Hi everyone! :)
These days, there are quite a lot of mods for Doki Doki Literature Club and it can be tough to decide which one to play... So I decided to take it upon myself to go through each mod, one by one, to give my own spoiler-free (as much as possible) reviews of them! :D I might live to regret this decision, but I thought it would be nice to have reviews of everything in one place and I'll do my best to say positive and negative things about each one. I've only gone through a few of the mods so far, but I'll work on this list over time and edit it to add more in. Anyone who wants to post their own reviews can feel free to do so in the comments. (You're welcome to disagree with my reviews down there too if you like; in any case, remember to be nice and tag spoilers) EDIT: Unfortunately, there appears to be a character limit on this post, so I can't write all my reviews here! :( I'll continue down below in the comments instead.
... Doki Doki Sandwich Club
This mod replaces the in-game music with music from Super Mario games and replaces some of the graphics with images from and references to Super Mario games. There are no script or gameplay changes; it's just the original DDLC with a few cosmetic changes. It's sure to amuse Mario fans, but other than that, there isn't much to say about it.
... Doki Doki Literature Club: Another Moment With You
Trigger warning for depression and suicide. A mod that re-imagines Act 1 of DDLC without a self-aware Monika or any of the Act 2 shenanigans. This is part one of what promises to be a four part series that's going to be released episodically, one part for each of the girls. This part, entitled "Bundle of Sunshine," has most of its focus on Sayori, but has some hints of a new backstory for Monika as well.
The mod largely mirrors the original Act 1, but with minor differences in characters and dialogue, including a somewhat less dense MC. Much of it feels like a retread of the original, but there are enough interesting new details added here and there to keep it interesting. Also, since this episode focuses on Sayori, it obviously deals fairly heavily with her depression, so be prepared for a bit of a feels train.
... Focus On Me
Trigger warnings for Suicide, self-harm, domestic abuse, and lots of jump scares. This mod is short, (having a very abrupt end in the middle of a random conversation) but is utterly incoherent from beginning to end. I can't figure out what the plot is or what the author intended any of this to mean. It starts out strong, with some nice intro music and custom graphics on the menu screen, then when you start, it talks about the events of DDLC, criticizing the main character for not helping the girls with each of their respective issues that they're dealing with... and after that, everything just gets bizarre.
The action jumps around from scene to scene without giving the audience time to figure out what's happening and very little of it makes sense, with frequent jump scares thrown in at seemingly random intervals. People not only act out of character, but they don't act like human beings, and in fact, don't act with any sense of basic logic at all. There's a scene which I think is supposed to be an argument, but it's more like people spewing random sentences that don't seem to have any connection with each other and then it asks you to make a choice of who you're siding with, and I couldn't figure out what the argument was or who was on what side.
It's also buggy as hell, with characters appearing and disappearing or shifting around or overlapping each other at odd times, scenes where characters are speaking lines that look like they were supposed to be internal monologue, and at one point, an image that failed to load with an error message flashing on the screen, and another point where a poem randomly appeared on screen in the middle of a conversation and then everyone continued like nothing happened. It doesn't help that there are tons of grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors, with shifts between present and past tense and between first and second person. (Also, lots of British slang and terminology, but that's fine; it made me smile when Sayori told MC that he walks "well quick") :)
Not exactly a mod, but a nice app for all the Monikans out there. :) This app puts an image of Monika on your Windows desktop in her pose from her room in Act 3 of DDLC. She has a variety of facial expressions and she talks to you in a little text box underneath her, reacting to things you do on your computer in real time.
She has reactions to a variety of apps, programs, and webpages... I haven't tested them exhaustively, but I know, at the very least, she responds to Steam, Firefox, Notepad, Ren'Py, Task Manager, DDLC, Youtube, Facebook, Wikipedia, Google maps, Reddit, the DDMC subreddit, Netflix, and I'm sure many more. (She even has a custom message if you're playing the Doki Doki Rainclouds mod, which I thought is a nice touch) :)
You can bring up an options menu by pushing Ctrl-Shift-F10. (I mention that here, because it isn't well notated and you might miss out on a lot of features otherwise) You can re-size and reposition Monika, (in case you want her in the corner while you work) alter her brightness, and select the frequency that she makes idle conversation. Her image sits on top of every window you have open, but becomes translucent if you mouse over her so she won't get in the way of anything you're doing. She disappears if you play any full-screen game, though.
