What time does Doki Doki Literature Club Plus release?
When will DDLC Plus launch? DDLC Plus is available now digitally on PC and consoles! The physical edition of DDLC Plus will be available at NA retailers on August 31st, 2021! Where is the game available? serenityforge.comDoki Doki Literature Club Plus FAQ
As if high school romance weren't fear-inducing enough, Doki Doki Literature Club has just released its bigger, prettier version: Doki Doki Literature Club Plus. DDLC has long been one of the best free games on PC, though the new paid version comes with a visual upgrade, bonus content, and even some new stories on the side. You can now write poems for your school crush in extra-horrifying HD.
My instinct is usually not to spoil the surprises of Doki Doki, though the description of the Plus version gives itself away a bit more than the original. Team Salvato refer to it as a "critically-acclaimed psychological horror story," which it is, but I'll not let on what's so horrifying about what appears to be a standard dating sim visual novel.
"Your childhood friend invites you to join the school literature club," explains Mexi Gremillion in RPS's list of best visual novels. "You reluctantly agree to join and meet the other members of the club, all of whom are girls, and each day you make decisions about who to spend time with. This is a typical dating game set-up... until it isn't. To say anything more would be a spoiler, but Doki Doki spins off in interesting directions, both in terms of its story and the ways in which you're able to interact with it."
That all remains intact in DDLC+, though there are unlockable images, additional music tracks, and the double resolution artwork. It does also have six new side stories, though the developers at Serenity Forge explain that their intention was to make them neat side content that doesn't alter the experience of the original game too drastically.
"The Side Stories take place outside the timeline of the original game, and they instead focus on how all of the club members went from first meeting each other to becoming close friends," the creators explain. "So in the Side Stories, you really get to watch the club members grow together, as people. I think that will be really meaningful to those of you who relate to the characters, or maybe even find yourselves in similar situations."
Outside all those vague hints, Doki Doki is usually best experienced for yourself. You'll now have the option to snag that upgrade DDLC+ version or the original free version which remains avaiable.
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30 June, 2021 - 11:44pm
30 June, 2021 - 11:44pm
If you’re wondering what the hell Doki Doki Literature Club is, great! Stop reading this and grab a copy of today’s enhanced release for the PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X/S, Switch, and PC. All you need to know is that it’s a visual novel-style “dating simulator” with a little something extra. The story follows you, the unseen protagonist, as you join an after-school club at the behest of your childhood friend. To your character’s chagrin, the club is filled with pretty girls who desperately want your attention. Can you craft poems and make the right decisions to win their hearts? Are their hearts worth winning? It gets a little bit dark at points, which might be a bit of an understatement, so proceed with caution. Report back when you’re done so we can revel in your fresh reaction.
As for the rest of you, welcome to Doki Doki Literature Club Plus. It’s everything the original 2017 psychological horror masterpiece is plus a bunch of exciting extras. There’s an expansive gallery of images to be unlocked, a music player that I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time listening to, and cryptic emails between a fictional game development team curious about how the game they’re working on seems to be progressing.
Playing the game over and over again is the key to unlocking all the special scenes and side stories. Fortunately, like all visual novels, there’s an option to skip previously read text, so subsequent playthroughs go by pretty quickly.
30 June, 2021 - 11:44pm
Thus with a kiss I die
Version Reviewed: North American
You've probably heard of Doki Doki Literature Club. The anime dating simulator achieved massive popularity largely through word of mouth, and the Switch version — which this review is about, obviously — comes almost four years after its debut, which means you've either already played it, or you've heard about it and not played it, or... well, you know absolutely nothing. And you're in for a treat.
[SPOILER WARNING from this point on — We have kept it to only the vaguest, most minor spoilers, but if you want to go into Doki Doki Literature Club completely blind, then stop here, and play it. To summarise the rest of the review: It's really really good, with some extra content that's nice to have, but the PC version is a slightly 'truer' version of the story.]
Usually, when writing reviews, we can talk about the things that make the game good or bad without spoiling too much of what the plot is about. But with Doki Doki Literature Club, that's a bit harder, and we can't even tell you why. What we can say is that the game begins with a warning: "This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed." You may wonder what could be so terrifying in a candy-coloured dating sim, but we're here to tell you just trust the warning, okay?
Doki Doki Literature Club begins in as generic a setting as any: you are roped into joining the titular Literature Club by your childhood best friend, and despite your reservations about poetry, you decide to go along with it, if only because all the girls in the club are cute. After a few poetry-writing minigames, which provide you with lists of words designed to appeal to one of the three girls, you'll end up getting the attention of at least one.
Sayori, your best friend, is a cheerful and outgoing girl who, more than anything, wants you to be happy. Natsuki is the youngster of the group; in true anime dating sim style, she's the prickly, tsundere one who looks about twelve. Yuri is a dark-haired lover of novels who loves drama, death, and decay — in a literary sense, at least. And, of course, there's Monika, the club president, who's confident and organised, but sadly undateable. Through your poems and your choices, you'll get to know them all — but that's just the pastel candy coating on a chocolate filled with regret and despair.
