Cupid Parasite is a fantasy romantic comedy otome game developed by Idea Factory and a welcome change from some of the more doom and gloom heavy otome localizations we’ve gotten in the past. Follow Lynette Mirror a young bridal advisor at Los York’s number one marriage agency as she attempts to help five of the city’s most infamous bachelors find love. Unbeknownst to everyone, Lynette is secretly the Goddess of Love herself, Cupid and with a bit of divine help she might just be able to get these hopeless men to experience the bliss of true love… and maybe even experience a taste of love herself
- Genre: Romance Comedy
- System: Nintendo Switch
- Rating: ESRB T
- Developer & Publisher: Idea Factory & Idea Factory International
Cupid Parasite Official Synopsis
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.
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! ♥–Official English Site
Characters of Cupid Parasite
At the start of the game, you cannot earn affection points with Raul or Allan, so you can only choose from Gill, Shelby, or Ryuki. During your second playthrough the choices you need for Raul and Allan will unlock and you’ll be able to play through their routes. Aside from that restriction, you can pretty much play the routes in any order you want, though I recommend playing: Ryuki ➤ Shelby ➤ Gill ➤ Raul ➤ Allan ➤ Secret Character
This gives you the best story progression, since Ryuki’s route is by far the most straightforward and Allan’s route has a much heavier storyline than any of the other routes (I strongly recommend leaving him for last).
The Color Wheel Theory of love plays a big role in Cupid Parasite with each of the love interests embodying one of the six types of love: Eros (love of beauty), Ludus (love as fun), Storge (Love as friendship), Mania (enthusiastic love), Agape (dedicated love), and Pragma (practical love). The Love Test in the common route is important for locking in the best endings for your chosen bae, so be mindful of that.
Lynette Mirror – The Heroine
The Cupid Corporation’s top bridal advisor, and the literal goddess of love—Cupid.
At first, she carried out her matchmaking duties in Celestia by firing off her arrows at potential couples, but that changes once she has a quarrel with her dad, Mars. With the help of her aunt, Minerva, she descends into the Human Realm to prove to her father her astuteness in the ways of mankind and of love. She is naturally energetic and upbeat.
Recently she has become a fan of using the small electrical current that flows between the horns of Chii, a divine beast that followed her from Celestia, as a makeshift muscle massager.
I feel like I say this all the time, I play a new otome game, but Lynette is one of my new favorite otome heroines! I love Lynette! Not only is she the goddess of love, Cupid, she is also the top bridal advisor at Cupid Corp. She has a strong work ethic and always goes above and beyond the call of duty to support those around her, even if that means putting in a bit of overtime. She actively listens to her clients and is mindful of their limitations and strengths, so it’s no surprise she was put in charge of helping Cupid Corp’s problem children, the Parasite 5 find marriage partners. You see this more in Shelby’s route since it focuses more on her career aspirations at Cupid Corp, but in each route she makes it very clear that she takes her job as Cupid and as a bridal advisor very seriously.
Despite being Cupid, Lynette is surprisingly in experienced when it comes to love, having spent all of her life bringing love to others that she never considered finding love for herself. She can be a bit on the naïve side at times–like how she doesn’t realize Gill is in love with her–but for the most part she is usually pretty quick witted and she cab get pretty sassy, easily standing up to her father Mars and rebuffing the advances of Allan when he gets a bit too handsy. She’s gal who knows how to work hard, but also when to kick back and have fun too. And while she may not be know much about love that does not stop her from getting frisky with the LI’s.
Gill Lovecraft – Lovelorn Parasite
VA: Ryohei Kimura
Gill Lovecraft Official Bio
A freelance editor who works for various magazines, book publishers, and news sites around Los York. He joined Cupid Corp in an attempt to get over a two-year-long broken heart. But he struggles to stop himself from comparing every new girl to his one lost love. Thus, he became part of the company’s most troublesome group of members—the Parasite 5.
In fact, the girl who broke his heart is none other than our heroine, who was a year behind him at college. He did everything he could to support this naive young girl (whom he hasn’t realized is a runaway from Celestia) and fell in love with her along the way. She never realized his feelings for her, and eventually he gave up and decided to move out of their co-ed living space.
Now that their paths have crossed once more, this time with her serving as his marriage advisor, the love he thought was frozen has begun to thaw.
My Thoughts on Gill Lovecraft
Gill is a freelance writer and Lynette’s former roommate and the poster boy for the Nice Guy™ trope. He’s been harboring an all consuming one-sided crush on her since their college days (of which she is completely oblivious to). Despite not having seen Lynette in over two years, Gill constantly compares every woman he meets to his lost love–earning him the title of the Lovelorn Parasite. But, fate is on his side and he and Lynette are reunited and he is determined to win her heart.
