Released in 2017, Doki Doki Literature Club! quickly amassed a cult following for its shocking story and non-traditional plot structure. If you’ve played it, you’ll know that this game is not what it appears to be at first.
From independent game studio Team Salvato, this game looks like a lighthearted dating simulator. It quickly unfolds as you play through, creating a dark, twisted atmosphere and throwing up a disturbing story. If you enjoyed DDLC, you’ll be happy to know that there are other games similar to it that you’re sure to enjoy.
Here are 7 games like Doki Doki Literature Club! that are worth checking out, covering a few different subgenres and styles. They’re not all exactly the same in terms of gameplay, but do offer a similarly dark, story-driven experience.
Please note, several games in this list have dark themes and we would advise looking up trigger warnings for them. This applies to DDLC, too.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc initially came out on PSP in 2010 but ultimately became available on a number of other platforms, including Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch.
If you liked DDLC, there’s a very good chance you’ll also like Danganronpa because it gives off a very similar vibe. The game became so popular around the globe that it ultimately led to the creation of a stage show, two novels, an anime TV series, and two mangas.
In Danganronpa, you are a high school student named Makoto Naegi who attends Hope’s Peak Academy. It’s a school where only the brightest students in Japan go to. School life changes drastically when a robot bear named Monokuma imprisons the students and promises freedom to any person who manages to get away with murdering one of the students.
The promise of freedom leads many classmates to commit terrible crimes. As Makoto Naegi, you have to interact with fellow students to figure out who is behind different murders. The gameplay features elements from both third-person shooters and dating simulations.
The idea behind Danganronpa came about after video game designer and writer Kazutaka Kodaka set out to create a new type of game. Inspired by text adventure games like A Dark Room, Kodaka got the idea to create a shocking experience full of twists and turns to keep players engaged.
In the game, you’ll have to go back and forth with students in arguments and use their words against them to uncover the truth. You can also use popularity to your advantage by swaying classmates to your side. It’s an exceptional game and worth checking out if you’re a fan of games like DDLC.
Undertale has legendary status among the global gaming community. Indie game developer Toby Fox created Undertale by himself in 2015. You can play Undertale on Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation Vita.
In the game, you play as a child that falls into a place beneath the surface of the Earth. On your journey through the Underground, you encounter a number of monsters. Some monsters will challenge you to a fight.
An interesting concept in the game is that you don’t have to kill monsters during a fight. Instead, you can choose to subdue or pacify them to spare their lives. Keep in mind that every choice you make in the game will affect future dialogues, characters, and the overall story.
Undertale is a video game in which you should expect the unexpected. At the very beginning of the game, you realize that things aren’t always as they seem. This will be a familiar feeling for fans of games like Doki Doki Literature Club! for sure. The unique combat mechanics and storytelling provides a special experience that not a lot of games can.
Similar to how you expect DDLC to be just a dating simulator when you start playing, you think Undertale is a cliche retro-style RPG until you quickly learn that it’s not. This is a game that features so many unique elements that it’s hard to describe it in words – you simply have to experience it.
It took Toby Fox around 32 months to finish making Undertale. He gathered funding on Kickstarter and set out to create an RPG different from the traditional design.
If you’re hunting for more games like DDLC, this is worth checking out. It’s not the exact same in terms of aesthetics and gameplay, but it offers a rich and story-driven experience, unexpected twists and turns, and intriguing, unique aesthetics.
The Song of Saya
The Song of Saya is a suspense psychological horror visual novel that initially came out in Japan in 2003 and ten years later for the rest of the world, coming out on Android in 2014. The plot of this visual novel was written by Japanese novelist Gen Urobuchi, drawing inspiration from Lovecraft books.
In the game, you take on the role of Fuminori Sakisaka. You’re a medical student who barely survives a car crash after getting life-saving brain surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery leaves your senses distorted to the point you see everything around you as lumps of intestines and flesh.
In the hospital, you meet a mysterious girl named Saya. She appears as a beautiful woman with fairy-like wings, but that’s not how others see her. From there, the game takes you on a wild ride that will make you experience many different emotions.
The Song of Saya is definitely not suitable for all audiences due to its graphic imagery, but if you enjoyed playing DDLC you’ll surely love this. There are three different endings in the Song of Saya. Your choices will determine the final outcome.