We know, we know — it's terribly annoying to read a review that keeps hinting at dark things to come and refuses to tell you about them, but trust us: Doki Doki Literature Club is one of the most inventive and creative visual novels we've played. Though the visual novel genre has existed for decades, it's only fairly recently that developers have begun to toy with the metagame — the parts of a game that exist as presentation devices, like menus, interfaces, text logs, and so on. If you've played any of the Zero Escape games, or The House In Fata Morgana, you'll know what we mean: these are games that set up your expectations only to knock them down.
Doki Doki Literature Club came out originally on the PC, and the PC itself is a large part of DDLC's weirdness-twist-meta-genre-breaking-absurdity. Many people, upon seeing that DDLC was coming to Switch, had one main question: How will they manage the [REDACTED]? It's a fair question, because the [REDACTED] is intrinsically tied to the platform.
You'll be glad to know that it's handled pretty well on the Switch. We can't tell you how, because, you know, spoilers, but it seems to us that the PC version doesn't give the game away quite as obviously. It's not a huge problem, of course — the Switch version is a clever adaptation — but if you want the real deal when it comes to the bit of Doki Doki Literature Club that gets weird, you're best off sticking to Steam. It would have been fun to see DDLC playing with the Switch in the same way, but we can understand why that might not have been possible on top of the time and effort that porting takes.
By and large, the Switch version is fantastic, and if you're looking for more metafiction on the hybrid console, then this is one of the best out there. Team Salvato have used a number of smart, creative, and unexpected tools in their arsenal to craft an experience that will constantly leave you surprised, horrified, and nervous. It's hard to imagine how a visual novel can leave you unsettled until it does, repeatedly, and without warning.
What's more, the Switch version is technically called "Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!" which includes concept art, key art, a music player, and "Side Stories", which give you more insight into the four girls before you turned up. The side stories are sweet and bitesized, taking no more than five to ten minutes to read through, and playing them after the events of the main story will flesh out the characters nicely, adding a bittersweet flavour to everything you've learned. The visuals have been revamped to be fully HD, too, and there are thirteen new tracks to listen to.
To turn away from the prose and the [REDACTED], though — because this is a review, after all — there are a few little issues on the Switch version that make it a little difficult to play. The most egregious of these is the text size, which is absolutely minuscule in handheld mode, and not much better docked. The text is white with a black outline on a pale pink background, which is pretty tricky to read, and the options — which allow for text speed, content warnings, and the power to skip dialogue — don't have any settings for size, font, or colour. Good luck if your eyes are any older than the girls in the game; you're going to be squinting for days.
So, is Doki Doki Literature Club good? Without qualifiers and without reservations, the answer is a resounding "yes". If you love visual novels, post-modern narratives, horror, or you're just looking for something a little different to the normal fare, then give DDLC a go. It'll only take you about five hours to play through (if you don't immediately play it again, like we did) and it's a great price for the creepy stamp it'll leave on your brain for days.
Don't discount Doki Doki Literature Club because it's cute, because it's pink, or because it's an anime dating game — this is one of the most unnerving, effective horror games on the Nintendo Switch to date. The extra content adds nicely to the creeping anxiety and the heartbreaking story, but the Switch version does end up feeling slightly inferior to the PC version, despite fantastic effort on the port. You won't lose anything by playing this version, though — if it's the one you want, go for it!
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About Kate Gray
Formerly of Official Nintendo Magazine, GameSpot, and Xbox UK, you can now find Kate's writing all over the internet. She moved to Canada a few years ago, but gets tea imported from England, because she has good priorities.
I'm not going to read this until I've played it lol. hey, just realised, this is a shinning example of why number scores are great. If it was a 4, I would have had to wonder why.
@GrailUK I have only went to see this for the rating for the game. Looks like it is good. Might pick it up.
If a game is 7 or above, I will buy. I will also look at Metacritic scores too
[REDACTED] is more effective on PC. I see what you did there Nintendolife.
Except, that it's not a dating sim. It only looks like one.
Which is the best part of the game.
(and yes, the game is great.)
@sanderev Its bc they try to make you think that!
Pretty nice review, how I would review the game, Still kinda sucks there's no free to play version saying as you didn't have to pay for this back on the pc.
(SPOILERS!) to me , i always found that ending kinda unreasonable with the real girl talking to us and singing the song , it broke the immersion and i wished the game remained in its own dimension , also i feel this game was mostly popularized by content creators giving it better scores than it deserves , overshadowing some VNs that are just way better.
@anoyonmus I'm avoiding the comments section like the plague too hahaha
So...without spoilers, is it better to just play the free PC version, or is this worth the purchase? I know nothing about this game and have done a very good job at avoiding spoilers thus far, so I'm not going to read this.
This game is a 10. Not biased at all in that, heh
Had zero interest when the premium edition sold out immediately through Serenity Forge's website. But when the standard edition was made more widely available through retailers, I snagged a copy. Looking forward to this.
also if you want a better highschool VN , you can try something like Tokyo school life
@Natsukidood it probably would be, but I think the PC version is a better representation of the game's [REDACTED]! The new content is brilliant, though
@moodycat without spoilers:
the story MIGHT hit harder on PC, but the Switch version is plenty good enough. If you prefer to play games on Switch, you won't lose out by giving this version a go! It's the same experience, more or less... and you'll see what I mean when you play it
@KateGray I definitely have a preference for playing games on Switch - I've been steadily replacing my Vita VNs with Switch versions, picked up a few Aksys otomes recently, and I waited aaaaages for Nurse Love Addiction/Syndrome to drop in price sufficiently so I could justify buying them on Switch instead of Steam.
