Release Date: November 2, 2021 (North America)
Developers: Idea Factory, Otomate
Publishers: Idea Factory International
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: T(Teen)
In the heart of Los York, a glitzy, trendsetting metropolis
that sits on the cutting edge of culture and couture, one daring marriage agency stands apart from the rest in success rate and in style. The Cupid Corporation.
As Cupid Corp’s top bridal advisor, our heroine consults the city’s most in-vogue singles to make their wildest romantic dreams come true. But she has one secret which she can never share.
Her true identity is Cupid, a descendant from Celestia sent here on a heavenly mission.
INT. SCENE. 5 A.M. Cupid Corp’s president’s personal office.
“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?”
Only this time, our heroine has been tasked with her biggest challenge yet:
handling the matchmaking, and thus the fates, of the infamous Parasite 5.
After a series of unimpressive interviews and workshops, they concoct the perfect plan.
Parasite House, a shared home created for reality TV centered around the lives
of the Parasite 5 and their romantic exploits. Leading these hopeless men to marital bliss proves to be a Herculean task even for great Cupid herself!
Can she live up to her name and keep her identity secret at the same time?!
Find out in the most divinely unpredictable romantic comedy of the millennium!
ART AND MUSIC
Yuuya has done it again folks! If I haven’t gushed enough about this artist in my previous reviews, allow me to do that again! Cupid Parasite’s overall art was breathtaking! The CGs were exquisitely beautiful. A lot of them were very spicy too. What a treat! A couple of Yuuya’s popular works in the past involved the otome games; Cafe Enchante, Jakou no Lyla, and Pub Encounter. Special shoutout to the appearances of male sprite nipples in this game. We need more of it, please!
I have to say, the original soundtrack of Cupid Parasite, really appealed to me. I love that each main character (including the heroine) have their own distinctive theme. My favorite was probably Gill’s as his bgm really matches his lovelorn persona.😭 The game’s soundtrack was arranged by Shinya Naito, Masayoshi Hanasaki, and Tsutomu Koyama. The former two, who are part of Capriccio Project, also arranged the soundtrack for Olympia Soiree.
The rockabilly style of CupiPara’s OP and ED theme was a total banger, especially the ending theme “Magic Hour” performed by the band, “The Biscats”. Listen to the sample track below!
If you’ve purchased the Limited Edition copy of Cupid Parasite off of IFI’s online store, the opening and ending theme of the game should come with it, along with the translated drama CD “Radio Los York Presents: Pillow Talk”. For more information on Cupid Parasite’s Limited Edition, please check out my unboxing video here.
Ryouhei Kimura “Gill Lovecraft” – Kageyuki Shiraishi (Collar x Malice), Nicola Francesca (Piofiore), Kuo (Diabolik Lovers) Arthur (IkeVamp), Kanesada Izuminokami (Touken Ranbu)
KENN “Shelby Snail” – Limbo (Bustafellows), Futo Asahina (Brothers Conflict), Minakawa Asahi (Gakuen Club), Totomaru Minowa (Kenka Banchou Otome), Kei (Ken ga Kimi)
Taku Yashiro “Raul Aconite” – Edgar Bright (IkeRev), Haruhi Teramitsu (B-Project), Tokio Takato (Paradigm Paradox), Adolphe (Shuuen no Virche), Tweddle Dee (Spade no Kuni no Alice)
Junya Enoki “Ryuki Keisaiin” – Kunihiro Horikawa (Touken Ranbu), Chisato Tachibana (Collar x Malice Unlimited), Dill (Nekopara Catboys Paradise), Luka Clemence (IkeRev), Mihaya Araki (Paradigm Paradox)
Makoto Furukawa “Allan Melville” – Lugus (Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk), Adage (Steam Prison), Kyle Ash (IkeRev), Minamoto no Yoritomo (Birushana Senki), Kazuma Kamikubo (Lover Pretend)
Daichi Kanbara “Owen Herriot” – Christopher Weatherfield (TMGS: Second Kiss), Yoh (Bad Apple Wars), Ryoma Takasugi (Seijaku ni Chain-saw)
Nobuhiko Okamato “Peter Flage” – Yang (Piofiore), Hansel (Code Realize), Manabu Souda (Collar x Malice), Zack (Angels of Death), Hiroya (Period Cube), Iris (Iris School of Wizardry – Vinculum Hearts)
The choices you make in the common route determine the love interest you’ll end up with. You can only start with either Ryuki, Shelby, and Gill on your first playthrough. Raul and Allan’s routes unlock after finishing your first run, and the secret route unlocks after finishing all five.