It's an overall, solidly constructed app, but unfortunately, she presently doesn't have a whole lot of idle dialogue in her program and it doesn't take her long to start repeating herself. Still, she's a work in progress and the MonikAI Discord server (link within the above link) accepts suggestions if anyone wants more dialogue to be added... Though this has the added consequence that her tone sometimes changes based on who wrote her dialogue; it still mostly feels like Monika, but there are occasional strange lines like the one for Youtube which includes the phrase, "let's just try not to get to the weird side..." I get what she's trying to say, but it's a weird turn of phrase that doesn't sound like Monika to me.
... Doki Doki Weatheard World
Trigger warnings for suicide, self-harm, and domestic abuse. I'm at a bit of a loss of how to review this mod because it ranges from bizarre to incoherent. On the surface, it takes place after DDLC's Act 3, only this time, Monika has decided to restore everybody, including herself, and restart the game where you and she get to retain your knowledge of everything that happened in Act 1 and 2, and you get a lot of extra choices in dialogue and stuff like that. It's a fine premise to start from; so far, so good. Some people act a bit out of character, (like Natsuki and Yuri are eager to share poems this time) but that's easily forgiven, since this is a mod and the author is free to do their own re-interpretation of the characters.
But then things get weird... And I don't mean the good kind of weird. Strange dialogue gets seemingly randomly spliced in places it doesn't seem to belong. At one point, MC was talking to Sayori casually and suddenly, out of the blue, he confessed that he loved her and the dialogue from Sayori's love confession scene from the original DDLC was awkwardly copy/pasted in, complete with the CG of Sayori in her pink shirt, hugging MC, even though she's in her uniform before and after the CG. It makes no sense whatsoever, and after that, they carry on talking casually like nothing happened and no reference to them confessing their feelings is ever talked about again.
And things got weirder after that... The whole last half of the game is utterly, utterly incoherent with scenes and dialogue thrown slap-dash together, including death scenes of the girls, seemingly randomly. None of it makes any sense, and it ended with a message from the mod author saying that I got the "bad ending." I still can't make sense of it, since none of the options I had seemed to have any connection to anything that was happening, but just for the heck of it, I restarted and tried completely different options every step of the way and I was still treated to the weird, incoherent series of scenes and told again that I got the "bad" ending.
It's so nonsensical that now, I honestly can't tell if that weirdly out-of-place love confession scene was intentional or not. It doesn't help that there are quite a few grammatical errors in the mod, with weird switching between first, second, and third person in the internal monologue, not to mention switches between present and past tense that are hard enough to interpret at the best of times, but when things start going nuts, I can not, for the life of me, figure out what the author meant to say. I mean... I can see that the authors put a lot of work into this mod, so maybe this just shows that I don't "get" their artistic vision or something, but this whole thing just left me confused and unsatisfied.
... Doki Heika Banzai
Trigger warnings for... everything! :o I have to imagine that when the author of this mod was planning it, they had a checklist labeled "How to be as offensive as possible." :P It is a joke mod in an alternate timeline where the Literature Club is set in 1945 Japan at the end of World War 2. It includes jokes about suicide, self-harm, physical abuse, rape, necrophilia, and PTSD, and jokes that are racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and ableist. It also includes a lot of glorification of Nazis, Hitler, and other Axis powers. (For example, the main character wears a shirt with a Swastika and the words "Just Aryans" on it and Yuri is seen holding a copy of Mein Kampf) Speaking for myself, it made me super uncomfortable to play through this and made me regret my decision to review every DDLC mod, but I'm pretty sure that this is the author's intent, so... mission accomplished, I guess? :P Features plenty of WW2-themed art and music and new sound effects.
