Cupid Parasite | Common Route | First Impressions

A wacky rom-com with a vibrant palette, colourful cast, and rockabilly tunes; Cupid Parasite goes from slightly weird to completely absurd– in all the best ways. If you’re looking for a refreshingly upbeat, comedic otome game, then I highly recommend Otomate and Idea Factory’s latest title: Cupid Parasite.

Game name: Cupid Parasite
Developer: Otomate / Idea Factory
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: ESRB – T (Teen)
Languages available: Japanese (Audio) / English (Subtitles)
More information: here!

Premise

Determined to prove her father wrong, the goddess of love (Cupid) has run away from Celestia to become the Human Realm’s number one matchmaker and bridal advisor.

After evading detection from the rest of the pantheon – and graduating college with a degree in ‘Romance Psychology’ – Cupid has managed to snag a job at the best marriage agency in Los York – the famous ‘Cupid Corporation’.

But, this isn’t enough for our ambitious goddess. In order to become the world’s top bridal advisor, she’ll need to quickly rise through the ranks at her new company– starting with a promotion.

“Get these five people married. Do that, and the promotion is yours.
You’re the Cupid of Cupid Corp, are you not? Our top bridal advisor.
I trust this is within your ability?”

– Shelby Snail (C.E.O of Cupid Corp.)

Shelby Snail – C.E.O of Cupid Corporation – has made an appealing proposition; take on the infamous ‘Parasite 5’ and get them married. If she does, he’ll grant the promotion she so desperately desires. With her pride as a literal matchmaking goddess on the line, Cupid agrees to do whatever it takes to find love for these five, impossible men.

From interviews to matchmaking quizzes to specialised training workshops, Cupid quickly realises why every other bridal advisor in the company gave up on the so-called ‘Parasite 5’. Still, she refuses to call it quits, and the plot quickly escalates from here, as desperate times call for desperate measures, and the group ends up starring in a brand-new reality tv show, ‘Parasite House’…

First Impressions

From the opening sequence, Cupid Parasite clearly defines itself as an over-the-top, romantic comedy with vibrant graphics, upbeat music, and quirky wordplay to match an equally quirky cast.

Usually, I’m not too interested in the Common Route – I’d rather just get to the juicy romance – but Cupid Parasite had me hooked from the very beginning. The visuals were so colourful and fun that they immediately captivated my attention – and the rockabilly music was the perfect touch to create a lively, upbeat atmosphere.

Not only were the opening song and ambient music perfect, but a signature track played whenever one of the main cast appeared on screen (I particularly loved Allan Melville’s ‘bad boy’ theme song). This creative use of background music further enhances the over-the-top ‘camp’ charm that makes Cupid Parasite so loveable and fun.

After I’d already fallen in love with the art and music, the game hit me with a bizarre, yet intriguing, premise– Cupid goes down to the Human Realm to become a modern-day matchmaker… dating apps and all. This bizarre blend of classical Roman mythology and modern (yet also retro?) technology should give an indication as to how weird this game is. But, somehow, it just works.

As the rest of the cast were introduced, my interest only continued to grow, and it wasn’t long before I was head over heels for the game. Each love interest is distinct from the rest of the cast, with all the best otome archetypes available to suit your needs. You have the grumpy tsundere shota, the outrageously flirty playboy, the lovesick puppy ex-roommate, the absolute cinnamon roll himbo, and the stoic-yet-adorably-awkward CEO… What more could we ask for?

Despite being a ‘pre-romantic development’ Common Route, there was so much fanservice. And I mean fanservice with nipples. Actual nipples! Plus, there were several CGs to collect (including nipples!), and, even this early in the game, each character already has several sprites, with (nipples! Okay, I’ll stop…) a variety of outfits, poses, and facial expressions. They even blinked and moved their mouths while they spoke, adding a more dynamic feel to each scene.

