The Doki Doki Literature Club is a visual novel developed and published by Team Salvato that starts off with one story and ends with a completely different and surprising direction. The first part of this post will be spoiler free, so if you don’t want to spoil the story read only the spoiler-free bit.
If you take a look at the description for Doki Doki Literature Club on Steam, this is what you’ll read…
Hi, Monika here!
Welcome to the Literature Club! It’s always been a dream of mine to make something special out of the things I love. Now that you’re a club member, you can help me make that dream come true in this cute game!
Every day is full of chit-chat and fun activities with all of my adorable and unique club members:
Sayori, the youthful bundle of sunshine who values happiness the most;
Natsuki, the deceivingly cute girl who packs an assertive punch;
Yuri, the timid and mysterious one who finds comfort in the world of books;
…And, of course, Monika, the leader of the club! That’s me!
I’m super excited for you to make friends with everyone and help the Literature Club become a more intimate place for all my members. But I can tell already that you’re a sweetheart—will you promise to spend the most time with me? ♥
Fair enough, you might think, and you might be forgiven for turning away until you read the final line of the description.
“This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.”
OK, now I’m intrigued, and what you get does not disappoint. The Doki Doki Literature Club quickly takes a very dark and sinister twist that is definitely worth taking a look at. The game is free on Steam, and there as a Non-Steam version available too.
This is the end of the Spoiler Free zone so stop reading if you don’t want the story surprises ruined for you…
OK, Holy Crap, the story is incredible. The novel starts off with you being coerced into joining a new club by your close friend Sayori. The Literature Club has four members, four different girls each with their own personality type. The only real game part of the novel is writing different poems based on selecting words you think your chosen girl will like, and getting ready for the show where you will all be performing your poems.
My finger was getting RSI from clicking and I was getting a little bored but a friend of mine said “Stick with it, trust me. Stick with it.” So I did. I was getting close to Yuri, and it was clear that Sayori was uncomfortable with it. I thought a love triangle. I’m sensing a choice here.
I chose to spend me weekend with Yuri. This lead to a cut-scene with Sayori confesses she suffers from depression, and that she’ll never to be good enough for anyone or be good at anything. You comfort her of course, but it’s time to meet Yuri so I went home.
The next day as everyone is preparing for the competition, nobody has seen Sayori. I leave to go find her. I go to her house, knock on the door. No one answers, so I go upstairs. I open the door and she’s only freaking hung herself. The screen darkens and I’m taken back to the title scene.
This time something’s wrong, the ‘New Game’ option had become random glitchy-looking characters. I almost turned off until I saw that Sayori was no longer shown on the title screen. I started the game again and Sayori had been removed, nobody mentioned her and the game just kept glitching.
Something was decidedly odd but compelling as this play through became even darker than the last with Yuri developing a psychotic obsession with me. At the end of this tale, Yuri stabs herself in the chest with the knives she is fixated with. When I start the game again, there are only two girls and even more glitching happening.
There’s more story of course, but I’ll leave something for you to discover for yourself.
As a game it really sucks, there isn’t really much to do except for the odd mini-game, but the games are not the point of this fantastically dark visual novel. Watching a cute, childlike romance novel twist into and warp with its themes of suicide, obsession and self –abuse is a thing to behold. If you can survive the endless clicking or Escape-key pushing, to sit back and enjoy this disturbed tale then you’re in for one hell of a ride.
Head over to Steam to download the Doki Doki Literature Club visual novel for free. Go on, off you pop.