October, that wonderful time of year when the weather starts to cool and scary movies start to pop up on television and on the main page of streaming services! To celebrate this month and the upcoming Halloween holiday, I have decided to take a look at some games in the horror genre. This time I will be taking a look at Doki Doki Literature Club a visual novel horror game, masquerading as a dating simulator. It was released by Team Salvato in 2017.
Doki Doki Literature Club is an anime-styled visual novel, where you play the role of a high school student who becomes the sole male member of the school’s literature club. The game plays like most visual novels, where you can read dialogue and occasionally select a dialogue option. There is also a mini-game where you pick words for “poems”, and the words chosen impact which girl will like your writing.
It’s barely a spoiler to note that this is actually a horror game, as it’s tagged as such on Steam and there’s a warning that the game is not suitable for children – though some may expect this warning to be due to a different type of adult content. However, to get into the story in detail would be a spoiler, so I’ll just be breezing over that. Suffice to say, the first day is relatively normal, and things go in an increasingly disturbing direction after that.
So, for the things that I can talk about, the art for the game is well done. It’s intentionally done in a cute anime style to make the shift in tone later more jarring. The disturbing stuff later on is also well done, in that it comes across as pretty horrific. I also thought that the music was done well.
I appreciate that this was done by a small team and that the game was distributed free. It is relatively short, you can complete the multiple endings in a few hours or so, depending how fast you read. The fact that this went for psychological horror, instead of jump scares, is also a nice touch.
Overall, I would give Doki Doki Literature Club a solid “B+”, or 8.5 stars. You can play it for free on Steam here, where it has an Overwhelmingly Positive rating. You can also download it for free from the developer’s site here.