Gill is the character I was most looking forward to pursuing–sweet, approachable guys are kind of my jam (especially megane). But, even I have to admit Gill is one bad day away from throwing Lynette in his secret yandere cage. They call Raul the obsessed parasite, but I think that title really belongs to Gill because this man is obsessed with Lynette and will do anything to be the man for her–even if that means completely disregarding his own needs and wants. He definitely embodies the all consuming devotion and selflessness of agape love, which is both endearing and highkey scary. He’s the kind of guy that will literally pamper you to death. There were moments when he reminded me of Joe from YOU and that’s not a complement. But, that said, I did like how easily he and Lynette get on with one another and I will admit they had the cutest dates. There were also a few flashbacks to their early days together and it was just so wholesome and warm–I really couldn’t help but root for them.
Shelby Snail – Prestige Parasite
Shelby Snail Official Character Bio
Founder and president of the Cupid Corporation. Despite his widely known reputation as a devoted husband, he’s actually single.
Realizing that his lie would not hold up forever, he decided to use his own company’s matchmaking services anonymously by employing his own secretary as his stand-in. He also recently learned that one of his best employees, our heroine, is eager to earn herself a promotion.
He is constantly seeking to improve his status. His goal is to attain an SS-rank in every facet of his life, which leads him to live a regimented, work-oriented lifestyle. He sees romantic feelings as irrational and unnecessary.
My Thoughts on Shelby Snail
Shelby Snail is the founder and president of Cupid Corporation and Lynette’s boss. While he has a reputation for being a devoted husband, it’s all a lie and he is actually single. His workaholic tendencies and irrational desire to be the best (SS-rank) has earned him the title of the Prestige Parasite. Shelby is obsessed with social standing and rank, and views romance as a waste of time. He’s very practical about his approach to love and looking for a relationship of convenience, which is very much in keeping with pragma love.
I thought this route would be a simple “pretend lovers to real lovers” plot, but whoa boy was I wrong! I wasn’t really feeling Shelby, despite his put together appearance, he’s more like 32 going on 12 with how inexperienced he is with love, seriously, and it’s kind of cute to see a grown man getting flustered so easily–especially someone as elite as Shelby. Both Shelby and Lynette have a lot in common, they’re both work oriented people, so they both respect each other’s work ethic and you actually see them supporting each other both in their respective roles at Cupid Corp and in their personal lives. But, then everything devolved into chaos and it was the best thing ever!
I have no clue what this route even is! This is where everything started going off the rails for me in the best ways possible–action, adventure, romance, corporate espionage, a sexy Roomba–Shelby’s route was a clusterfuck of crazy. The first half of the route was normal, focusing on Shelby and Lynette pretending to be married to stave off rumors that Shelby isn’t married–since his entire reputation (and by extension Cupid Corp) are built on the idea that he is a devoted husband. Through spending time with Lynette, he learns that there’s more to life than working and being the very best like no one ever was, blah, blah, blah… and then some way, some how, his route devolves into a B-rank action flick out of nowhere! The wonky plot made what would have been a pretty forgettable character and route, unforgettable.
Raul Aconite – Obsessed Parasite
VA: Taku Yashiro
Raul Aconite Official Character Bio
A world-famous movie star whose boyish good looks and stunning action scenes have led to multiple box office hits.
He recently signed on to star in his first-ever romance film, and joined Cupid Corp at the behest of his agent to finally understand what it means to be in love.
Thanks to a near-death experience in which he was convinced the gods had saved his life, he gained an obsession with studying Greek mythology—never failing to bring up the topic in every conversation.
Due to his obsession, he has trouble finding people with whom he can relate, and has now found himself as part of the Parasite 5.
My Thoughts on Raul Aconite
Raul Aconite is a famous Sillywood actor, having starred in a number of big budget action films over the years. The turning point in his career comes when he lands a role in an upcoming romance film, there’s just one hitch–Raul’s never experienced love. Casual hook-ups and one-night stands are the norm in Sillywood, so he views love as just a bit of fun, sleeping with anyone who propositions him for the night. He’s very lax when it comes to love and prefers a no strings attached approach to his relationships, so it’s no surprise that his love type is Ludus.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about Raul, in the other routes he’s kind of played as comedic relief, since his love of mythology borders on fanaticism–he has a ton of Greco-Roman stuff in his house, including statues of several of the gods and goddesses. His myth obsession is intense (to say the least), so he has a hard time connecting with other people. Because Lynette is the only person that actually humors his ravings, he sees her as a kindred spirit and constantly tries to engage her in “debates” on his headcanons (my fave being, Neptune is actually a woman). On their first date, he tries to get her to wrestle him in the park, because of course that’s what your do with a woman you don’t know.