At this point, I could probably just end the review... I'm tempted to drift into meta commentary about the state of society which might not be appropriate in the context of a video game mod review, but then again, this is my review and I can write what I want, so here goes... :)
I'm not a fan of censorship. I think people should be able to say or create whatever they want, and I can see that a lot of effort went into the making of this mod, so I can respect it as a creative work and I know that plenty of people will enjoy it and not have any of the problems that I had playing it. I know that people are probably about to make fun of me for saying it made me uncomfortable or defend it by saying that they are "just jokes" that aren't meant to be taken seriously. That being said, glorifying Nazis doesn't sit well with me, even as a joke, because their existence is based on blind hatred that got millions of people killed for no reason and there are still plenty of people today, walking among us, some of whom are in positions of power, who still think like that and would like to see millions more people killed. Frankly, the idea of such people enjoying and laughing at this mod turns my stomach enough that I decided I couldn't let it pass without comment.
As for the rest of the jokes, again, you can say what you want; I recognize that humour is subjective and it is normal for different people to find different things funny... but I kind of feel that when 90+% of your humour is based on hurting people who are already hurting, then it might be time to rethink some of your life choices. (Erm... I mean that in the nicest way possible) :) The world is a big place and there's enough happiness for everyone; you don't need to find your happiness from bullying people. So... yeah... I'll get off my soapbox now. I just want everyone to make an informed choice about what kinds of media they enjoy. :)
... Dokis and Dragons
The Literature Club has been replaced by a Role-Playing Game Club! Join the girls on a quest to rid the land of the goblin menace, but be careful, for not all is what it seems! :D
A fun little mod that simultaneously makes fun of role-playing tropes and DDLC, probably best appreciated by people who play Dungeons and Dragons and similar games. Personally, I've only played D&D once and it was a very long time ago, but I was still able to get most of the jokes and really appreciate the tongue-in-cheek nerdy humour throughout. It's a bit short, but there's a lot packed into it, with lots of in-game choices and some randomness to keep you guessing.
I particularly like how each of the in-game characters match the Doki that they're based on, like Sayori's character interrogating a goblin by tickling him, Natsuki's character being hyper aggressive and always ready to kick ass, and Yuri's character just repeatedly getting lost in her imagination any time her mind wanders.
It is possible to die, so don't take for granted that Monika, the game master, will go easy on you, but fortunately, you seem to be able to save and load as many times as you want, so you should be able to achieve one of the mod's multiple endings easily enough.
... Doki Doki Rainclouds
, AKA Cykadev
Trigger warnings for detailed portrayal of depression and suicide. This is DDLC from Sayori's point of view. This mod is all about Sayori's journey through depression, and is basically all sad all the time. Remember to take care of yourself while playing this mod so you have a safe experience. Personally, I was only able to get through it by doing it bits at a time.
This mod is absolutely dripping with atmosphere. It's got tons of new art and new music and is full of atmospheric effects like altering of familiar backgrounds and songs to help convey the heavy emotions of the story. Even the title screen may make you instantly feel sad as soon as you witness it. It also has creepy nightmarish sequences complete with jump scares, so be prepared!
This mod shines the most during the scenes where Sayori is alone. Her internal monologue reflects the stream of consciousness of the mind of a depressed person very well and I can only imagine that this must have been a deeply personal (and probably really hard to write) project for Cykadev. It also has some nice scenes where Sayori is alone with her other clubmembers outside of the club. (Something you don't really see in vanilla DDLC) I'm particularly fond of the one with Yuri. (I may be biased in that Yuri is my favourite Doki, but it's seriously a really sweet scene) :)
It is not perfect, though. It integrates dialogue from vanilla DDLC into its story with varying degrees of success and often feels clunky and repetitive during those scenes. A lot of those scenes go back and forth, line by line, between the original dialogue lines and Sayori's internal monologue reacting to that line, which is a fine idea in itself, but it actually starts to get tedious in some places, because the story loses momentum and sense of narrative flow as it sort of stalls every second line. I personally feel that there were a number of missed opportunities to connect the internal monologue lines together to make it flow better as a cohesive story. It also doesn't help that a few of Sayori's internal lines contradict each other. It's fine to change up the canon a bit; any good mod should do that, but it should at least be internally consistent.
... Doki Doki Do You Lift Club!
, AKA Cykadev
Trigger warning for jump scares, complete list of them in spoiler tags: Three of them; The first time Yuronk shows you her "move," it jumps to the extreme close-up creepy-eyed Yuri from DDLC Act 2... At the end of the second day, there's a nightmare scene that includes Sayori's dead, hanging body and broken-necked Natsuki... At the festival, Monicules announces that she's doing a dubstep performance; the song she plays is ear-bleedingly loud, guaranteed to destroy headphones and ear drums; make sure to turn your sound down at that part.
This is a joke mod that is relentlessly silly and does not remotely take itself seriously. (It's a little amazing to me that this is made by the same author as Rainclouds!) The Literature Club has been replaced by a "Lifting" Club for working out and the girls have been replaced by hyper-muscular versions of themselves. So the club is trying to prepare a lifting demonstration for the festival and it's your goal to impress the girls with your "sick moves" instead of with poetry.
Personally, I felt that some of the jokes got a bit repetitive, but it was still entertaining enough to see these bizarre caricatures of the girls interact with each other, including... Slavyori, the vodka-drinking, squatting best friend; Buffsuki, who talks in third person and you won't like her when she's angry; Yuronk, shy, but lifts with passion and has a fondness for pens; and Monicules, with her amazing thighs and sizeable ego. Obviously, there's a lot of new graphics in this mod, including new sprites for all the girls, and some new backgrounds, and there are a few new songs, including a pretty cool remix of Your Reality.
I did feel that the jump scares were weirdly out of place with the silly, goofy tone of the rest of the mod, especially the nightmare
one, but I guess that's just part of Cykadev's sense of humour. (Or maybe he was warming up for Rainclouds) :) I feel I should also mention that there are a smattering of grammar and spelling errors that were mostly easily ignored, but did trip me up a few times when I wasn't sure what was meant, including a part where the Main Character takes Yuronk and Buffsuki aside but addresses them as Yuronk and Monicules, which made me momentarily confused about who he was talking to and why... so the mod could have used a bit more proof-reading, but it didn't detract too much from the overall enjoyment of it.
... Doki Doki Easter Hunt
A very short mod that specifically takes place during this year's Easter, April 1, 2018. The 5 members of the Literature Club take part in a school Easter Egg hunting event. The story starts light-hearted and fun (with Wholesome Sayori interaction) and then later, during the hunt, takes a dark turn. The whole thing takes about 10 minutes to play, so there really isn't much for me to say about it except it's got a few new backgrounds added for the hunt.
... Doki Doki Just Monika Club
I don't wish to be mean to the author of this mod. I really don't. I would much rather foster a spirit of encouragement for new mod authors... That being said, the only way I can see to enjoy this mod is if you laugh at the quality of the writing. Sorry, but I'm still reeling from MC telling Yuri, "Walking around naked in your home is the best feeling ever," in the context of talking about books while they're in school and Yuri having no reaction to it. (WTF?) O_o
Apparently, this mod takes place at the end of DDLC after Monika killed everybody, except everyone's alive? And MC is aware of everything that Monika did? I think? There is very little to establish the setting, so it's not clear.
The action and scenes in this mod jump around weirdly so you can't tell where you are or what's happening, everyone acts out of character, there are lots of grammar and spelling errors, including lots of switching between past and present tense, and it ends very abruptly after less than five minutes of gameplay. The curious thing is I went into the game files and there's a fair bit more dialogue in there, but there's a "jump" command that skips over it, so you can't see a majority of the mod. Is this intentional? I have no idea, but a majority of the comments in the mod's post are bug reports, so it seems that the author released a buggy, nonfunctional mod as a full release. It's stuff like this that makes me think that this subreddit needs to establish some kind of minimal quality control for mods.
... Sayori Shoots up DDLC!
As you might expect from the title, the story is that on the day of the festival, instead of killing herself, Sayori decides to shoot people. There isn't a whole lot else to say about it, really... it's a short, 20 minute, dark humour joke mod, though there seems to be more focus on jokes about school shooters than the actual shooting.
This mod is made by the same author as Doki Heika Banzai, so when I started, I was bracing myself for some deliberately offensive humour, and... well, there was some, but it was actually a lot tamer than I expected. For a mod with this title, I expected more blood than this; in fact, I'd say vanilla DDLC was bloodier than this... I was actually disappointed. A majority of the mod was the build-up to the shooting and the actual shooting was quite short. Still, if you wanted a mod where a sweet, innocent girl goes on a homicidal rampage, it does the job, I suppose.
