Doki Doki Literature Club was one of the biggest surprises of 2017, and if you missed it because you don’t like playing games on PC for free, you’ve lucked out because now you can play it on virtually every modern platform for $15.
What Is It?
If you’re unfamiliar with the game, stop reading and dive in. Seriously. Just dive in. It’s not what you think it is, and it’s simply best when you go in blind.
Okay, so if you’re still reading, fine, we’ll talk a little more about it.
At first glance, Doki Doki Literature Club seems like just about every other interactive visual novel out there. You’re a dude in high school whose cute neighbor encourages you to join the literature club, where you’re greeted by three more cute girls. Everything you do in the game will be under heavy scrutiny trying to impress the girl(s) you like the most. Or so you think.
Why Should I Care?
It has the essence of a harem game, until things take quite the abrupt turn, making it one of the strangest and most unique experiences in gaming.
I’m not going to go into any extreme detail as to what makes it different–in fact, you kind of might have an idea as to what goes on because right when you boot the game up, the game warns you that it’s not for children or the faint-hearted, or people who have issues with subject matter relating to anxiety or suicide. The fact of the matter is Doki Doki Literature Club gets heavy and delves into some creepy territory, but it doesn’t end there either.
Part of what makes it so surprising that the game made it to consoles is the fact that there are various times in the story where you have to change a few settings on your PC’s operating system. That’s about the furthest extent I’ll go to without spoiling anything, but to any DDLC super fans out there–the way this is addressed in the console version is that the game comes with its own OS. This was the main thing the fan in me was worrying about when the game got announced, so while the fact that the game has a built-in OS was pretty obvious, it was definitely a welcome surprise.
So what makes Doki Doki Literature Club Plus worthy of its Plus branding? In all honesty, there isn’t a whole lot, but there is a bit of an extended single player mode in the form of Side Stories. Side Stories are just as the title suggests. There are six in the game that you unlock through normal gameplay, and they pretty much show the origin of the Literature Club and how Monika, Sayori, Natsuki, and Yuri come to meet each other. They’re actually a bunch of wholesome little stories, but nothing beyond that. I wouldn’t call any of the stuff here essential, but it does add to the game’s charm and overall value.
In addition to Side Stories, the last difference in this game versus the original is player access to all sorts of art that were essentially just footnotes in the old game. The art includes everything from the poems that were written by the four girls, to even some of the fan art that Team Salvato certainly enjoyed over the years. If you’re a trophy or achievement hunter, this is essential because one trophy in the game requires you to have every collectible, which means you have to play the game multiple times and select all possible choices (which is easy after the first time around because of the “skip” option). As rough as that is, there’s also some collectibles that you have a random chance at getting, so if you were expecting an “easy platinum” from Team Salvato, you should probably forget it.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
The main thing that makes Doki Doki Literature Club Plus worth anyone’s time is the fact that even four years since its original release, it’s still a shocking and unique experience. I didn’t think the DDLC Side Stories offered much to put the value at or over $15, especially with the original game being free, but they’re charming enough for both old and new fans to appreciate. I do have to admit that part of the motivation to get this game was to Platinum it, but with the last trophy I need being bugged, not to mention that you’ll need some luck to acquire it is annoying.
All that aside, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is an experience unlike any other, and for that, if you’ve never played it, the $15 price tag shouldn’t be a deterrent.