While the first three can definitely be interchanged, if you want a soft recommended play order, I suggest going for Ryuki ➤ Shelby ➤ Gill ➤ Raul ➤ Allan ➤ ???. This structure is from the most vanilla to the heaviest when it comes to spoilers.
The common route in Cupid Parasite was by far the most hilarious I’ve ever encountered in Otome Games. The humor here was gold that I even wished it was a bit longer than it already was.
RYUKI F. KEISAIIN (a.k.a. Glamor Parasite)
- loves natto!
- B A B Y
Ryuki is a successful fashion designer in Los York and a member of the world-renown Keisaiin fashion designer lineage. His family is responsible for the “KeiSai:In” fashion line. He, however, launched his own brand of clothing called “rYUKI”. Ryuki possesses synesthesia which lets him associate people with a certain color, and would always harshly greet new acquaintances with their color hex codes. In addition, he always carries a bottle of moisturizing mist with him for dry skin protection.
As the youngest among the five love interests in Cupid Parasite, I thought it was pretty impressive how by the age of nineteen, he was already an established fashion designer in Los York, managing his own brand of clothing. Talk about a genius with a purpose! To me, Ryuki’s route was also the most lighthearted out of everyone, and because of this, I wish I played his route first as I feel like his story would’ve been a nice intro of the game itself. Majority of his route focused on Ryuki’s story alone, and barely touched anything about Celestia. His route was very “vanilla” to say the least, but that’s not to say it wasn’t up to par with the others. Despite his coarse attitude and his high standards for beauty, I admit I was quite charmed by this baby tsun’s personality.🤭 I wouldn’t mind getting sprayed with his moisturizing mist on a constant basis! LOL
True to his “glamor parasite” title, he’s overly obsessed with humidifiers, and I find it extra funny how he doesn’t talk to anyone with a face grade below 60.😂 His practice date with Lynette (in the common route) was probably one of my favorites. It was also adorable to see him panic, thinking he’d developed some kind of disease after seeing Lynette’s “color” change into something beautiful in his eyes, not realizing he was just in love with her. Aww…🥰
SHELBY SNAIL (a.k.a. Prestige Parasite)
- “a devoted husband” 🤪
- SS-Rank haver
Shelby Snail is the president and founder of Cupid Corporation, the company the heroine works for. He is constantly seeking to improve his status and has a goal to attain an SS-rank in every facet of his life, be it from academics, to sports, you name it! He’s a true workaholic and spends his time every single day working. Despite his widely known reputation as a ‘devoted husband’, he’s actually single but keeps this info under wraps, afraid that this lie may damage him and his company’s reputation.
In Shelby’s route, he decided to use his own Company’s matchmaking services in the hopes of finding an eligible wife that will put an end to his ‘fake married man‘ facade. Technically speaking, he’s only marrying to improve his social status and isn’t really interested in having any romantic affairs, thinking it’ll only hinder him from doing his daily duties as a business owner. He anonymously calls himself “Monsieur Esse” and employs his secretary Owen to be his stand-in on every matchmaking date he needs to attend.😂 On a side note, I couldn’t get over Shelby’s obsession with being SS in almost everything that even his speedo confirms this!😂
Shelby’s relationship with the heroine embodied the realistic ‘modern-day couple‘, and I have to say, I really enjoyed this route A LOT because of that. His dynamic with Lynette as a power couple working and supporting each other was something new and very refreshing. Their pretend marriage episodes were the cherry on top of this route and I couldn’t stop cackling at their ‘fake-lovemaking-via-shadows‘ scene. Lynette grabbing a banana – had me howling for hours!🤣🤣🤣 It was so cute to see Shelby constantly getting flustered due to Lynette’s naivety and lack of self-regard during this route. Also, mad respect to Shelby for never taking full advantage of Lynette as her employer and even reflects how he shouldn’t abuse his position as her boss. All-in-all, this route was super good. It was very mature but in a wholesome kind of way (if you know what I mean. 😉). I believe this was also one of the routes in CupiPara that had the best-looking CGs. Plus points to KENN’s baritone voice that typically grew on me!🥵
GILL LOVECRAFT (a.k.a. Lovelorn Parasite)
- mother hen
Gill is a freelance editor who works for various magazines, and news publishers around Los York. He became a member of Cupid Corp in an attempt to get over his broken heart. But he struggles to stop himself from comparing every new girl to his one lost love. Gill is also Lynette’s former college roommate and was the one who taught her everything she needs to know about being a college student in the human realm.
