Doki Doki Literature Club is the epitome of 'don't judge a book by its cover'


I finally got to finish Doki Doki Literature Club, after more than a whole month since I first started it, all thanks to a boring lecture class I had earlier.

Shh, don't tell anyone I was reading a visual novel during a lecture!

doki doki literature club otometwist review

But anyway, I'm still... reeling from all the happenings in Doki Doki Literature Club, so I think it's the perfect time to write this review/thought piece regarding the game.

Doki Doki Literature Club is a visual novel developed by Team Salvato, released for Windows, MacOX, and Linux on September 22, 2017 on and October 6, 2017 on Steam. It's officially tagged as a 'cute' anime visual novel with a high school setting, but see, this game holds a lot more secrets than you think.

The player character, who I named Ronnie after myself, is a high school student who's just about to graduate. One day, he gets roped into visiting a literature club by his childhood best friend, Sayori. Unable to say no to her, he agrees to 'just visit', but ends up joining after seeing all the cute club members. Ronnie starts bonding with the other girls, Natsuki, Yuri the Vice President, and Monika the President of the club. Although he's not much of a fan of literature himself, he's made to write poems himself, which will then be shown to the other girls so that they can give critiques of each others' works.

doki doki literature club otometwist review
...which was the main reason a lot of people tried this out. /s
This is when it all starts going downhill. This game devolves from cutesy to creepy with every poem-writing assignment scene. Yes, from a normal, even typical, game, Doki Doki Literature Club goes very dark, very fast.

And that's probably the one and only thing that you have to know about this game. It's not what it seems. Heck, it's far from what it seems. Because in truth, Doki Doki Literature Club is not a moe game. It's a psychological horror visual novel, disguised as a cutesy and innocent story.

On the technical side, it was done very well, especially for a free game. The art was gorgeous. The art, the CGs, the backgrounds... everything looked visually pleasing. The music, as well as the sound effects, was also very nicely done. The script was absolutely fantastic, despite not being perfect. I found the descriptions a bit awkward, even though the dialogues were really good. I absolutely enjoyed reading all the lines from the characters.

doki doki literature club otometwist review
I actually liked some of the poems in this visual novel.
However,  I'm not sure if I can say that the story is where this visual novel shines, because to be honest, I found the characters to be rather shallow. The slice-of-life scenes were pretty meh to me as well.

No, what makes this game stand out is how it messes with the player. Not the player character, but the player. With you. Characters sometimes break the fourth wall, your cursor messes with you, the game sends you messages directly... those kinds of things. It glitches sometimes, and you may even think that your game is broken, but don't worry, it's not. It's simply Doki Doki Literature Club messing with you.

In order to get the most out of this game, I actually had to turn to the internet for answers. I used this guide to get the best ending. It's actually pretty short and you can actually get the best ending in under 4 hours. My class lasted 7 hours today, and I managed to finish the whole game in that time.

doki doki literature club otometwist review
...this couldn't be more meta.
Doki Doki Literature Club wasn't scary, but it was unnerving. It didn't show me the horror, no. It made me think of the consequences of my actions, and how horrible those could be. It played not only with my mind, but also with my heart.

In the end, I don't know what to feel about Doki Doki Literature Club. More than scared, it actually made me feel quite sad. Sad for the characters, sad for the club, and sad for... myself? It made me realize that in a way, we all are like the characters in this game. Wanting something or someone that's consistently out of grasp... and who/which may never even be ours no matter how hard we try. And I don't know what your definition of horror is, but for me, that's definitely horror in itself, alright.

Okay, I really can't tell you any more than that! But I will tell you to try it if you've got a few hours to spare. I can't tell you anything else, because this is the kind of game that you'd want to go in blind for the full experience.

If anything though, I can say that you should totally try listening to the ending song.

It's pretty creepy, given the context of the game, but aside from that, it's absolutely fantastic. I've already listened to it a couple of times, and I'm actually still listening to it as I type this. If there's anything that's going to be staying with me after playing this game, it's definitely going to be that song.

Is it love if I take you, or is it love if I set you free?

You can download Doki Doki Literature Club for free on Steam or on!

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