Enter a game where the world is bright and colourful and you've just joined a literature club full of cute girls - nothing could go wrong, right? Well, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! turns the anime visual novel genre upside down with psychological horror that will have you question everything that this supposedly innocent visual novel is telling you. Without spoiling too much, it's safe to assume that not everything is pink and rosey here in this innocent-looking after school club.
This game's plot, its concepts, its ideas and its execution are absolutely genius! There's simply no other game like it and it manages to break the trend of what we see video games to be and flips it on its head. Some games have tried to do the glitchiness and purposefully messing with the game but it has never felt natural until Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!.
The meta in this game is a strange and surreal concept, that's for sure! Getting engrossed into the plot and world of a game (especially when it's in first-person and the characters are addressing you) is designed to have the player feel as though they're one with the universe; so when that's flipped on its head and you are then forcibly taken out of that experience through in-game context, that's impressive. Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! does this in a spine-tingling manner and certainly doesn't hold back on some of its more distressing themes.
- Ingenious concept
- Unsettling meta
The port to consoles was obviously going to require a few less than favourable workarounds. More specifically, without spoiling too much, towards the end of the game, you're required to play around with the game's files. On PC, this was incredible as it actually required the player to go into their computer's folders and make changes to files related to the game. However due to the nature of consoles, this is non-existent, so the workaround was to build a makeshift PC operating system (OS) emulated through the game and have you clicking through menus there. It works, it still gets the same idea across but when you're altering files on what's clearly not an actual PC, the meta doesn't quite have the same effect.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! is certainly not one to sugar-coat its ideas as the concept is based around mental health, self harm and unhealthy obsessions. It walks along an artistic tightrope that, on the one hand, you want to be as faithful to the artist's intentions as much as possible but on the other, can be a tad insensitive to the issues at hand. The warning at the start of the game makes it very clear about its content and that it should not be consumed by children or by anyone who may find the content to be emotional triggering (likely for legal purposes but I'll give the benefit of the doubt here) and yet, I still couldn't help but feel once all was said and done that some matters could have been handled with a little more sensitivity.
- File tampering segments having less impact
- Bordering on insensitive
Final Score: 9/10
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! is a remarkable psychological horror game with some unfortunate (yet understandable) console workarounds. Even though you know something scary is about to happen, it still makes each hair stand up on end when it does. The psychological horror will likely double your heart rate and as the plot progresses, you won't know what to believe to be real. As is not surprising, the workarounds for the console version are respectable and the developers did what they could, but the ports were inevitably not going to be the definitive versions. Play this game on PC if you can but if you're unable to, you'll still have a wonderful time in the literature club on Switch.
Thank you for checking out our Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! Switch review, thank you to Serenity Forge for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: