Doki Doki Literature Club is a notorious visual novel. It went from a free-to-play game to a phenomenon, due to its characters and content. With Doki Doki Literature Club Plus, for consoles like the Switch and PC, more people get to play what is a richer and fuller experience. It’s as entertaining and haunting as before, with a little more depth. But while the Switch version does everything you’d expect, font and UI choices can make it difficult to read.
Editor’s Note: This is a spoiler-free review.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus begins as most visual novels with dating sim elements do. You’re a high school student roped into joining the club your childhood friend Sayori is a part of. After attending a meeting, which involves club president Monika and fellow members Yuri and Natsuki, you decide to stay and get to know your classmates. You write poems, which might resonate with different characters depending on the word choices. And, as you spend time there, you’ll get to learn all sorts of secrets.
Now, part of what makes Doki Doki Literature Club so unique on the PC is being able to… let’s say mess around with files and things. Once you’ve played, the next time you play a virtual desktop comes up. This ensures you get the same sort of experience with Doki Doki Literature Club Plus on the Switch. It presents you with an actual menu where you can access the game, the six side stories, the special pictures that can be desktop backgrounds, and the jukebox with songs from the game. It’s handled quite well.
As for the side stories, those also are a fun addition. For example, the first Trust one involves the Literature Club’s origins. We see as it goes from one member, Monika, to what it is at the game’s outset. The unlocking methods are reasonable and make sense, since they involve playing the main game and writing poems. So all is generally well and fitting with the overall experience. As promised, these side stories offer more chances to spend time with the heroines, with the more effort invested resulting in more moments.
And Doki Doki Literature Club Plus does feel like a game which prioritizes its experience and fits on the Switch. The system is great for visual novels, after all. It looks great on the system’s screen. The accessibility options are a good fit too. in general, I’d wager most people have an idea of what they’re in for when playing the game. It warns you about potential trigger warnings, with an option to see an explanation of what to expect. You can also choose to turn content warnings on in-game before the darkest scenes.
The problem with Doki Doki Literature Club Plus on the Switch is that it isn’t conducive to being played in the ideal condition. That is, playing it in handheld mode on the go. The font is incredibly small and is white on a pink background. While there is a black outline, it is not enough to make it pop on that small screen. And even with all of the accessibility options present, there is no option to change the UI to perhaps have it be white on pink instead. It gets even worse if you go to the options menu to change something, as the highlight color is, you guessed it, pink. In the settings, it is pure white text with darker pink borders on pink, with the highlight also being pink.
Navigating through the Doki Doki Literature Club Plus UI is also not quite ideal on the Switch. Say you’re in the middle of reading and want to choose to turn auto-advance on, skip text, or head to the settings. Well, you can’t press a button to start auto or skip or read the history. You have to press the plus or minus key to scroll through the six options in the bottom of the text box. And when you do that, the highlighted option has a small arrow below it and the text turns, you guessed it, pink. On the pink background. It is an unfortunate design choice, and one where some button mapping and additional color choices would have made a big difference.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is a great way to revisit a visual novel that made quite a splash. For newcomers, it’s easy to hop into and enjoy, even offering the PC “workarounds.” For people who’ve joined the club before, the extra stories and media are enjoyable. The sole downside is that, with all its accessibility, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is difficult to read on the Switch and has an unfriendly UI. It also lacks easy one-button controls for things like auto-advancing or checking the history, as its contemporaries do. Still, it’s a fascinating read and story.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.