However, the thing that stood out to me the most is his casual views on sex–at one point he likens sex to exercise. Lynette has a very “old fashioned” view on love that doesn’t really jive well with Raul’s more modern sensibilities and I like that the writers try to make the case that casual relationships are absolutely healthy and normal. There’s nothing wrong with having a fling or two as long as both parties are completely comfortable with the arrangement and given the right circumstances a casual relationship can develop into something more, which is something you don’t see a lot of in otome games. I also gotta say, this is the route that pushes the limits of the T rating, because Raul and Lynette have a lot of sex in this route… like a LOT.
Keisaiin F Ryuki – Glamor Parasite
VA: Junya Enoki
Ryuki F. Keisaiin Official Character Bio
A successful fashion designer and member of the Keisaiin fashion family dynasty. His family is responsible for the “KeiSai:In” fashion line, and he launched his own specialty “rYUKI” line of clothing.
His older sister, who successfully found love thanks to Cupid Corp, signed him up without telling him. His desire for marriage is extremely low, while his standard of physical beauty is impossibly high. He seems incapable of recognizing anyone with a lower facial rank, and has had trouble communicating with his various advisors in the past, leading to his inclusion in the Parasite 5.
He also has synesthesia, which means he sometimes associates people with specific colors, and he often replies to them with what is apparently their color-related hexadecimal code. In addition, he always carries a bottle of moisturizing mist with him to protect him from dry skin.
My Thoughts on Ryuki F. Keisaiin
Ryuki looks like the lost member of a Japanese Visual Kei group, or (as my friend says) an uke in a 90’s boys love series. He’s the youngest member of the Parasite 5, juuust barely avoiding jailbait status at 19 years old. But, despite his young age he’s made a name for himself as a successful fashion designer from the famous Keisaiin family. He is all about fashion and beauty to the point that he won’t even acknowledge anyone ranked low on his special attractiveness ranking. Ryuki has synesthesia, so he often associates people with a specific hex color codes–which meant I was constantly Googling hex color codes. He also carries a bottle of moisturizing mist which he sprays in people’s faces and god forbid he not have a humidifier in his room!
I will admit that initially I wasn’t all that interested in this barely legal cutie–I’m in my 30s and I find it harder to date younger LIs in otome games without feeling like a cougar. However, I am happy to say that Ryuki is my favorite route in the game! Sure, he’s a bit of a grumpy tsun bun, but once Lynette breaks through his defenses he becomes a super cute blushing mess you can’t help but want to tease! Ryuki is meant to embody Eros, which is typically associated with passionate or sexual love, though in the game it’s played more as an appreciation for beauty. Ryuki and Lynette’s relationship isn’t especially “passionate”, rather the romance in the route feels more like two people falling in love for the first time–which is cute. His route was the most normal, devoid of all the wonky shenanigans that crop up in the other routes, so I highly recommend playing his route first to ease you into the game.
Allan Melville – Thieving Parasite
VA: Makoto Furukawa
Allan Melville Official Character Bio
A senior employee at a 9th Avenue designer bedding store known as Pillow Luxuria. The store creates tailor-made pillows designed specifically for each customer, and they’re popular with celebrities and other wealthy patrons due to their ability to provide consistent top-tier slumber.
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?
Either way, he has persuaded Cupid Corp members who already had partners (along with a company employee) to let him “make their dreams come true,” and led them away from their lovers on several occasions. This caused huge problems with the company, and naturally led to him joining the Parasite 5.
My Thoughts on Allan Melville
I was not interested in Allan in the slightest, y’all already know how I feel about flirty characters in otome games and at face value Allan is the embodiment of everything I hate about them. He’s the owner of Pillow Luxuria, a high end bedding boutique in Los York and he has a bit of a reputation for sleeping with women already in relationships. Allan seems to enjoy stealing women and never once shows remorse for his actions, much to the disgust of Lynette. I kinda wanted to punch him in the face a few times.
But, then I played his route and it completely changed the way I looked at him. All of the other routes stay pretty firmly within rom-com territory, with a few really ramping up the ridiculousness factor. But, Allan’s route is straight up ANGST, oh my god does this game make him suffer. We get a lot of fun background on the Dii Consentes and the fantasy/supernatural stuff some of the other routes kind of gloss over and for that reason I highly recommend you save this route for last.
Secret Character Route
Click to view my thoughts on the Secret Route (Spoilers)
Blerdy Otome’s Cupid Parasite Character Ranking
Gameplay and Features
Flowchart and Event View
Cupid Parasite has a Flowchart feature that helps you keep track of your progress in the game. You can check the flowchart at any point in the story and use it to revisit specific chapters and try alternative choices. The Flowchart also lets you know what to expect from each chapter, displaying whether or not you’ll encounter choices or event CGs. This was super helpful if you’re looking to full clear the game, since you can see where story branches occur and replay only the relevant chapters.
