Doki Doki Literature Club!
|"Who could look at this title screen and not be like 'I'm|
having a good time already!'?" -- GG Danny
You should certainly give it a play (it's free!) if you are up for it and okay with the disturbing content - self-harm, suicide, mental illness, death and some minor gore), but otherwise, here are a few of my favorite playthroughs. Spoilers after the break.
Here's BowlingOtter and LissySandwich. I just discovered and subscribed to them. They are a delightful husband and wife team who provide an earnest, entertaining, unspoiled playthrough without the usual overbearing gamer snark. https://youtu.be/dyEOfH5A1es
If you like the snark, The Game Grumps do not disappoint. This playthrough is absolutely hysterical as they make up silly voices (Robotic Monika is scarily appropriate,) insert an entire subplot about potatoes, and then are gleefully thrown when the game turns. Arin is slightly spoiled, Dan is not. This playthrough is in many 15-minute segments and goes raunchy in places, but is worth it if you're into their type of humor. https://youtu.be/IkG9Y-f7x50
I'm not familiar with Koefficient, but ran across this one as suggested by YouTube. This is edited to stream highlights and is only 26 minutes long, but the setup is these guys intend to stream a horror game on Halloween with absolutely no clue why their viewers voted for them to play this innocent-seeming dating game instead of something actually "scary". They lose their minds in hilarious fashion ("We should have played another horror game! I don't want to play this anymore!") and are pristinely unspoiled. https://youtu.be/2u85dO6C2pA
And Etika, (his playthrough is good but very long) - this clip is at the point where he actually falls for Monika and spends a good amount of time ruminating over her wisdom in act 3. These two could probably do a weekly inspirational vlog together. https://youtu.be/9ePsISmE5G0
|So true, Yuri. Does this floor seem slanty to you?|
My own take on Doki Doki Literature Club - it's amazing how Team Salvato has created a stealth horror game that you ultimately just want to cuddle up with. This fable of almost cosmic horror mostly avoids all "haunted place" "scary stuff" tropes and shouldn't get away with including an end-credits song that on paper apes Portal, but deftly pulls it off. People tend to consider Monika the "evil" mastermind antagonist, but in reality, she has the most character arc which qualifies her as the stealth protagonist with you, the player, in tow along for the ride.
I think of it as a "fallen angel" story, a bit like It's a Wonderful Life reversed and turned on its head and made existential horror via VisualNovel. Monika isn't evil - she's an opportunistic genius granted Lovecraftian knowledge of her micro-universe and ends up tearing it apart underneath the player to better her situation, pulling you into the "space Literature Club" which is simultaneously heaven for her, hell for you (like No Exit) and purgatory with no secrets. Being president of the club and the "guide character" in a VN who has meta-access to outside knowledge of things like saving the game and no romance track grants forbidden knowledge and power which ultimately corrupts. Monika redeems herself by resetting the game and removing herself from it but comes to the realization that no tiny NPC brain can handle the responsibility of full knowledge of your reality. She lovingly destroys the world outright, having a cupcake and playing the piano as everything crumbles around you.
Thanks, Dan Salvato. Now you've got me wanting to learn Ren'py.