Doki Doki Literature Club puts you into the role of an anime character, an average Japanese schoolboy. Your protagonist joins a literature club in which he's the only male member. The remaining four girls – Monica, Sayori, Natsuki, and Yuri – compete for the boy’s attention. Each girl represents a certain anime character stereotype, such as tsundere, genki or kudere. As you get to know them closer, however, they turn out to have individual character traits on their own. Eventually, you will choose one of the girls to romance with and follow her personal storyline. The gameplay is based on interactions with the other characters and carefully choosing dialogue options. You will also perform tasks as a club member. The latter includes "writing" poetry, although the player actually only gets to select certain words to fill the blanks.
The plot and dialogue are front and center in this game. The visuals and soundtrack, however, are static and minimalistic: the music is looped, and characters have a very limited number of sprites in each scene. There's no voice acting, and you only interact with characters through text.