Six Games To Play If You Liked Doki Doki Literature Club

Doki Doki Literature Club is the kind of game where the moment it ended, I wanted to spend more time with its characters. Although I'll never be able to play it for the first time again, here are a few games you can check out if you're also yearning for a similar experience.

Yume Nikki

Dan Salvato, lead developer on Doki Doki Literature Club, has cited this classic indie horror game as an influence. It isn't hard to see why. Yume Nikki is a game where you explore the dreamworlds of Madotsuki, a sullen Japanese girl who won't leave her room. The tone is sombre and at times oppressive as you wander, alone, in search of something meaningful. It's lonely and touching.

Hustle Cat

Horror games are cool and all, but what if you really just want to play a nice visual novel where you go on dates? Hustle Cat is that game. It takes place in a cat cafe where all the employees turn into cats at night - yourself included, as you discover when you start working there. While there's obviously a supernatural element at play, this one isn't going to keep you up at night. The characters are easy to get attached to, and, in this game, there's nothing dangerous about that.

Night In The Woods

This game is about Mae Borowski, who has just dropped out of university and returned home. While she's mostly able to pick back up with her friends, she's also still dealing with the issues that made her return home, which go deeper than being a slacker. Then a whole bunch of murders start happening. This is a game set in a world that isn't quite right. As time goes on Mae and her friends discover that something evil lurks beneath their town, and, after band practice, they're gonna go kick it's arse.

Tokyo Dark

This game is a murder mystery about a cursed mask that takes the player through dark alleyways, dense forests, and the exploitative world of pop music. It's pretty upsetting at times, especially as protagonist Ayami Ito begins to lose her sanity. Through the game you juggle four meters that determine which kind of actions you can take, sanity among them. When Ayami isn't seeing the world clearly, the game looks and behaves differently for the player. Given what Ayami endures throughout Tokyo Dark, I don't blame her for losing her grip on reality.

The Zero Escape Series

These twisty puzzle games put you through the wringer. Starting with 999, the games in this series follow a group of people who have been kidnapped for unknown reasons and must solve puzzles or die. While the puzzles themselves are tricky but fun to complete, it's the plot that really makes these games special. It careens wildly through genres, telling a story of mystery and intrigue, and also a love that spans generations and timelines. Even at their silliest, I am deeply fond of the characters in Zero Escape. At their most affecting, these games break my heart.

Oxenfree

Writing teenagers is difficult, but Oxenfree mostly pulls it off. When six teens head to an all night party on an island, they encounter not just angst, but also ghosts. Using a radio, the characters can tune into a supernatural frequency that changes things in the environment and allows them to revisit past events. Sometimes interacting with these anomalies screws with how you're able to play the game. While the vibe of this game is close to a CW show, it still managed to give me some scares and also made me hope all these characters get their shit together.


Comments

    No Katawa Shoujo? I mean its a bit old now and has a tiny amount of porn but its still got top tier writing and characters.

      I logged in just to mention KS.

      Hnnngh!

      Last edited 24/01/18 3:39 pm

      sure katawa shoujo is kinda like the first half of doki doki but it never has a big genre swap twist. the allure of a big twists to me at least is the only reason I played and the only reason I enjoyed doki doki.

    Thanks for this list, Gita. I haven't played DDLC yet but the genre/concept seems really cool!

    May I add The Letter? It's made by a small Filipina company and is very well done

    it reminded me alot of muv-luv and hatouful boyfriend.

    Literally clicked to check for Zero Escape. Please play Zero Escape, the trilogy has been ported to most current-gen consoles now. (And if you'd prefer, all of the games are playable on Vita/3DS, although you'd have to note that 999 is only on 3DS through it's backwards compatibility with DS games.) I can't express my love for these games enough. Well, maybe I can. I keep buying them.

    (Oxenfree is also amazing too, playing it atm)

    Last edited 24/01/18 9:04 pm

    Even though this is an article for people who have played DDLC, I'll still spoiler tag these recs:

    Pony Island, OneShot, Superhot and Stanley's Parable for some of those "oh snap" fourth wall breaking moments. Though most have probably played these already.

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