Have you played this game?You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.
Playlists and Wishlists
RSS FeedsNew member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page
About the StoryHi, 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? ♥
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 2
Write a review
In Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC), you’re invited to join your neighbour’s tiny after school club, the literature club. Even though your only exposure to literature is reading manga, the club members themselves are each compelling in their own way.
Much has been written about this game, by people who are much more familiar with visual novels than I am, so I won’t feign familiarity with the conventions of the visual novel genre. But judging from this game alone, it seems that visual novels, like parser games, are good at signalling inevitability. Unlike parser games, they can do this with long stretches of dialogue-heavy storytelling without any choices. DDLC uses this to its advantage, using its episodic format to set patterns and break them.
This game is deliberately vague in its advertising about its content warnings, since those are spoilers in themselves. These are big heavy subjects that the game mentions, though, and it’s mostly used as plot point rather than being discussed.
Some gripes, then. Some of the story elements didn’t feel gelled together. In particular the poetry-writing felt like a flimsy justification for the premise. Additionally, the way this story handles mental illness is pretty superficial - more plot point than anything else. This attitude is endemic in horror fiction in general. We can do better.
DDLC is probably more worth playing for seeing how the visual novel format can be subverted than for its actual storyline, and for its questioning of the divide between player-character and player. It displays some clever tricks, but tends to use violence and mental illness as a shock tactic. Lynnea Glasser’s Creatures Such as We also explores such metatextual issues, but far more thoughtfully.
Okay, but ultimately shallow and unoriginal, May 9, 2019
I guess DDLC technically exceeded my expectations, but not by much. While it sets itself up as a “standard” moege (the type of visual novel, almost always set in a Japanese high school, that serves solely as an excuse to look at and date cute girls), it eventually reveals itself to be something entirely different—though only slightly better.
The main problem I have with DDLC is that it's a "subversion" of visual novels by someone who's clearly only familiar with the medium on a surface level. Unfortunately, DDLC's fame has given rise to a wave of people for whom it was their first visual novel—which in itself wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that many of those people, and many people who played DDLC but chose not to seek out other visual novels, now have a distorted idea of what visual novels are and what types of visual novels exist. While their reputation as shallow excuses for porn and fluffy high school romances isn’t totally undeserved, there have been developers doing great and interesting things with visual novels since years before DDLC.
The truth is, nearly everything DDLC does, other visual novels did before it—usually better. (The VN the true diehards will point to is Nitroplus' 2013 visual novel Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo no Koi. ("The Love Between You, Her, and Her."), which supposedly hits many of the same beats that DDLC does, but over a longer playtime and with more porn. Given that it's only available in Japanese, though—an English localization was announced in 2018 but has yet to be released—it's unlikely that the similarities are anything more than coincidental.) I can point to ebi-hime’s Once on a Windswept Night and Katy133’s [redacted] Life for visual novels which play with the relationship between protagonist and player, and to NomnomNami’s Her Tears Were My Light as a game that uses a non-chronological progression (coincidentally, all of these are from 2016, the year before DDLC’s release).
Even the lack of originality isn’t necessarily a problem, but story-wise, DDLC doesn’t really do anything particularly well. It’s pretty, and the technical effects are nice, but it doesn’t commit to anything. Its handling of mental illness starts off on a promising note, but the nuances it sets up are almost immediately discarded in favor of shock value. Writing-wise, it seems to imitate a mediocre translation from Japanese (complete with a direct reference to a pun that doesn’t make sense in English), with the effect that...well, it reads like a mediocre translation from Japanese. Just because it’s intentional doesn’t make it a compelling experience.
While there are plenty of visual novels I can recommend even to people who think they don’t like the medium, it's hard to recommend DDLC itself other than to know what all the fuss is about (and maybe as a Ren'Py tech demo—the technical effects are the most interesting part of the VN, and the primary reason why this isn’t a two-star review).
If you enjoyed Doki Doki Literature Club...
Related GamesPeople who like Doki Doki Literature Club also gave high ratings to these games:
|Bigger Than You Think, by Andrew Plotkin|
Average member rating: (40 ratings)
Bigger Than You Think is a choice-based interactive narrative. This game was written for the Yuletide 2012 fanfic exchange. The game was inspired -- perhaps loosely -- by Randall Munroe's comic xkcd-1110: "Click and Drag". The touch of...
|Text Quest, by Chris Ingerson, Sleepy Owl Software|
Average member rating: (1 rating)
Text Quest is a first person text-based adventure where everything in the world is made up of words. Trees are the word "tree," clouds are the word "cloud," and giant spiders- well, you get the idea. Travel from dark forests to colossal...
|The Warbler's Nest, by Jason McIntosh|
Average member rating: (77 ratings)
Surely the reed bank counts as a wild place. While it gives you so much, you've never tended it, not really, not like you do with your garden. It's something like the forest, then, but much safer to search without attracting attention....
Recommended ListsDoki Doki Literature Club appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Nontraditional Parser, Gamebook, IF and Systems by thecanvasrose
This list is based on a poll you can add votes to. I will update the list from time to time to reflect what's on the poll as I play the elected games and can write snippets about them. See here:...
PollsThe following polls include votes for Doki Doki Literature Club:
For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible innovation uses of 2017 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2017 which you think might be worth considering for Best Use of Innovation in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not...
Nontradiational Parser, Gamebook, IF and Systems by thecanvasrose
I'm making a list based on this poll as I play the elected games and can write snippets about them. See here: https://ifdb.tads.org/viewlist?id=3n6rheokfkcsntf - - - - - - - - - I'm looking for games which are: 》Neither parser nor...
For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible NPCs of 2017 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2017 which you think might be worth considering for Best NPCs in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not mentioned here will...
This is version 4 of this page, edited by lunaterra on 10 May 2019 at 5:17pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item