares thinking about it. If there’s one thing to give credit to DDLC, it is that it’s very unpredictable, although at the expense of pacing or having a good kind of shock value past the first moment.

Everything else is very standard and frustrating to go through, particularly a moment where you have to “auto-skip” for a moment that abuses its time to the fullest extent. I don’t care if it’s not supposed to be fun, it’s nauseating. It doesn’t have anything to gain for its inclusion OTHER than shocking the player and to hammer harder how messed up Monika is, which would have benefitted from a tighter pace. Subversion, especially when it’s creatively done like DDLC, is fine, but its pace and execution despite its concept hampers this to an extreme.

DDLC’s good, however, comes in two things: a general and well done understanding of depression and the pain it causes through its first introductory character arc, and the danger and toxicity of parasocial relationships represented via Monika’s rampant fascination with the player. The latter unfortunately…. is not even knee deep. It does not deconstruct how it comes to exist but rather comments on its existence, which is fine but doesn’t leave a lot to take away.

So what anecdotal interactions poison the game for me? It is that it has massively poisoned talking about VNs and the Western reaction to VNs as a whole. The game is definitely pointing at a very particular subgenre of VNs, but its popularity has created a vacuum of using the game as a point to how “all VNs are bad” and how ridiculous the genre is. Yes, people can sometimes be dumb and stupid, as can I, but I’ve seen it happen EVERYWHERE.

I’m not an expert on VNs (in fact I’ve only started recently to delve into the genre with games like Umineko, The Silver Case, and Nekojishi), but it’s insane how much DDLC has colored VN’s image that the games themselves have been not at all what’s expected. I don’t even… know of any game DDLC is really pointing out here. In the end, it feels like it has a blanket “VNs bad” side to its conversation around the medium where the tropes it is subverting in its runtime a mainstay more for anime as a whole rather than VN dating sims instead. Am I missing something? Maybe I need to play more VNs.

Trust me, it’s not that there aren't bad VNs. I can go to fucking TOWN on Nekojishi for its disgusting moments with its true ending and in the end having zero to take away from other than… the tiger guys are adorable.

The biggest struggle comes from where, when I enjoy a VN (or when other big friends of mine do), it’s tough to recommend, because the image that DDLC has created in popular culture casts a big enough web to catch SUVs. There are other barriers to entry such as price and it not being as “video game” as other genres, but this to me has been the biggest barrier now.

My hope is to understand where I come from now when I say “Fuck DDLC”. It’s partly the game but way more because of the culture that surrounds it.
At least it’s free.
«I could make it better»
i like sayori she's cool also music is awesome i love poem panic
«Sit back and relax»
«OST on repeat»
just monika haha am i funny yet
«Blew my mind»
«That ending!»
DDLC. I've heard about the hype and the internet has spoiled me on the whole thing (Just Monika!). I wanted to do it anyway, to see if I would experience strong emotions and become a mega-fan... NO. DDLC didn't do anything to me. The beginning of the story is long and boring. A teenage slice of life / romance, cliché and dull. (All that pink in the interface!) When the horror comes out, and everything starts to get a bit interesting, it ends far too quickly and the "surprise" (hello Monika!), was a big meh. Video games that "break the 4th wall", I've already play some. Horror, too, and in better visual novels. Higurashi, Notch - The Innocent LunA: Eclipsed SinnerS, Summer Nightmare (it's also free)... not to mention other games with great stories, like The Cat Lady. So, no, I don't recommend DDLC.
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