Dating simulator turned sadistic horror thriller writes itself into gaming history


Don’t be fooled by the cute anime girls and sappy poetry. “Doki Doki Literature Club” will give nightmares to the easily disturbed. Be warned, this game contains extremely graphic content.

Maia Hito

Adorable anime girls and endless nightmare fuel make “Doki Doki Literature Club” a deranged and scarring gaming experience.

The latest indie game to hit the internet is a seemingly innocent dating simulator, following a protagonist who joins the school’s literature club to befriend its four female members, Sayori, Natsuki, Yuri and Monika.

To change the predetermined direction of the narrative, the protagonist must try and write their way into the charming member’s hearts. However, don’t let the upbeat soundtrack and stereotypical tight fitting clothing fool you. Things get bad, fast.

As you progress further into the playthrough, darker and darker hints sneak into the girls’ seemingly irrelevant dialogue. Monologues on the beauty of knives and the thrill of breaking skin escalates quickly to the climax, where one of the characters commits suicide.

After this scene, the initial playthrough abruptly ends, taking the player back to the main menu where any mention of the deceased character’s makes the game files glitch violently. Jumping back into the game, the dialogue takes control of itself, speeding through text and generating grotesque pictures to create sadistic jump scares.     

True to the game’s advertised warnings, this seemingly innocent romantic visual novel rapidly transitions into a slow burn horror game not suitable for those who are easily disturbed.

Available as a free download, this dating simulator features a linear storyline with several alternate scenes and endings depending on the players choices. Developed by Team Salvato, “Doki Doki Literature Club” mixes metafictional and horror elements, rising as one of the hit horror games of the year.

This misleading anime dating sim has already gained a cult following, with 10/10 ratings from more than 8,000 reviews on Steam.