... True Literature Club (TLC)
(Trigger warnings included in the above link) I made this mod myself, so I'm kind of biased, so feel free to take this review with a grain of salt. :D That being said, this mod writes a new end to DDLC, starting from the decision point where you select who to spend the weekend with and ends at the festival. It has almost no new art, since the focus is on the story. It is intended to be a wholesome, heart-warming story that gives happy endings to all the Dokis with plenty of drama and plot twists along the way. (And a few jokes here and there too) :D There are four possible endings, one for each girl, including a secret route for Monika.
I wrote the characters to be as true to the original as possible (Even studying the original dialogue to capture the nuances of their personalities) to try to capture the look and feel of DDLC's Act 1. That being said, I did throw in some plot twists to keep things interesting and keep the audience guessing, so don't take anything for granted. ;)
The beginning of the mod is identical to vanilla DDLC up to the weekend decision point, so prepare to use the "Skip" button a lot to get to the start of any new content. (And depending on how things go, you might need to do it a second time to get to Monika's route) Apologies for that. I promise that any future mods I make will begin at the beginning. :)
... Doki Doki College Club
A short, linear, goofy, light-hearted mod (which gets a little less happy later on) that shows the cast of DDLC in college. It's an alternate timeline where DDLC never happened, so nobody knows each other, (except MC and Sayori) but they happen to meet in college and happen to join a literature club together there. Not much to say about it since it's so short, but it's full of jokes and memes and some new backgrounds and playful graphical effects.
... Monika After Story
A mod that simulates your life with Monika during Act 3 of DDLC. The whole mod is you looking into Monika's eyes in her room while she talks to you, only with new artwork for different poses and expressions for her. It has all of Monika's Act 3 dialogue from vanilla DDLC plus a fair bit of new dialogue. The new dialogue is fairly well-written and I can see that care was taken to make sure it matches the tone of Monika's original dialogue. It also features a menu for looking at previous conversation topics, sorted by category, in case you want to review anything she's said before, plus an option to bring up a new topic she hasn't said yet, and an option to tell her how you're feeling, which she will react to.
The really neat thing is that the new conversation topics added by the mod are filtered in slowly, so you can't get to them all in one session, in order to keep you coming back to Monika for more in future sessions. Some of them include questions that she asks you that she then incorporates into future dialogue. (Side note: Props to the authors for adding a non-binary gender option for when she asks your gender; it's nice to be inclusive) :) She also has different dialogue based on the time of day or night that you are playing as well as artwork to reflect whether it is day or night.
It also has additional options for selecting what background music to play and games and other activities you can play with Monika. You start off with the ability to play Pong and Chess, but others slowly filter in over time, including Hangman and a little piano keyboard where you can play the piano.
I do seem to have encountered a bug, though, (I think? Side note: I'm playing version 0.8.0 and it's gone through a few updates) where she stops bringing up topics automatically and just sits there, endlessly, wordlessly staring at me, even when I turn on "Repeat Topics" in the settings menu. She'll still talk to me if I manually push the "Talk" button, and I see there are still topics there that she hasn't talked about, but I was really hoping that she'd go through them on her own without my input. It's possible that she's doing this because she wasn't meant to be left open for several hours. (I wanted to make sure I tested her properly) :) The other thing that bugs me is that adjusting the text speed doesn't work; she always talks at the same slow pace. (I mean I'm kind of a slow reader, but not that
slow!) I guess this is to recreate the feeling of Act 3 where she takes control of things, but I would have liked the ability to pick up the pace a bit. Oh well, it's still a very well put together mod that I can see had a lot of thought and care put into it, so I'm sure stuff like that will be smoothed out in the next release.
... Yuri Route
This mod crashes on startup and doesn't work at all. In fact, there's a quote from the author in the Reddit post that says, "I hate this mod dearly thats why i removed its link you can find it on my github but still it doesn't represent me in a good light." I don't know why this mod is even on the list. Clearly, the author doesn't want anyone to play it.