I have about £21 in gold points right now so I'll pick this up, it's basically getting it for free? xD
@moodycat Hard to say. The free PC version can have some more effective moments because of [REDACTED], but I imagine you'll have a similar experience in Switch. You'll just have to decide if the extra content and upgrades are worth the $15. But whether you go for the extra content or not, you absolutely should play this game. It's really good.
@Shepdawg1 It's been on my to-do list for a while now, but like many things I just haven't gotten around to it yet. It took me a very long time to read Umineko (which unfortunately I did not enjoy) and I was a little burned out on VNs after that. I've only just started reading them again so this is back on my radar.
@moodycat oh wowww that's a lot of points! Yeah, do it (and then we can talk about the bit with the THING and the OTHER THING and the STUFF)
It’s best to watch your favourite YouTuber let’s play series than actually playing it yourself.
I pre-ordered the physical edition but I'm mega excited to finally try this one.
After reading the review and the comments, I'm going to play this just to find out what the Hell [REDACTED] is. I've read [REDACTED] more times in the last 10 minutes than I have in the prior 36 years.
The review has actually made me want to get this game after thinking it wouldn't be for me (despite previously acknowledging it'd probably be interesting for others).
The uninitiated should take note of just how much everyone is trying to avoid spoilers, even though we all obviously REALLY want to give spoilers. That's your sign that this game is something special.
They should also take note that, years after playing it, the images displayed in this review, while undeniably adorable, make me feel deeply unsettled. Do with that what you will.
I do want to try this one day but I don’t want to spoil myself so I might read all this after I’ve played it.
How do you delete files on Switch?
@VenomousAlbino hahaha, [REDACTED] about that!
I absolutely adore the PC version (and have never had any interest in visual novels or dating sims, so that's an achievement) and have always wanted a physical copy, so have snapped this up to support the dev and to try the extra side content - not arrived yet but looking forward to it. 😍
I want the dev to do well and make cash so I thoroughly recommend everyone snaps this game up, but I have to assume that the core experience is best enjoyed first time round on PC, if possible, because of [redacted] 😂
My only gripe so far from reading this review is it's a shame you cant adjust text size, I only have a Switch Lite with an even smaller screen than normal. I'll get the magnifying glass out 🧐
@samuelvictor oh yeah, on Switch Lite it'll be tricky. At least you can move it closer to your face!
@JokerCK Do they mean,... the "spice"?
I just bought this from the eshop after seeing this review score (I avoided the rest of the review) and hearing the creator/dev talk about it on the IGN's Nintendo Voice Chat podcast. I'm going in blind for the most part, I'm not big on visual novels, not a big anime fan, and I'm truly baffled as to why this is such a good horror game. I'm a big horror fan and am very much looking forward to trying this out after I'm off work in a few hours. Been trying to get into visual novels, I want some stuff to play through on the Switch when I'm tired & don't need crazy fast reflexes/reaction times & can just chill out & click through the story. I've got this & Phoenix Wright on deck, so hopefully they turn me on to the genre. Thanks for the review! You definitely helped sell me on a game that I usually would've passed right over & never thought twice about it.
Even for me it's a buy to own and if I get around to playing it - I'll get around to it.
@GalacticBreakdown I'm always so thrilled when my review can convince someone to try something new!! I really hope you enjoy it
Is this game really that good? I’ve never really played a visual novel but I enjoy anime and thought about picking up famicom detective or whatever it is but maybe this is better? And it has physical 🤷🏽♂️ Any insight would be appreciated
@moodycat Better on PC. It makes great use of the platform.
@TDRsuperstar2 This game is not for the faint of heart. After one scene I had to take a few days away from it. And then it gets worse.
@SmaggTheSmug really? Geeze… now I gotta see what the hype is about
I was worried about the translations in other languages.But when i played it earlier,the poems translated in my language,italian,were perfect.
@SmaggTheSmug actually I just read some spoilers online and I think I’ll pass on this one.
@VenomousAlbino I wonder if I can adopt [THAT] as my username. ... Well, maybe after the vaccination rate climbs.
I really don't like visual novels but the mystery here is just too intriguing
@KateGray is that the free game on PC?
Is this game worth the price?
Game is free on PC and sounds like the more authentic experience anyway.
It doesn’t sound like the “Plus” content gives much if side stories are that brief at like 5 min a piece. This game was never beefy to begin with and was more for the “experience” which was why I was fine when this was free.
I don’t mind paying money for VNs. I felt Clannad on Switch was worth the price, but hard to justify this one if there is a free version that has most of the content/delivers the “experience” better anyway.
Cant wait for this game to come out physically. I’m curious to see how they implemented… things.
Wow...that review both said so much...and so little at the same time LOL! I am very intrigued
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It's the little things that count
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Don't worry, not a fore out of ten
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30 June, 2021 - 11:44pm
30 June, 2021 - 11:44pm
When you regularly experience different games and stories, becoming somewhat set in your ways is unavoidable. You know what you like, you know what you don’t; and if you’re like me you sometimes actively push back against the memetic spread of hype when something out of your usual tastes starts catching on. That may read as contrarian, but the root of that avoidance comes more from wanting to enjoy something on my own time rather than dropping everything to ride a wave of popularity.
