Current favorite game with innovative design!
Choosing one game over 100s of games is really a hard task. I would just like to start with a few of my favourite games over time and then focus on one game that is groundbreaking according to me. If I had to list out my favourite games overtime then it would be Pacman, Super Mario, need for speed, GTA series, Assassins creed 2, Watchdogs, Life is strange, Doki Doki literature club, Missed messages, Simulacra, Pokemon Go and last but not the least Counterstrike. Counterstrike is the game that I would play mindlessly just to enjoy with a bunch of friends.
As of now, I will be focusing on Doki Doki Literature club. It is a game that isn’t pretty popular among people. Gamers who are into psychological or narrative games tend to have an idea about this game.
Doki Doki is a dating simulator as said on the game’s steam page which is clickbait. The game is clearly a psychological horror. The moment a person looks at the art they would clearly feel it is a cute game catered towards the feminine audience. The fact that it is a visual novel also adds to the perception. In the game, you play as a male protagonist who is trying to woo the female characters in the game.
There are 4 NPC’s namely - Yuri, Sayori, Natsuki and Monika. Sayori is the player’s childhood friend and she invites the player into a literature club at their school. The other NPC’s are a part of the club. The club revolves around writing poems and reading them out. So the poems are the way for the character to woo the girl he wishes to date.
The poems are created by the words of choice made by the player. The player has to understand the girls and the kind of words that would impress them. This is how the player progresses their way through the story. However, Monika cannot be romanced in any way, which later affects the plot of the game.
A cultural fest is being organised by the club members and at that point, the player has been informed by Sayori that she is dealing with depression. Soon, the player helps Natsuki or Yuri based on the choices, with the preparation for the fest. At this moment, each of these two attempts to kiss the player and right after this the player tends to meet Sayori where they either have to confess their feelings to her or friend zone her. Soon after this moment, Monika reveals a very morbid poem that was written by Sayori. On reading this the player visits Sayori only to find her hung dead by the ceiling.
Post this the entire game resets and Sayori is missing in the story, nobody knows about her existence, the player is introduced to the club by Monika this time, the game constantly keeps glitching and the story starts repeating. This time the play can only court Natsuki and Yuri. As the story goes ahead, there are special poems in which it says that Natsuki is malnourished and has a toxic father. Suddenly, the calm and considerate Yuri turns into an unstable person with tendencies to self-harm.
The cultural fest is right around the corner again and the player is forced to choose Monika this time, which leads to a fight amongst the girls. Yuri then confesses her feeling to the player in the classroom and no matter what the player chooses she starts stabbing herself until she dies. The player is then forced to stay with the body for a weekend. On the day following the weekend, Natsuki spots the body throws up and runs out. Monika apologises to the player for having a bad weekend and deletes the files of Yuri and Natsuki.
The game restarts again and now the player is in a room with Monika staring at them. Monika breaks the fourth wall of the game by revealing certain personal details of the player. She also confirms that she is self-aware and can manipulate the code that is the reason she was not a romance option. She keeps saying “Just Monika” which was really creepy.
Monika would talk about random things for hours. I was personally stuck in Monika’s loop for an hour and then I realised that deleting her character file would technically break the game.
On deleting her character, the player would notice that the game is reset but now Monika is missing and all the other girls are visible.
There are 3 endings to the game. I will first explain the ending that I got. Sayori becomes the president of the literature club and shows gratitude to the player for deleting Monika from the game. But soon Sayori starts behaving like Monika and Monika chooses to delete Sayori and eventually the whole game. On deleting the game Monika states “No happiness can be found” and then the end credits roll.
Even on restarting the game, the game is not playable anymore.
The other 2 endings include
Sayori expresses her gratitude to the player for saving the club members from the wraith of Monika followed by a message from the developer Dan Salvato.
Sayori becomes the club leader and one realising her role she panics and closes the game. On opening the game, the only thing that can be seen is Sayori hanging dead.
The game is beautifully designed because of its theories and the whole breaking the fourth wall aspect. It wonderfully portrays grief and mental illness. The art of the game is Manga-style which makes it look very light-hearted and does not give the player a gist of what exactly they are getting into.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the game brought innovation to the world of visual novels. Everything about the game had an intense effect on me while I was playing it. It triggered various emotions during the playtime and after it too. This game will always be something that remains close to my heart.
Images are picked from google!