In terms of gameplay, there aren’t that many player options in the common route, but this makes it easy to re-play for different scenes, routes, and endings. It does mean you’re mostly a passive reader for the first part of the game – however, there was always so much going on that I was completely enthralled, and I didn’t even notice the lack of player options until I reflected on it later.

My favourite interactive element in the common route was the matchmaking ‘Love Test’, where you answer a questionnaire to find out who you’re most compatible with. It’s a fun touch that fits the concept of the game, and it’s interesting to see which type you get when you answer honestly, as well as answering in a specific way to make yourself compatible with the love interest you want the most.

There’s also an option later in the common route that doesn’t actually change the events that occur in the story – instead, it determines which scene you get to read through in full. This means that the common route doesn’t drag on for too long, and you can pick a different option in each re-play to read a different scene, making subsequent playthroughs less repetitive.

Tl;dr After a long run of dark, mysterious otome games with heavy themes and difficult romances, it’s refreshing to play something so upbeat and silly. It’s not a game to take too seriously– instead, you can just sit back, look at the pretty colours, laugh at the silly jokes, and have a good time.

Characters

Main Character

Main Character:
Human Realm Name: Lynette Mirror (Default) – Customisable
Fun Facts: An *actual* goddess; also known as Cupid; uses a divine beast as a shoulder massager

Other than basically being a rebellious young daughter acting out against her old-fogey father, Cupid is a headstrong, endearing protagonist whose naiveté doesn’t equate to weakness. As the bridal advisor and mentor for the main cast of love interests, she’s the one in a position of power over them – and, while she’s generally an upbeat, optimistic person, she still doesn’t put up with any nonsense from anyone.

She’s determined, ambitious, and hard working, despite coming from a ‘heavenly’ life of luxury. I loved her interactions with the other characters, and how she not only tried to understand and empathise with them, but also be assertive in guiding them towards a better future.

However, she doesn’t necessarily do this out of the kindness of her heart– she seems to be acting out of a sense of duty and identity as Cupid, rather than a general desire to be ‘good’. I’ve only played the common route so far, but her friend and roommate, Claris, has already hinted that maybe the goddess of love should actually know what it feels like to be in love. She even dubs her the sixth parasite: ‘Cupid Parasite’– in other words, someone who can’t find love because they’re too busy pairing other people together.

My impression of her is, so far, a positive one, and she has the potential for intriguing character growth as the story progresses. I’m enjoying playing the game from her perspective, and I’m curious to see what’s in store for this rebellious, determined goddess of love…

Love Interests

Cupid Parasite has five main routes, and, once you clear all of these, you’ll unlock a sixth, hidden route. You may or may not be able to guess who the final ‘parasite’ is by the end of the common route, but, even so, I enjoy having secret love interests to unlock at the end of the game, and this one seems particularly entertaining…

Note: Because this is a first impressions review based on the common route, I won’t discuss the characters in too much detail here. But, I will be writing individual character reviews as I progress in the game, as well as a final, full game review once I’ve cleared all the endings, so I’ll include more information in upcoming posts.

The main five parasites are: Gill Lovecraft, Shelby Snail, Raul Aconite, Keisaiin Ryuki, and Allan Melville. In your first playthrough, you’ll only be able to romance Gill, Shelby, or Ryuki. Once you clear one of these routes, you’ll be able to romance Raul and/or Allan.

Gill Lovecraft ‘Lovelorn Parasite’ (VA: Ryouhei Kimura) – was your roommate back in college and seems to be completely hung up on a past unrequited love. He’s dedicated himself to becoming the perfect partner, including cooking, cleaning, and generally doting and devoting himself to his one true love. However, this level of subservience can be a little off-putting – not to mention his constant rambling about how perfect ‘she’ was, even when he’s supposed to be on a date with a potential match…

Shelby Snail‘Prestige Parasite’ (VA: KENN) – is the C.E.O of Cupid Corporation and, as far as everyone is aware, a happily married man. After all, he does run a marriage agency. However, his public image was cleverly crafted to boost PR for the company – and it turns out he’s not married at all! If word got out that he was devastatingly single, it would cause all sorts of problems for the business. As such, he’s participating in the Parasite 5 anonymously, through his secretary and representative, Owen Herriot…