Such was the case with Doki Doki Literature Club, a game which became increasingly known (and in some ways renowned) after its 2017 debut for reasons we’ll get to shortly. Much of that growth seemed to come from viral exposure and the rapid growth of a fandom – the very roadblocks that make me want to hold off on a game until the fervor dies down.
Now here we are with Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!, an updated and expanded look into this charming slice of high school life. Coming out the other side, I’m both glad to say I avoided learning more than the absolute minimum until I was ready, and sorry to say it took me so long.
Before moving any further, there are a few warnings to address. First, Doki Doki Literature Club is a game that should not be spoiled if you can help it. If you know next to nothing about the game, I highly suggest downloading the completely free PC version for the core experience. If you like what you see, want more of it, or enjoy the idea of sharing it with someone easily then Plus on Switch will be ready and waiting for you.
Reading any further past this point will go into spoiling and discussing the game’s actual content. Consider this cute screenshot the final barrier.
The other warning is that DDLC deals with (and openly warns you as a player of) some serious and potentially uncomfortable themes. Depression, anxiety, abuse, self-harm, suicide, and a lack of self worth are all brought to the forefront in this by all early appearnances sugar coated visual novel. There are ways to toggle on indicators for these depictions as you play. This review will be addressing some of these themes as well within the context of their place in the game.
With that out of the way, it’s time to join the Literature Club! The first half hour or so with DDLC introduces you to the club’s four members: your bubbly-yet-flighty childhood friend Sayori, the smol and abrasive Natsuki, quiet but obsessive Yuri, and the club’s president Monika. The game’s namable, playable character only attends due to Sayori’s insistence, but soon he’s driven by the potential to romance any one of these cuties.
You do so by “writing poems” and occasionally making dialogue choices. The poems are less that and more picking from words you think your intended best girl will appreciate. These match up with their interests and personalities, and pursuing your favorite isn’t too tough if you pay attention. Impressing a girl will let you spend more time with them, though with hints that some of the others are catching on to your intent. It’s subtle at first, but between that, other conversations, and the girls’ own (fully written) poems you begin to get a fuller understanding of them all.
This culminates in the revelation that one of the four is suffering from severe depression. While I knew the story was building towards something, this still caught me off guard. It’s rare for a game to approach the subject with nuance and sincerity, with the character expressing her feelings both in how they impact her daily life and her relationships.
Suddenly certain bits of character, otherwise adhering to typical anime tropes, are revealed to be real symptoms. It’s only a short few sequences where her depression is at the forefront, but they manage to make an impact and set things up for an even bigger swerve. This all could have easily been treated poorly, but it works and I commend the game’s writer their effort to take the matter seriously within the narrative. The core of Doki Doki Literature Club’s first act elicited real empathy from me as a player, something I appreciated and wasn’t fully prepared for.
That was worth the more cookie cutter VN conventions that stain these pages. The other pursuable partners contrast with each other, but still fit typical molds of the genre. Their own secrets, struggles, and insecurities come forth later on and in side content (though not without foreshadowing) but never hit the same resonant peak. It’s in their personal stories that topics like anxiety and self worth are explored. I’ll admit trying to address its whole cast while still telling a mostly singular story would have likely crowded things, but I couldn’t help but want more.
Those minor criticisms are secondary to the following, though. The player character’s perspective and attitudes were bland and play into the railroaded mindset of needing to “win” one of these girls. Disliking him is the intent (per the game’s creator Dan Salvato) but watching his approach to talking with the other characters and even his attempts to help once he’s made aware of the fuller situation is frustrating to sit through. That lack of tact does give way to the game’s most shocking swerve of all though, one that fundamentally changes its very nature.
Due to this sudden shift, you begin to play through the game again but without one of the four girls present. Not missing, not ignored – deleted entirely from its narrative. As such you gain more perspective on their impact on the club’s dynamic as a group of friends, which was an interesting approach. It’s very It’s a Wonderful Life in how it shows how the rest would be without their presence, and is relatable for anyone who’s wondered exactly how they fit into any social dynamic. This wasn’t the main focus of the second act, but it was a subject I found particularly interesting.
It’s during this portion that Doki Doki Literature Club embraces both psychological horror and full meta-awareness of itself. For reasons that are made clear as you go, some of those personality traits you might’ve found cute before are dialed up. They become twisted and manipulated versions of the selves you knew, and seeing those differences pile on kept me engaged. Well, that and the sudden frequency of visual glitches, overwritten text, and the understanding that something or someone is making these things happen.
On PC you could actually explore the game’s files both to find secrets and potentially have an effect on the story, which is replicated on Switch via an in-game browser. It gets the job done, preserving one of DDLC’s most unique elements while also serving as a hub menu for the Plus exclusive extras.
While I felt the game was onto one thing with its initial (and I’d say earnest) hard left turn into discussing mental and social conditions, it goes on to mostly abandon that in the name of being “creepy”. Self harm becomes a recurring subject during these portions, but is used in a different and much more horrifying way. Put another way, Doki Doki Literature Club spent its first half tugging at my heart, only to pivot to trying to play with my mind. Surprise glitches and recognition of its own medium may be entertaining and unsettling, but for me the earlier tonal shift was more compelling and had potential all its own.
