Game: Cupid Parasite
Genre: Role-Playing, Adventure, Lifestyle, Simulation, Visual Novel
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer|Publisher: Otomate | Idea Factory
Age Rating: US T | EU 12+
Price: US $49.99 | UK £44.99 | EU €49,99
Release Date: US November 02, 2021 | UK/EU November 05, 2021
Review code used with many thanks to Reef Entertainment!
The weather is getting cooler and midterms are in the rearview mirror, so I took some time to cozy up with the new visual novel Cupid Parasite. As a rule, I really enjoy Otomate developed novels (with one notable exception already reviewed on this site). How did this one stand up? Let’s find out!
Cupid (yes, THE Cupid) has had an argument with her father (the god Mars) about whether humans can find love without divine intervention. Determined to prove him wrong, she sneaks down to the human realm to live as a person. Cupid joins Cupid Corp, a well-known match making service in Los York. When she’s offered a promotion on the condition that she help five hopeless cases (known as the Parasite 5) find marriage, she throws herself into the task, determined to earn that promotion and prove to her father that humans CAN find love without divine intervention after all!
Typical visual novel style adventure with a few added features that make for a more pleasant experience. In addition to the dialogue/action choices that are key to the gameplay of visual novels, there’s a love test early on in the main story that helps determine which character you’ll be compatible with in the end. It has a graph that lets you keep track of how much connection you have with the characters. It also features a flowchart showing you where you are in the story. I especially found the flowchart to be helpful. Instead of longer chapters it uses shorter files which make for a better gameplay experience if you generally play in short bursts.
Music, Art, and Extras
The music here is a delight. They worked in a few songs (in addition to the titles song) with lyrics so that was a welcome surprise. I also found the non-vocal tracks to be evocative of their scenes and fun to listen to. This is the first visual novel where I’ve gone to the music player just to listen to some of the background tracks.
Oh the art. I found the design on this title to be flawless. The backgrounds are colorful when set in the human realm in a sort of 50’s pop way, and subdued when the characters are in the realm of the gods or the land of memory. The character design is varied and appealing. Absolutely fantastic. I particularly liked Gill’s character design.
The extras are pretty standard. In addition to the music player mentioned previously, it has scene replay, gallery, and a cut scene viewer available.
There are some issues with clunky translations or misspellings, and a little difficulty reading the text on a few screens I encountered. Nothing that detracted from the fun for me. However, the publisher announced a patch that will fix some of the translation and grammar issues, as well as text overflow problems, so these issues shouldn’t be a problem for long.
As always, characters in visual novels often display behaviors or engage in situations we would find problematic in real life, so gamer beware. I only encountered four issues in my gameplay so far that I find worth mentioning. There may be more I haven’t encountered yet, so if you have concerns please research further.
Allan has a preference for women who are in love with other men. The main route hinted at an explanation for this, but I haven’t played through his entire route yet so unsure how it plays out. Regardless, if characters with a propensity for cheating bother you, just be aware.
Ryuki is considered a minor in the game text. It’s stated that he’s 19, which isn’t a minor in my country, but it still may be a problem for some people that he’s one of the possible romantic interests. Normally this is a deal breaker for me, but because he would be considered an adult where I live, and because Cupid is a goddess and therefore age doesn’t seem to apply to her, I felt it was handled a way that didn’t set off a bunch of alarm bells.
Gill’s behavior could be considered stalkerish, and it is mentioned as such briefly. Regardless, it IS overbearing.
The word “Boomer” is used a handful of times in a way that could be considered derogatory.
Because Cupid Parasite is centered around a woman who is working as a matchmaker, she confronts and addresses several of the issues mentioned above. It’s refreshing to see some of the behaviors that bother me so much when I encounter them in these games actually be called out! Also, some of the endings I encountered when I failed out of a route took into account the problematic behaviors in creating an appropriate ending. This was unsettling and left me wanting to get the right ending to see the characters improve. The addressing of problematic content that is often just accepted in these titles without comment is much appreciated by this reviewer. It added greatly to my enjoyment of this game.
Like I mentioned, the art on all of them is fantastic. I am particularly fond of Gill, and Ryuki’s story is really engaging. I’m intrigued by Allan as they hinted at an explanation for his appalling behavior that really interested me. I haven’t delved too far into Raul’s story yet. His obsession with mythology may make him one of the Parasite 5, but I just found it entertaining! I can’t say much for Shelby yet. Regardless, there is plenty going on here to engage Otome gamers.
I have really been enjoying Cupid Parasite. The characters are interesting, the story kept me guessing, and the design is convenient and easy to use. Cupid is a breath of fresh air as a playable character, since she stands up to some of the behaviors I normally find so annoying in these types of games. If you enjoy Otome titles, you should absolutely consider adding Cupid Parasite to your collection.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot
“Allan has a preference for women who are in love with other women”
i think you mean “in love with other MEN”….
Thanks for pointing out my typo! It’s been corrected.