... DDLC RPG
Trigger warnings for references to depression, suicide, self-harm, and domestic abuse. Not a mod, not even a visual novel. It's a Japanese-style role-playing game featuring all the characters of DDLC with all new graphics in a top-down view of the school, the Literature Club, and other locations. It features a lot of the original songs, plus a few new ones based on the originals.
The story is that after the events of DDLC, Monika brought everyone back, inserted them into a new game, and apologized and made up with the girls about everything she did during DDLC, ready to start a new life with them... but something isn't quite right in this new game world, so it's up to the girls and MC to go on a quest to fix it. Along the way, they'll battle their own inner demons as well as creatures they find within the game world. The dialogue and story ranges from wholesome to humourous to dark and does a good job of representing everyone's personalities from the original DDLC. I particularly liked the little interactions between the girls showing how they've developed as characters in this post-DDLC world.
As you level up your characters, they get stronger and gain new abilities related to their traits from DDLC... Monika gets coding abilities, Sayori has powers of wholesomeness, Natsuki's powers are based on baking, Yuri gets powers of weirdness, and MC has poetry powers. Their abilities are fairly well varied and balanced and keep things interesting, although I never did figure out how some of the mechanics of their abilities work even after playing through the whole game. For example, Sayori and Natsuki's magic points get restored at the beginning of each battle, (as do everyone's hitpoints) but Monika and Yuri have "TP" in the place of magic points and those seem to get reset to a random low value at the beginning of each battle, even if you restore them fully just before the battle. (Though they recharge each time they attack or get hit) Since the value they start at seems to be random, it can make strategizing tricky, because Monika and Yuri may or may not be able to use certain abilities at the start of any given battle. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing; it just struck me as a bit of an odd choice in game design. (Although it's possible that I just totally misunderstood how TP is supposed to work)
One other thing: I'm going to save you a bit of trouble and draw your attention to the "cancel" key. (default is X but you can redefine it in the menu) In addition to canceling menu choices, it brings up the menu in the first place! (which you need for just about everything, including checking inventory, skills, etc.) It's also used for backspacing MC's name at the very beginning of the game if you want to rename him. Using one key for these things isn't a problem in itself, but it isn't exactly intuitive to push X for all these things, which led to some frustration on my part until I figured it out.
... Doki Doki Yandere Club!
A very short, very silly joke mod in which the girls of the Literature Club are obsessed with the main character and fight each other for his attention. It starts, looking like vanilla DDLC and new content begins at the point where you first officially join the club. (So you can just skip up to that point) Features new art for the girls with intense "yandere" looks in their eyes. There are quite a few grammar and spelling errors throughout, including rapid switches back and forth between past and present tense, but I was still mostly able to understand it.
It also features an Easter Egg... And I use the term "Easter Egg" loosely, because it's actually a majority of the content of the mod and changes it from being a somewhat amusing but forgettable mod to a hilarious and epic mod. :D I don't even get the references, but it was pretty entertaining. Anyway, to unlock the extra content, just name your character Smoo.
... Doki Doki Literature Club, the Normal Visual Novel!
Trigger warnings for depression, talk and jokes about suicide, self-harm, and domestic abuse. A mod that re-imagines DDLC as a regular dating sim without all the Act 2 craziness and without anyone dying. It includes everything from DDLC's Act 1 and then, at the weekend decision point, you pick one of the four girls and you're locked into that girl's route for the rest of the game. You experience the festival, followed by a series of scenes between you and your girl of choice with maybe some implied sexy times if you play your cards right. ;) It includes a new casual outfit for Monika.
One thing I do have to commend this mod for is the integration of Monika into the poem game. She gets a little chibi version of herself that hops when you pick words she likes and she gets a few extra lines if she likes your poem. Unfortunately, she gets so few extra lines, (maybe a couple dozen or so) that it kind of feels like the author needn't have bothered with all of that. I think I would have preferred if the mod had started from the weekend decision point, and those extra lines had just been included in the post-festival section of her route. It would have saved me from doing a lot of skipping. (Aside from those few lines, the rest of the beginning is identical to the original, so be prepared to lean on the "skip" button for a while)
Doubly unfortunately, I'm sorry to say that this mod lacks polish, to say the least. It has some pretty glaring mistakes that reflect a lack of playtesting from the author, such as Monika spontaneously changing outfits multiple times in mid-sentence, Natsuki randomly disappearing and remaining invisible while you're talking to her, and an utterly incoherent beginning of Sayori's route which was a lot of awkard copy/pasted and spliced scenes and dialogue from the original game with new stuff that made it totally nonsensical. There's also a confusing bit before the festival starts that I think is supposed to be a flash-forward/flashback thing that could have been made a lot clearer.