That’s not to say that happenings from the game’s second act on aren’t their own kind of morbid entertainment. The changes to the characters and presentation may not have resonated the same way but they led me down a rabbit hole of easter eggs and surprises. DDLC wouldn’t be itself if it didn’t interweave these two aspects, and even when it didn’t hit as hard I still ended up playing through (fast forwarding dialog I’d already seen) multiple times to delve further into its encoded world.
For the record, horror isn’t a genre I delve into much. That (and the strength with which they’re handled) may be part of why the emotional and character focused aspects centered on the Literature Club made a bigger impact on me. I did make the mistake of playing through some of the bleakest and most deranged moments in the dark, and actively lost sleep over this game because of it. Anything that manages to make its way under your skin like that has done something right.
I’d be remiss not to mention the finale specifically, though, which managed to leave a strong impression in all respects. Things build up in such a way that you lose any control over what’s happening, a sharp contrast from its genre inspiration that heightens its attempts at mind bending. It took me from the longest weekend of any video game I’ve ever played to a medium shattering finale that changes what Doki Doki Literature Club “is” for a third or fourth time. What it never stops being, though, is interesting. A blend of unapologetic and bittersweet were the lasting flavors, and even if I didn’t savor every moment that brought me to the end it was a refreshingly unique break from reality.
Revisiting Doki Doki Literature Club multiple times had other benefits aside from seeing new surprises and subtle twists on the story as I first experienced it. You’ll fill out a gallery as you play, some of which are locked behind things like selecting certain words for poems or exploring the game’s files. Even after at least four playthroughs and every side story I’m still missing some things, so anyone with a completionist mindset for these sorts of extras will have some added incentive to replay. These included all the girls’ poems in one convenient place, as well as concept art and other assets. The game’s soundtrack can also be revisited (and made into a custom playlist) from its own dedicated menu.
By getting to know each girl you’ll unlock brand new side stories that are in their own separate section of the game’s browser. Serving as something of a prequel, I suggest playing through them in the order they’re organized in their menu. Going through all of them will teach you about the founding of the Literature Club and how these four contrasting personalities became friends.
As I’ve already mentioned, I was more drawn to and impressed by these characters’ personal and social struggles and how they’re not shied away from. That’s what these side stories focus on, and I should have been careful what I wished for. Not because I miss the blatant horror elements, which are absent from these (along with the playable character), but because my heart can only take so many feelings at once. Yet I couldn’t stop myself from going through each of these vignettes in one sitting.
The side stories have you witnessing not just the Club’s beginning, but show how and why each of the four girls came to it in the first place. Their dynamics with each other are explored, pairing up the girls in ways that weren’t seen in the base game. If you ever wondered how Monika and Natsuki get along or what Sayori’s cheerful exterior does to Yuri’s more withdrawn personality, this is where you’ll find it. It’s a mix of tender and heartrending moments with the same care for its cast and those who relate to them.
System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: June 30, 2021
Categories: Visual Novel, Horror
Publisher: Serenity Forge
Developer: Team Salvato
When he isn’t writing for Nintendo Wire, Ricky’s anticipating the next Kirby, Fire Emblem, or if the stars ever align, Mother 3 to be released. Till then he’ll have the warm comfort of Super Smash Bros. to keep him going.
30 June, 2021 - 11:44pm
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus re-contextualizes the game’s setup. Instead of diving right into Doki Doki Literature Club directly, players are presented with a complete desktop computer interface. The main game scenario is simply an executable program called DDLC. Curious players can browse around and discover that there are hundreds of folders. While most of them are completely empty, a certain few have files that will reveal the deeper lore of the DDLC virtual machine.
Everytime the DDLC application is exited, players will boot up into the Metaverse Enterprise Solutions desktop. Extremely briefly it will flash the numbers 8:33 344 during its DOS-like start up. Players will need to browse folder files/internal/3/4/4 at 8:33 to read the MES user’s manual.
Inside files/internal/backup/system will be many applications with blank file types, most of which cannot be accessed. However, Towerkeys is actually an unmarked text file. Under the document’s Gear section is an entry of 2:40 221.
With the details found in Towerkeys, players can browse files/internal/2/2/1 when the clock is at 2:40. The file inside will detail the DDLC virtual machine and upcoming projects from the Metaverse Enterprise Solutions crew. This will also grant the hidden achievement Stonks.
There are a number of folders missing from the directory: 1/5/1, 4/2/0, and 5/4/5. In folder 5/0/1 will be a single file inside. It will open at 2:14 AM/PM, which represents Valentine’s Day.
Directly inside files/internal/backup/system will be the first batch of Meeting Notes from the admin team. It can be accessed at any time and simply gives some mention of the various team members and jobs.
The Poemwords text file can be located inside folder files/game. This document is a sort of cheat sheet for DDLC’s poem mechanic, giving the score breakdowns for Sayori, Yuri, and Natsuki. However, buried between Yuri’s favored words of “disaster” and “vivid” is the line 9:15 1,3,0. Opening this file will also reward a new background wallpaper showcasing concept sketches of the cast.
Exploring to folder files/internal/1/3/0 during 9:15 AM/PM will yield the second part of the Meeting Notes. There is a lot of various info inside, but two important parts stand out: the meeting is expected to end at 4:30; and that Sayori, Natuski, and Yuri are referred to as simply ABC or 123.
