A few years back I remember hearing a lot of positive things about a visual novel game called Doki Doki Literature Club. Apparently, the game was far more than it seemed to be and generated a lot of chatter online. I’ve played a lot of visual novel games so my curiosity was piqued but since the game wasn’t on consoles, I had no way to check it out for myself. Thankfully, publisher Serenity Forge and developer Team Salvato have answered my call and brought the game to all major consoles complete with brand-new content with the game now being called Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!
The story in Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! revolves around your player character who has just joined a literature club because a girl named Sayori asked him to. The club has a few other female characters that you’ll get to know named Natsuki, Yuri, and Monika. Each of them has their own unique personality as Yuri is a bookworm, Natsuki is cute but can be sour, Sayori is bubbly, and Monika is the confident leader of the club. At the end of each day in the game you have to write a poem at home for the next club meeting. This is done by the game giving you a list of 20 words that you have to select from with each word tying back to a certain one of the girls. Depending on which girl ends up with the most words relating to them in your poem you’ll end up getting more scenes with them.
This game is around eight hours long and for awhile you’ll wonder how there is anything strange about it. Don’t worry though because soon enough the game does take a dark turn and start touching on some really serious content. I was enjoying it up until this point but it was really here that the game got its hooks into me and kept me glued to my screen. I don’t want to say too much as this is a game that is best gone into knowing as little as possible and I would hate to ruin the experience for anyone as I wouldn’t want it done to me. That said some of the topics discussed include suicide, sexual themes, and much more. If you’re worried about any of this there are options that you can toggle that will let you know when something disturbing is going to come up.
If you are someone who played this game before and are wondering what new content is here then let me tell you. The most significant new content is the six side stories that have been introduced that focus on the different girls. These take place prior to the main story and help give you some extra insight into their characters. They aren’t really important in my opinion but it’s some solid extra content. Outside that all of the art in the game has gotten and HD upgrade making everything look a bit nicer than it did previously. A music player is included letting you listen to all of the old songs along with some new ones introduced in this version of the game. Finally, there is an image gallery full of wallpapers, sketches, and other art for you to look at as you will. The only downside to this extra content is that you will have to play through the game several times in order to unlock it all which could get old very quickly.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! starts a bit slow but quickly establishes itself after that as a must-play visual novel. Everything starts all cute and fun but when the dark side of these girls starts coming out, you’ll want to keep playing until the end to see what happens. The game touches on a lot of dark subject matter and it is very much a pure visual novel experience so if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy those things then this won’t be the game for you. For those who do enjoy this genre you’ll get a multi-hour long experience that will stay with you long after the conclusion.
*Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! Is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 5 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.