I actually played Gill’s route first and regretted doing so because he is clearly, that one guy you’d ALWAYS be feeling bad for in every single route, considering he ends up getting his heart broken while the heroine falls for another love interest.😭 He’s literally doing too much, sacrificing all of his time and even his dreams just for the heroine’s sake. A perfect example of the rare, agape love – which was his love type. That said, his route became a massive pain relief because finally, he gets to have a happy ending with Lynette!
Perhaps the only slight debacle in Gill’s route was that it relied so much on the flashback of events to establish his history with the heroine. I can see a few would give this a side-eye. But frankly, I thought these flashbacks were actually pleasant. It got me really intrigued to learn more about Gill and Lynette’s college years. Plus, I love seeing Gill’s college boy sprite with his cute ponytail!💖 Additionally, I found his blooming romance with the heroine really endearing, especially when Lynette started to realize her feelings for Gill. The shift from the unrequited love to mutual love in this route was certainly done right – I wouldn’t have it in any other way! Blue cheese has never tasted any better! ( ´ ▽ ` )
On a random note, I wasn’t expecting his ending to hilariously turn out the way it did (cackles), but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it! 😂
RAUL ACONITE (a.k.a. Obsessed Parasite)
- mythology dork
- h i m b o
Raul Aconite is a world-famous ‘Sillywood‘ action star. His stunning looks and stellar performances in his actions films have led to multiple box office hits skyrocketing his career. He was recently offered a role to star in his first-ever romance film but can’t seem to nail his acting when it came down to expressing ‘love’. Because of this, his agent signed him up as a member of Cupid Corp to improve this shortcoming, as well as understand what it really means to be in love. However, due to his obsession with mythology, he has trouble finding partners with whom he can relate. This, in turn, ended him up as part of the infamous Parasite 5.
Raul was the character I was the least interested in at the beginning. I never cared for his delightful pecks and oozing sex appeal,😏 not to mention his outrageous mythology theories (lol). But wow, his route has tremendously taken me aback. Before I knew it, I became fully invested in his storyline in a mere second.😅 The ‘Ludus‘ love portrayed in this route was so realistic, it caught me off guard! I just love how both he and Lynette acknowledges their no-commitment physical relationship and that casual sex was embraced as something normal instead of making it taboo, such as how it is in reality, sometimes. Their relationship felt very organic, to me. It was so good to be able to play a route as mature as this, for a change. It honestly hit home for me in more ways than one (laughs). 😘
I also didn’t expect his route to be so involved plot-wise. Raul’s story got a bit outlandish in the middle, but it retained its hilarity which I really appreciate. I was not prepared for that plot twist in the end, nor was I prepared for that spicy CG that came out of nowhere and blew my socks off! (bruh…) 🥵 In addition, Lynette was amazing here. I love me a heroine that understands the value of love-making but at the same time admits that engaging in the act also feels good regardless. Her transparency and realness in this route were pretty fascinating, to say the least. I know this type of romance is probably not for everyone but as you can tell, this became fav. route. (cackles)🤭 It also didn’t help that when I took the love match test myself, it resulted in Ludus (lol), which explains why I’m just head over heels over Raul.😁
ALLAN MELVILLE (a.k.a. Thieving Parasite)
- “Bubble tea is SOUR.”