Browsing files/internal/1/2/3 at 4:30 AM/PM will allow access to Track 06 name ideas.txt. The document suggests the track needs a cute abbreviation like oWo or similar. For context, the file is talking about Doki Doki Literature Club Plus new file tracks and not the ones from the original release; it is not about the original track #6 Poem Panic. Players will want to then play through Side Stories until gaining track #19 Let’s Teamwork!, which has a runtime of 1:58.
Within files/internal/0/3/0 at 1:58 AM/PM will be the final meeting notes. Among the various details will be a simple line that OMG is at 12:55.
While not in the files section itself, some of the message sections will also be important. While going through Act Two of the DDLC application players will receive various messages from the Metaverse team. Eventually, there should be an e-mail from Senior Engineer Ive Laster. They will comment about Monika’s Twitter account and how it will for sure be 404’d.
Finally, going into the folder files/internal/4/0/4 at 12:55 AM/PM will grant access to the DDLC document. This will outline the splinter group working on altering the various Metaverse projects.
While these can be accessed in-game, Team Salvato is known for going extra meta with their games. It is possible Doki Doki Literature Club Plus will have more secrets via outside websites or other means.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Switch.
30 June, 2021 - 11:44pm
Originally released in 2017, I’d heard whispers about Doki Doki Literature Club. About how it wasn’t the game it seemed to be. About how dark it really was; about its unique twist. But being a PlayStation player, this PC visual novel dating sim eluded my gaze for four years, until a chance email came through my inbox with a review code for the console version. Titled Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!, this new version is more than a console port. It’s an expanded version of the original 2017 cult hit.
On the surface, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! is a dating sim where you the player join a literature club at your school, and must win the affections of four girls through writing your own poetry. Each girl has a certain style that they gravitate towards. Yuri is dark and deep, liking big words and complex allegories. Sayori is all about feelings. And Natsuki likes to keep things simple and cute. You don’t actually write full blown poems as much as selecting words from a random assortment based on who you are trying to write the poem for. Scenes back at the school will change depending on who your poems end up gravitating towards. It will be hours before you start to uncover anything truly weird and horrifying, but rest assured, it’s coming.
What begins as a pretty traditional dating sim visual novel definitely harbors an unexpected secret. If you’re even passively intrigued by visual novels and dating sims, I urge you right now to stop reading and give this a shot, though be warned that it contains some pretty dark imagery and messaging, including themes surrounding hanging, suicide, self-harm, depression, and more (this is not a spoiler. The game warns you of this immediately on starting it up). However, I don’t think the twists are enough to really entice anyone who doesn’t enjoy a whole lot of reading in games or visual novels in general. It’s strangeness and disturbing nature aside, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! is still a visual novel with heavy amounts of reading required and minimal player interaction or choice in relation. You have to at least have a cursory interest in spending hours reading text and conversations between girls in a classroom to get enjoyment from the ultimate and rather disturbing payoff.
That said, to begin truly talking about Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! for all that it is, I do need to at least allude to some rather spoilery content, so if you’d rather go into it knowing nothing at all, stop here.
The key to Doki Doki Literature Club’s horrifying twist is in its metanarrative, which makes the fact that Doki Doki Literature Club is a game actually play into part of the game. With the original PC version, this meant actually accessing, modifying, and deleting game files on your computer in order to affect certain things within the game. Obviously, this isn’t possible on console, so Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! gives the game a virtual desktop in which to handle these same things.
However, this virtual desktop now fundamentally changes that metanarrative aspect by containing the metacontent within something that is clearly still just the game itself. Rather than actually doing things via the files in your computer, you are still ultimately just “playing a game,” even when engaging within these metanarrative moments.
While it still maintains a pretty spooky impact via its meta twist, it definitely feels more structured as a game experience, and less of a “ghost in the machine” than the original game intended. It would have been cool to see this virtual desktop attempt to recreate the PS5 UI in order to deepen that immersion, but that would have required a custom virtual desktop for every platform. This is similar to Telling Lies taking place in front of a computer screen and feeling a little bit odd and out of place on console. The intended immersive effect isn’t entirely ruined, but is certainly diminished.
The key to a meta narrative is breaking the fourth wall and making the player feel intrinsically connected to the experience, like it’s actually happening to them. This isn’t new in video games. Hideo Kojima did it with Metal Gear Solid, including making you read the CD case for Meryl’s Codec number and Psycho Mantis reading your controller ports and memory cards. Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! still has a pretty dramatic fourth-wall break as it begins to acknowledge the player directly, but the new virtual desktop makes the player another step removed from that meta-digital space, a necessary compromise in order to bring the game to consoles. Still, there are plenty of disturbing occurrences and psychological aspects that made me utter “what the fuck….” more than once.
This new Plus version of the game brings with it additional Side Stories, accessible from the virtual desktop and unlocked by viewing different interactions with the girls. These Side Stories are all strictly visual novels, with no choices, paths, or deviations. In fact, they don’t even involve you the player or the game’s ultimate metanarrative twist. They are entirely backstories that allow you to get to know Sayori, Monika, Yuri, and Natsuki a little bit better. There are six in total, each split into two parts, which explore the relationships between each girl in the months before you the player join the literature club. A final epilogue side story completes the package.