Also, also, I felt that the mod doesn't capture the girls' personalities very well. This is par for the course in a mod; it is perfectly fine for any author to re-invent what characters are like, but this mod tries to integrate new dialogue with old in some places and it feels very jarring to go back and forth between them. Some parts are better than others, but I particularly found Monika's character to be pretty bland. I mean she confesses to be in love with you within five minutes of conversation, which I'm sure some people would love, but it just doesn't feel like her, so I kind of feel like, "what's the point?" I was also bothered by MC joking about suicide right after his conversation with Sayori about her depression; for a mod that otherwise seems to be trying to be wholesome, it feels very, very out of place. I think the part that bugged me the most, though, came at the end of Yuri's route: Over Yuri's vocal objections, MC forcibly pulls up her sleeve to look at the cuts on her arm. (Which he does after zero discussion of her self-harm habit) For someone who is depressed enough to self-harm, this would be a pretty traumatic thing to experience, but Yuri seems indifferent about it. Then, after a few words, he starts kissing her and turns it into a make-out session.
I can't begin to tell you how utterly icky and creeped out I felt to witness that.
... Doki Doki Meme Club!
Trigger warning for transphobia. A short joke mod in which the Literature Club has been replaced by a meme club, where the members share memes with each other and make fun of "normies" all afternoon. (Including the Natsuki "trap" meme and a random image of Pepe the frog, for some reason) The characters are not very nice to each other in this mod, with lots of fighting and insulting each other, so don't expect any wholesomeness here. (I think Yuri got the worst of it, personally)
I have to be honest... most of the jokes went over my head. (I guess I'm too much of a normie, myself) :P There are lots of references to memes I'm not familiar with and an extended section where the girls are discussing music groups and songs I'm not familiar with. Basically, this mod feels like it's directed at a very specific audience; I'm not sure what that audience is, but it seems that I'm not in it. I expect that people who are more into memes will appreciate it more than I did.
... Doki Doki Literature Club: The Festival
Trigger warnings for scenes of Suicide and self-harm. A mod that imagines the events of the festival and the week that would have followed if Monika hadn't interfered and caused all the Act 2 stuff. The club gets a new member... a boy named Wallace who MC quickly finds himself competing with for the affections of the girls of the club, as everyone continues trying to impress each other by writing poems each day. The scope of their rivalry quickly grows, though, and it's revealed that there's a lot more going on than it first appears. The mod features the classic MC sprites for Wallace and a lot of new poetry!
One thing that I absolutely have to commend this mod for is the setup at the beginning. It assumes that you've played DDLC before and gives you a choice of doing just the poems over again or choosing which of the girls you liked/disliked/spent the weekend with. This is a far more elegant way to start the game than forcing the player to play through Act 1 over again like most mods of this type do, my own included. (Seriously! I wish I'd thought of doing this in my own mod!)
The other thing I liked was the coding work in the late game. I can't talk too much about it because of spoilers, but they did stuff I didn't know you could do with the code, so that was pretty cool and made the ending very interesting. I do feel that the middle stuff on the way to the late game lacked some polish, though. It felt like each day was in a rush to be over, with all the focus being on the conflict with Wallace and so in a lot of cases, the girls end up getting a lot of "filler" dialogue as a result. (ie. "This poem is good," or "I didn't like this poem," as their entire critique of your poem)
Lastly, there was one other thing that bothered me and it's technically spoilers, but it relates to the trigger warnings I mentioned, so I think it's important: There are two nightmare dream sequences, one which is Sayori's suicide scene copy/pasted from the original game and Yuri's suicide scene also copy/pasted from the original game. I really don't know why they're there, since they just don't fit with anything going on in the story or with existing themes. They seem oddly out of place and there doesn't seem to be any reason for them to exist except to re-traumatize players, I guess.
(Continued in comments below)
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