- thinks ‘Vienna coffee’ taste like sausages! 😂
Allan Melville works as a sales agent in one of 9th Avenue’s high-end stores called, Pillow Luxuria. He’s only interested in women who are already in love and has a knack of stealing them away from their partners, thus acquiring his title in Cupid Corp as the “thieving parasite”. He claims that he truly does want to get married…but the truth is he’s actually a devilish incubus in disguise. It’s unclear why he actually wants to find a wife. Could he possibly have some other hidden agenda?
Allan’s route deviates from the rest with its unpredictable storyline, so it’d be wise to play his route last to fully enjoy his story. I have to admit, I had no clue what I was getting into while playing his route. I expected some angst since he won the game’s popularity poll in Japan (where angsty characters always take the number one spot), but I did not expect THIS…MUCH!😭 I was mainly curious why his love type was “mania” in the first place. He didn’t seem to embellish this characteristic at all. If that piqued your interest as well, playing his route will thoroughly explain this.
Dare I say, his romantic relationship with Lynette was surprisingly fresh, unique, and in a league of its own. It’s so hard to explain without going into spoiler territory though. But, I can definitely see this being a fan favorite to many! On a related note, all of Allan’s ‘bad endings’ were quite good, especially the last one!😉
SECRET ROUTE (a.k.a. Sensitive Parasite)
After finishing all five previous routes, a secret route unlocks, which you can readily play by starting a new game. This route served as the finale of CupiPara, and I thought it tied the story together quite well alongside answering a few glaring plot holes introduced by the previous routes.
The secret LI was no doubt pretty obvious from the get-go as the game relentlessly hints this to you. You can probably immediately tell just by hearing the seiyuu’s voice acting too. It surprised me how this LI effortlessly got me smitten right away, to a point that I wish this route was longer and had more romantic events atop its plot events.🥺
Speaking of events, this route had the MOST HILARIOUS scenarios to boot. There were scenes in the game that got ultra-serious but then outright shifts into comical moments that’ll make your stomach hurt from laughing.😂😂😂
Click for Spoilers
A few examples were:
I have to admit, out of all the “finale routes” I’ve played so far in otome games, this was hands-down one of the most satisfying ones. It’s certainly not perfect, and I even thought (because it had a lot of compelling events involving Celestia and the gods), the romance felt rather lacking in comparison to others. However, it was remarkably rewarding to play, in the sense that I was very happy the game ended with it.
LYNETTE MIRROR (Main Heroine)
- career driven goddess
- all-time best girl!
Lynette Mirror is Cupid Corporation’s top bridal advisor, and the literal goddess of matchmaking—Cupid. At first, she carried out her matchmaking duties in Celestia by firing off her golden arrows at potential couples binding them with the power of love. After an argument with her father Mars, she descended into the human realm and became a modern-day Cupid, a.k.a., a bridal advisor in one of Los York’s top matchmaking company, Cupid Corporation.
Lynette was one of the most enjoyable protagonists to play…ever! I absolutely love her. There’s just something so empowering when it comes to hard-working, career-driven women taking the reins in any situation, especially in a busy work environment. While you can still consider her naive when it comes to human experiences (due to the fact that she’s an actual goddess who grew up outside of the human world), it was still so nice to see her grow, learn as much experience as she can first-hand, and adapt to humanity’s day-to-day living. Her knack to go the extra mile when it comes to her work ethics, treating every single client as best as possible was notably awe-inspiring.
There wasn’t any point in the game where I largely disagreed with her, and it feels nice to be able to vibe with a heroine like this easily. I have to give her props for being career-focused while keeping a healthy social life, which was another aspect I enjoyed about Lynette. I love that she embraces femininity, like being chic and fashionable at her workplace, gets her hair done, puts make-up on, and takes care of her physical appearance & well-being. On another note, I just LOVE how real and reasonable she is when it comes to her stance on love-making/sex. It is so refreshing to be able to play a protagonist that’s very profound and self-aware when it comes to grown-up matters like this. Overall, probably my new favorite otome game heroine! Ha!🥰
SYSTEM AND LOCALIZATION
One of the many alluring aspects of Cupid Parasite was the game’s comical humor. I tip my hat to Idea Factory International for their on-point translations that did not take away the funniness of the game’s dialogues. I appreciate all the witty repartees and the inserted puns on most of the character’s jocular banters. It was straight-up comedy gold!