For players engaged with Doki Doki Literature Club for its meta twist and the darker aspects of the game, the added Plus content—mostly in the form of these Side Stories, though there are a few other unlockable images, secrets, and Easter eggs—doesn’t delve down these paths. The Side Stories aren’t dark, except to say that they can explore some pretty deep emotional topics as these four girls meet each other and interact. The Side Stories are not meta or fourth-wall breaking.
However, what the Side Stories are is deep new lore for fans of the game and its characters, for people who have wanted more of Sayori, Monika, Yuri, and Natsuki. They may not be gimmicks, but they exist because of a dedicated fanbase who want to see more dimension added to Sayori’s desire to make everyone happy or Monika’s feelings of inadequacy as a leader. They explore the rift between Natsuki’s love for the cute and simple and Yuri’s more introspective nature. They set up the dynamics of this literature club beyond two-dimensional characters that the player is trying to woo. And yes, some of these deeper insights end up making the main game’s twists quite a bit more heartbreaking.
Doki Doki Literature Club works best if you go into it knowing nothing about it. It’s still a visual novel dating sim, and the Plus! version really doubles down on the visual novel aspect, but it breaks the status quo and does the unexpected, making a deeply disturbing psychological horror game out of something that looks cute and adorable on the surface. The console version diminishes some of what made the PC version’s twist work so well, a necessary sacrifice to get the game to a wider audience. And if you are just looking to return to this world and these characters, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! feels like the version that was made for the fans.
30 June, 2021 - 11:38pm
What may concern past players the most is how the iconic endings work. Team Salvato has thought this through, and all versions of the game include a computer desktop interface. This allows anyone to relive the excitement of Doki Doki Literature Club and find even more secrets.
To get the normal ending, players need to go through all of DDLC’s Act 1 as presented without restarting and trying new outcomes. This means the three poem creation sections should only be attempted once (or even twice, but not three times) and players should only pick either Yuri or Natsuki to spend the weekend with (not both). During Act 2, players may make any choices as this doesn’t affect the final outcome.
In Act 3, players will need to exit out of DDLC and return to the Metaverse Enterprise Solutions desktop. Now, browse through the files option and into the Characters folder. Here, delete Monika.chr and then resume the DDLC application. If all of this is done, Act 4 will conclude with a farewell from Monika.
To get a much happier outcome, players will need to have a minimum of three separate save games during Act 1. In each individual save, players will need to construct two poems for each of Sayori, Yuri, and Natsuki, respectively. This will unlock CG art for each love interest on that day. Also, on at least two saves players will need to spend the weekend once with Yuri and another time with Natsuki. Finally, at the end of the weekend tell Sayori “I love you”. All of this must be done before entering Act 2. If Act 1 has already been passed, players will need to exit DDLC and run reset.sh from the main files directory. This will reset all progress and delete any saves stored on the Metaverse browser.
Players will need to complete the rest of the game, and if successful, Act 4 will end with a personal thank you letter from creator Dan Salvato.
To get the abrupt shock ending, instead of selecting the New Game option in DDLC, players will need to immediately exit to the Metaverse Enterprise Solutions desktop. Browse the files, into the Characters folder, and immediately delete Monika.chr. Re-enter the DDLC virtual machine to view a very sad and traumatizing ending. If players can stand waiting ten minutes, an extra message will eventually show up.
A somewhat brief ending can be seen during Act 2. To view this, players will need to write poems for Natsuki on both night one and night two. When Monika suggests sharing poems, players should select Natsuki. While this will result in the “end” screen, players will be brought back to the classroom without any prompt or reset.
Sayori prefers emotional, family, and romantic words.
Natsuki gravitates towards fashion, food, and animal related words.
Each Side Story is divided into two parts. As the protagonist of DDLC does not appear in these, players do not need to make any specific choices as all have finite conclusions. Each second part will also unlock new wallpaper backgrounds for the Metaverse Enterprise Solutions machine.
By viewing both parts of all six main Side Stories at least once, players will unlock a seventh epilogue installment titled Equals. This serves as the true end of Doki Doki Literature Club Plus. Players will also receive a new e-mail message from System Administrator Rea Vorte and background images for the desktop.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Switch.
30 June, 2021 - 11:00am
For most of the gaming world, the secret is out about Doki Doki Literature Club. Between countless theories and reaction vids on YouTube and the viral world of mouth spread when the game originally came out in late 2017, there are probably not that many people that haven’t either A: experienced DDLC, or B: at least know what the deal is after someone telling them about. Doki Doki Literature Club Plus, then, would have to come in pretty strong to justify a $15 re-release of a game that is currently free-to-play on Steam.
Fortunately, Team Salvato and Serenity Forge have come in quite strong indeed. Not only is the game now available on consoles, including the portable Switch, a significant feature in itself, but the team has added some significant and surprising new content to more than justify its $15 price tag whether you’re a new or returning player.
Just in case you missed the train the first time around let’s quickly go over the premise of Doki Doki Literature Club main campaign.
You play as an unnamed main character (MC) that effectively is a stand-in for you, and will narrate much of the game. You live in a town nearby your childhood friend name Sayori, a cute girl who is a member of the Literature Club in school. She ultimately convinces you to join the club which is home to three other girls: Natsuki, Yuri, and club president Monika.