Raul Aconite‘Obsessed Parasite’ (VA: Taku Yashiro) – is a ‘Sillywood’ actor famous for his action movies, but now he’s landed a starring role in a romance– the only problem is, he’s never been in love before. His agent signed him up for a Cupid Corporation membership in the hopes that he’ll be able to study for his new role, but Raul has a strange obsession, and he seems incapable of discussing anything else…

Keisaiin Ryuki‘Glamor Parasite’ (VA: Junya Enoki) – is the youngest of the Parasite 5 – at only 19 years old – yet he already runs his own fashion label. He’s obsessed with appearances, and a total snob who refuses to acknowledge the existence of anyone whose face has a grade of C or lower. But, he’s not an irredeemable character, and perhaps there’s a reason for his impossible standards. Plus, he does have some great self-care tips…

Allan Melville‘Thieving Parasite’ (VA: Makoto Furukawa) – has one of the most iconic personalities and character designs I’ve ever seen. A playboy obsessed with beds and pillows, Allan just really likes to share- I mean, borrow- I mean, steal other people’s girlfriends. Referring to women as ‘our darling’, he has a bizarre and specific fetish– women who are already in love with someone else…

Final Thoughts

Cupid Parasite is a refreshing change of pace, with one of the most entertaining common routes I’ve read to date. I can’t wait to keep playing to see how the story progresses in each route, and each member of the Parasite 5 has given a… *ahem*, strong first impression.

I’m most excited for Allan’s route (no surprises there, he’s a sleazy emo guy, what can I say?), and I already have a soft spot for the cinnamon roll himbo, Raul. As for Gill, he seems like he could go either way. I love possessive yanderes, but I’m not so interested in submissive puppy boys.

I don’t feel like I’ve spent enough time with Shelby to decide whether or not I’ll enjoy his character, but his constant headaches are entertaining, and I get the feeling the plot will be interesting in his route. Ryuki seems cute – and I love grumpy tsunderes – but I’ve seen some criticism for his character in the community, so I’m interested to see what his route is like for myself.

Aside from the characters, the general aesthetic is definitely one of the main points of appeal for Cupid Parasite. There aren’t that many CGs compared to some otome games, but there are so many vibrant, lively backgrounds – not to mention plenty of variations in the character sprites – that I haven’t really noticed any lack in visual diversity so far.

Every element of the game feels designed to craft a specific, iconic style that I found consistently entertaining and appealing. And, on the whole, Cupid Parasite’s first impression is that of a fun, slightly absurd, romantic comedy that already has me hooked, and shows a lot of promise moving forward into the individual character routes.

Starting with Ryuki, I’ll post character reviews as I complete each route, followed by a full game review once I’ve cleared every ending, to give a more comprehensive overview of the game, and to see how my first impressions compare to my final thoughts.

You’ll like Cupid Parasite if you like: wacky, raunchy rom-coms; Roman and/or Greek mythology; colourful, vibrant aesthetics, retro-American ‘rockabilly’ aesthetics; and something more light-hearted for when you’re burned out from all those heavy tragedies and angsty dramas…

Screenshots

~ Thank you Idea Factory International for providing us with a review copy of Cupid Parasite! ~

Game Info

Game name: Cupid Parasite
Developer: Otomate / Idea Factory
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: ESRB – T (Teen)
Languages available: Japanese (Audio) / English (Subtitles)
More information: here!

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3 comments

  • Thanks for your thoughts. I’m also enjoying Cupid Parasite a ton! I’ve only finished Gill’s route and I’m on Shelby’s now but it’s a hoot. As you said, it feels so different from the usual otome localisations with the in your face colours and patterns and rockabilly music. I have a feeling Allan will be my favourite too 👀.

    Liked by 1 person

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