The game is quite short, yet it will leave an impression on you for a very long time. The dramatic voice acting paired with the creepy soundtrack will set the tone for a truly disturbing experience. It’s one of the best games like DDLC.
Sound of Drop – Fall Into Poison
Sound of Drop is a visual novel which initially came out in 2015 and got lots of praise for its story and soundtrack. In the game, the player takes control of a high school student named Mayumi Nakanobe.
Mayumi is a girl who dealt with the tragedy of losing her younger sister Mari during a family trip to one of Tokyo’s aquariums. No one was able to find Mari’s body and that weighed heavily on Mayumi, who isolated herself from friends and made a vow to never set foot in the aquarium again. That is until she meets Himeno.
Himeno is a girl who makes extraordinary efforts to befriend Mayumi and one day invites her to the aquarium. Mayumi is hesitant but ultimately decides it’s time to face her greatest fear. That’s where your story starts.
In Sound of Drop, the choices you make throughout the game will impact the outcome. There are three different main story routes that you can take. There are also more than 30 endings in the game and they usually aren’t pleasant to watch.
Unlike some visual novels, there isn’t any voice acting in Sound of Drop. You have to use contextual clues, posture, and facial expressions of the characters to figure out the subcontext. The soundtrack is outstanding and gives a chilling vibe throughout the game, making this a perfect pick for lovers of games like Doki Doki Literature Club!
OneShot is an indie game from Future Cat, and you can currently play it on Windows, macOS, and Linux, with console ports for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch currently in development.
In OneShot, you take on the role of a god that needs to guide the protagonist Niko, a child with blue hair and catlike eyes. One day, Niko awakes to a world inhabited by robots. Before coming to this world, Niko used to live in a small village surrounded by a wheat farm.
When Niko finds himself in this strange world inhabited by robots, he learns that it’s his duty to save the world by restoring its long-dead sun. Niko learns this from The Entity, otherwise referred to as The World Machine – a simulation of the world.
In OneShot, you’ll enter a surreal puzzle adventure game that will make you wonder about the world. The mechanics are quite unique and will even go beyond the game window. You’re also bound to create a special relationship with the game considering how much it will draw you in.
Although not considered a true horror game, there are numerous parts of OneShot that can be quite chilling. The haunting soundtrack enhances this game. The game doesn’t have a combat system, which means you will have to rely solely on solving puzzles to complete your main quest.
The Hex is a peculiar game that combines several different genres to provide a unique experience for players. It’s from Daniel Mullins Games and came out in 2018. Throughout the Hex, you will be playing a first-person shooter, a turn-based strategy, an RPG, an isometric shooter, and more.
If you love games like Doki Doki Literature Club! with unconventional mechanics and ideas, you will really enjoy the Hex. It comes from Daniel Mullins, who was previously known for making Pony Island. The game follows the story of Lionel Snill, a young video game author.
Lionel has created several All of the characters in abandoned games find themselves in a pub called the Six Pint Inn. One day, a murder occurs at the pub and you have to find out who the culprit is.
Once you set out on the journey to find the killer, you will be met with a ton of unpredictable events. Keep in mind that you should carefully examine every interaction you have in the Hex because you can pick up a valuable clue at any time.
It will most likely take you around six hours to finish the game on your first playthrough. During this time, you will genuinely wonder who is behind the murder. As you search for clues, you may even learn much darker secrets that you didn’t expect. Fans of games like DDLC will get a kick out of this game and it’s worth checking out.
Higurashi When They Cry
Higurashi When They Cry is a murder mystery and psychological horror game series. The first release in the series came out in Japan in 2002, while the eighth and final game came out in 2006. The games came out worldwide several years later.
The game is available on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android, and more. It is more of a sound novel, which is a slight variation of the visual novel genre. Focus is put on the atmosphere and sound, hence the sound novel title.
The story takes place in the fictional Japanese village of Hinamizawa where a strange festival is held each year to give thanks to the local deity. Weird and unexplainable things happen during this event, which sets off the disturbing story you’ll get to explore.
You take on the role of the protagonist, Keiichi Maebara, who moves to the village shortly before the events of the sound novel take place. The story of Higurashi When They Cry became so popular that it spawned manga spin-offs, light novels, an anime series, as well as a live-action film adaptation.
This is one of the best story-rich games on the Nintendo Switch, and it’s a must-play for fans of games like DDLC, too.