Should children play Doki Doki Literature Club?

Games expert Andy Robertson offers detailed insight on content in Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) and suggests alternative games that offer positive benefits to help manage wellbeing and mental health.

What is Doki Doki Literature Club?

Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) is a game that looks like a dating game. However, it has a dark twist about 90 minutes in. Suddenly, the characters start killing themselves.

During this process, suicidal images appear on screen with one girl stabbing herself and another committing suicide by hanging. There is little narrative warning of these events.

Age requirements for Doki Doki Literature Club

Originally, the game didn’t have a physical release so didn’t legally require a PEGI rating to be sold.

However, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! is available on PC, XBox, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch, which means it is in a PEGI rating category.

The VSC Rating Board rates Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! as PEGI 18. This is because of graphic violence, strong language, suicide and self-harm.

On Steam, the DDLC page states: “This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.”

When you start the game, this is re-stated and you are required to confirm you are aged 13 or older. However, age-verification processes aren’t in place.

DDLC parental controls

Doki Doki Literature Club is not suitable for children. As such, it does not have any parental controls. However, you can help keep children safe online by limiting your child’s access to the game. Set parental controls on the platforms they use with these step-by-step guides:

In-app purchases

The original Doki Doki Literature Club is free, making it easier for children to play. However, there are in-app purchases for £6.99/$6.99 that unlock optional extras, though users can still play the main game without making an online purchase.

Use the above parental controls guides to help limit in-game purchases if your child manages to play DDLC.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! is available for purchase in physical and digital formats.

Alternative games

As DDLC is more appropriate for adults, it isn’t recommended that children play. Therefore, the following games are good alternatives:

Resources document

This advice was taken from Andy Robertson’s Patreon project, which provided weekly videos for parents to help them make informed decisions.

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Night in the Woods (PEGI 12)

This game is a fairy tale about growing up that tackles life’s mundanity as well as important relationships. Although each character is an animal, they are surprisingly human and offer a substantial way to discuss the complex messy nature of life.

Oxenfree (PEGI 12)

Oxenfree is a 3rd person single player game that’s equal parts coming-of-age tale and supernatural thriller. You play as Alex, a bright, rebellious teenage girl who brings her new stepbrother Jonas to an overnight party on a decommissioned military island.

Journey (PEGI 7)

In Journey, users explore a desert landscape but find it to be largely empty. But as you continue your quest, other online individuals join you and transform the experience into something human and collaborative. The power and importance of sharing a journey with other people, even if they are strangers, makes this a really useful game to meditate on wellbeing.

Flower (PEGI 3)

Flower is a game where you control the breeze to direct a flower petal around a landscape. It opens up into an expansive world to explore with beautiful landscapes and tranquil music. As such, this is a really good game to relax and escape the day to find calmness.

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