Doki Doki Literature Club! is a visual novel developed by Team Salvato. It's a free game available on Steam or Team Salvato's official website. It was released on September 22, 2017.
The general gameplay of Doki Doki Literature Club! is designed to lure players into a sense of comfort before subverting their expectations. The first few hours of Act 1 go normally like any other dating simulator before everything changes in Act 2, turning into a game of the psychological horror genre with heavy use of breaking the fourth wall. The game itself contains suicide, self-harm, mentions of depression, and graphic images of death.
Doki Doki Literature Club! includes four main characters excluding the protagonist/player character. Monika, the club's leader, Sayori, the club's vice-president in Act 1, Yuri, the club's vice-president in Act 2 and so forth, and Natsuki.
Doki Doki Literature Club!'s initial reception was overwhelmingly positive and it quickly gained a cult following. Gita Jackson from Kotaku claims that it is a "truly special game". In addition, Tom Philip, from the men's magazine GQ, called it one of the scariest games he has ever played.
Doki Doki Literature Club! won several awards at IGN's Best of 2017 Awards, including "Best PC Game", "Best Adventure Game", "Most Innovative" and "Best Story", all of which were "People's Choice". EGMNow ranked it 16th in their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017.
"Hi, 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? ♥"
- In Japanese, doki-doki (ドキドキ, Dokidoki) is the onomatopoeia for the heartbeat, which is often associated with the feeling of love, excitement, anxiousness, or fear. This can be understood as a purposely chosen ambiguity considering how the game turns from a normal romantic visual novel into a horror game.
- The whole game was made in Ren'Py.
- Doki Doki Literature Club's Horror Was Born From A Love-Hate Relationship With Anime, Kotaku
- Doki Doki Literature Club Is the Most Messed Up Horror Game You'll Play This Year, GQ
- Best Story, IGN Best of 2017
- Most Innovative, IGN Best of 2017
- Best PC Game, IGN Best of 2017
- Best Adventure Game, IGN Best of 2017
- EGM’s Best of 2017: Part Two: #20 ~ #16, EGMNow
- Tweet by Dan Salvato