Unfortunately, in the master build of Cupid Parasite, there were a few routes that were riddled with errors. Particularly in Ryuki’s and the Secret Route. Most of these mistakes involve grammatical errors, missing spaces, typos, naming inconsistencies, and dialogues spilling out of the text boxes. Half of Ryuki’s route was filled with text and grammar issues. It was still readable at best, but it was almost unplayable at some point. Other than these two routes, the rest were translated impeccably.
Edit: Idea Factory International has recently released a patch for this game, fixing all the issues cited above.🥳
As for the game’s UI, I really like it! It’s chic, modern, and very pop. Anything with lots of pink and vibrant colors gets my full attention tbh!😁 There’s a jump skip button that’ll allow you to get to the next choice, which saves you a lot of time when replaying the game. The flowchart was also pretty helpful as far as keeping track of the game’s chapters. The moving chibi sprites on the gallery section were hecking adorable, and it was so nice to be able to change the game’s font styles!😍 If I had to nitpick, I guess I felt robbed that there were no “after stories” nor any completion CG once you finish the game.
I believe it took me around 50-55 hours to complete Cupid Parasite. If I had my way, I would’ve wanted the game to last longer as I’ve unconsciously devoured it in five days straight (and I have a full-time job)!😂 It was that enthralling! The common route can be cleared in 2-3 hours tops, and you’ll need 3-4 hours to finish each character route.
Cupid Parasite rewards you with varieties of endings you can unlock while you play. What separates this game from other otome titles was that the bad endings, weren’t exactly ‘bad‘. In my experience, the closest you get from sporting a sad face was probably Gill’s “365 Love Letters”. The rest of these ‘bad ends’ border from just being friends with the LI to being business partners with them. A few would even surprise you and will have you dying of laughter!😂 I highly recommend playing all of them for some giggles.
The silly puns and parodies of American media references in this game were a riot! Transforcars (Transformers), Bumblepig (Bumblebee), Shanasan Holiday (Roman Holiday), Mulan Rogue (Moulin Rouge), and George Lupus (George Lucas) cracked me up!😂
This game also had several Greek and Roman mythology references, though any expectations for them to be historically or book-accurate should be thrown out the window unless you wanted to believe that Minerva/Athena, goddess of wisdom really had a hat collection and watches romance films in her free time!😂 On a related note, I absolutely love how the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’ll be a few instances where the story goes into pivotal mode but then instantly shifts into a tide of wacky, unexpected events. To be honest, I thought this was one of Cupid Parasite’s unique charms. As a title advertised as a romantic comedy with a dash of fantasy on the side, you’re gonna have to turn off your brain and accept any illogical quirkiness to maximize its enjoyability.🤣 Most of my reactions to some of its outrageous plot twists were “Oh my god, whaaaat?” followed by a series of loud cackles!🤣🤣🤣
Plot-wise, I thought Cupid Parasite was very original and unprecedented. At the surface, you’d think it’s just your ordinary rom-com fantasy, but there’s really more to it than meets the eye. All of the characters were just so good, including the side characters. The banters & high jinks of Mars and Venus were a joy to watch. Claris’ nosy wing-woman talks and her devious dating advice were the epitome of best friends forever! Perhaps my only gripe was that some really good side characters in the game were sprite-less, despite their importance in the story.😤 #justiceformelanie
As for the LI’s, they were all amazingly good! I love that the story for each main character was thematically centered on their love type. Thus, making every route vary greatly from each other. There was no denying that Allan’s story was the most intriguing out of everyone. But to my surprise, I ended up liking the secret LI the most, followed by Raul coming close to a second. While each of the Parasite 5 (or 6) was a walking anomaly on their own,😂 I was quite impressed by how well they worked together as a group.
Do I recommend this game? YES!
Laughter is the best medicine. Love is the perfect healer, and Cupid Parasite is a chock-full of both! If romance and fantastical comedy are your cup of tea, absolutely get this otome game! It’s been a while since I laughed so hard while playing a game my stomach hurt. This title was indeed full of surprises. Its story, jam-packed with wild antics and pleasantries will surely get you hooting from start to finish. In addition, the characters were a flavorful bunch and no doubt will have you falling head over heels in no time. That said, I definitely can’t recommend this game enough!