Although at first reluctant, the MC gives in and joins the club, seeing it as an opportunity to get close to one of the girls by impressing them with your poetry writing skills. In-between long dialog stints (this is a visual novel through and through), you’ll play a short mini-game every once in a while where you “write” a poem by selecting words that you think one of the three romance options (Sayori, Natsuki, Yuri) will like.
You can figure out what they like by paying close attention to their personalities which are very distinct from one another. For example, Yuri is quiet, shy, and mature and is a fan of long and complex novels; so she prefers words that are complex, as opposed to Natsuki which enjoys “cute” things, and Sayori who is emotional and prefers words that are tied to emotions, be it happy or sad.
That’s pretty much as far as the DDLC goes as far as gameplay is concerned and, as a result, the first hour or two of DDLC Plus’s main campaign isn’t particularly exciting, even by visual novel standards. The writing is a bit cringe and the characters are over-the-top tropey. However, as many would come to learn back in 2017, that is all a setup for the meat of the story.
It becomes evident as the story progresses that the characters are becoming a little… unhinged, and one by one by one the Doki girls begin to show signs of serious psychological issues which eventually lead to some seriously messed up deaths and creepy moments.
The game itself will begin to change too. Characters start glitching out, horrific poems and art will pop on screen, and the dialog both in appearance and substance just starts going berserk. It all culminates into a final fourth-wall breaking moment where the player will actually need to go into the game’s files and make changes in order to try and regain control of a game that has gone completely bananas at this point.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus retains this entire experience, even in the console versions. I personally did not notice any major changes to the story. There might have been some small dialog changes that slipped under my radar, but by my accounts, the main campaign is effectively exactly the same as it has been since the original version released on PC.
The original experience is near perfect and reliving it, especially if you haven’t played in a while, is still a worthwhile endeavor. While, obviously, I remembered the big reveals, but re-experiencing some of the smaller but still batshit crazy and scary moments like Yuri’s eye drifting off, Sayori’s terrifying final poem, and Natsuki suddenly gaining realistic looking teeth and void eyes, felt like the first time again since it had been so long since I last played.
However, if you were expecting any major changes to the main story, such as a bit more detailed Natsuki Act 2 section – which is something I’ve seen mentioned quite a bit over the years – that does not appear to be the case. If there were any changes to the dialog or story, they were definitely not major and were subtle enough to slip under my radar at least.
Fortunately, there is a significant helping of new story content in the form of the side stories. The side stories in DDLC Plus are a total of 180 from the original game. For starters, they aren’t horror, at all, and the writing fits a consistent theme, rather than changing to suit the needs of each act in the main story.
Instead, the side stories focus on telling the story of how the Literature Club was formed and spend a significant amount of time fleshing out the four Doki’s personalities in a way that the main story just never had the time to do.
I didn’t time how long it took me to complete all of them, but it felt at least similar in length to the main story. A big part of why it felt meaty could be because of the emotional toll it took on me.
For me, someone who is a huge fan of the original game, the side stories were everything I could have hoped for. They are extremely well-written, overwhelmingly wholesome, and emotional, and give each character and character pairing (such as Yuri and Natsuki) an equal amount of time in the spotlight, and all come complete with new CGs featuring each character paired up together.
Most of them, especially the first side story Trust, featuring Monika and Sayori, are extremely heavy emotionally as the game leans into themes such as depression, self-love, respect, and more. The Dokis say out loud a lot of the negative things that cross through our minds and are there for each other as model friends. Thirteen new musical tracks added that can be heard while playing through the side stories wonderfully support the tone of each scene.
By the end of the side stories, the Dokis appear to have a bond that seems unbreakable. The main story hits different now too now that you know how close they all were to each other at one point.
The side story content is the main draw here in Doki Doki Literature Club Plus if you’re a casual or returning fan of the game. Hardcore fans, however, will likely get a kick out of the Pictures that are found in the game’s in-game Desktop – which, yes, is a thing to allow console players to mess with the game’s files as necessary
All of the game’s poems, CGs, and environment can be unlocked in the Pictures section as a collectible once you view them in-game. In addition, there are lots of other collectibles that can be unlocked such as concept art, social media art, and never-before-seen content that can be unlocked by doing specific things, such as writing a poem for a different character on each day, stuff like that. As a nice touch, you can also set one of the pictures as your desktop background if you want.
There’s also in-game music that will be added to an in-game player as you hear them in-game as well. You can listen to them at will while on the desktop and create playlists as well.
Finding out how to unlock all the collectible data in the game is a way for hardcore fans and completionists to “100% the game if they wish.
Finally, there’s also a mysterious mail inbox that can be found on your desktop where you’ll occasionally get emails from a company known as Metaverse Enterprise Solutions. The desktop app and the mail seem to imply that you’re an employee at the company. You can dig around the game’s files and you’ll come across other suspicious files. I have not figured out how to interact with them yet, but I bet someone smarter than I will start to piece together what it all means.
If I had to take a stab appears to be connected to the long-running theory that Doki Doki Literature Club is some kind of experiment and may have even darker roots than what is visible in the main campaign, and may even be connected to whatever Team Salvato is up to next.
Doki Doki Literature Club is among the most memorable, creative, and iconic horror games of the last decade and should be experienced by anyone who is able to safely stomach it. The Plus version of the game effectively adds even more valuable story content to the mix. The writing team was able to show off their skill in these side stories, and the result is a heartwarming experience that makes the Dokis somehow even more lovable than they already were.