The Event View lets you replay specific scenes and past events throughout the game for each route. You can also shows which characters are featured during past events. I really didn’t use this feature all that much, since the flowchart pretty much has you covered with managing your progress in the game.
Love Match Test
Each of the love interests in Cupid Parasite corresponds to a specific love type and in the the common route, you’re presented with a dating questionnaire that’ll help you determine what your ideal love type is. The story branches and final game endings will change according to the results of these tests. It’s a 14-question yes or no questionnaire that’s pretty straightforward and I will admit that I had fun playing around with the choices–though when it comes down to it each love type is determined by one question.
From your 2nd playthrough onward, you can skip the questionnaire altogether and choose the Love Match type you want.
Soundtrack and Character Song
Cupid Parasite has a pretty wide reaching soundtrack, that includes tracks from a number of musical genres and styles, most notably rockabilly (which I’m not all that familiar with). The opening theme and ending themes are performed by the Japanese rockabilly band The Biscats. ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ (OP) has a fun pop feel to it that fits the upbeat tone of some of the routes, while the ending theme, ‘Magic Hour’, is more of a traditional love ballad.
There are even individual themes for each of the Parasite 5 that really embody the motivations of that particular character–Gill’s theme, ‘Lovelorn Parasite’ uses slow instrumentals and vocals to convey his sense of longing for Lynette while, Raul’s theme, ‘Obsessed Parasite, is much more up tempo and edgy.
Bright Colors and Gorgeous Visuals
Cupid Parasite has a lot of pink and bright colors, to the point that you kinda need shades to play this game, but I’m not gonna lie it works with the more upbeat story. The game is set in Los York, a fictional city(?) cross between Los Angeles and New York, though more the former–and the bright colors definitely give the game a more west coast vibe.
The same artist who worked on Café Enchanté worked on this game and that is especially apparent in the designs of the gods and goddesses of the Dii Consentes, with their flowing robes and otherworldly adornments. Even the character designs of the human characters are really nice too, modern, fashion forward clothing that you’d expect to see in a more upscale city like Los York. Also, the otome goddesses have blessed up with shirtless 2D boys with nips and I will be forever grateful to the artist for giving us multiple chances to ogle some beautiful shirtless 2D boys!
Thoughts on Cupid Parasite
The Lighthearted Rom-Com We’ve Been Waiting For!
Most otome games to make their way stateside tend to have darker, drama heavy storylines in an attempt to entice folks from outside the fandom to give them a try. This has been a point of contention for many Western otome fans looking for more lighthearted otome titles, well look no further, Cupid Parasite is the otome game we’ve been waiting for! Romance is always at the forefront of the story, following Lynette and the Parasite 5 through their (often hilarious) attempts find love. Crazy antics and bizarre situations abound– from surprise mecha battles to a brief love affair with a Roomba to a whole Indiana Jones-esque temple adventure–I love that Cupid Parasite is a game that never takes itself too seriously! I don’t say this often but I highly recommend playing the alternate endings in this game, there aren’t really bad endings per se, but the gag ones are definitely worth the extra effort! Sometimes, you really just need something silly and this game more than fits the bill. Even when the story does take a turn for the “serious” there’s still a lot of levity to keep the mood up.
Sure, there were some moments that had me rolling my eyes, especially after one of Lynette’s “Love” speeches. But, even then, playing an otome game that focuses on actual romance is refreshing and now I kinda want more!
Mythology with a Twist
Greco-Roman mythology plays a pretty big role in the story with gods and goddesses popping up left and right–heck one of the LI’s, Raul is a bona fide myth nerd. The mythology is all over this game and instead of playing it by the book with the lore, Cupid Parasite isn’t afraid to play around with the source material. Whether that’s having Minerva, goddess of wisdom and war reimagined as a movie loving cowboy hat wearing human enthusiast or having Mars being an overprotective papa, these characters don’t feel like a rehashing of the same old stories we’ve heard time and time again. We get glimpses at the world of the gods, Celestia throughout the game, and its cool see a more “modern” look at the place.
Welcome to Los York
So, we had New Sieg in BUSTAFELLOWS and now we have Los York and I’m starting to wonder about how the rest of the world views America… Los York is a fashionable city reimagining of Los Angeles and New York (though more of the former), so there are some references to real life places and I’m not gonna lie I had fun trying to figure them all out. There was the “Silver Gate Bridge” (The Golden Gate Bridge), Boltamore (Baltimore), Wishington (Washington), Sillywood (Hollywood) even the island of Los York is shaped like Marilyn Monroe from the dress scene in The Seven Year Itch.
I also have to give it to the game too for going full tilt with the American immersion, some of the news reports were actually voiced in English and even without the text the dialogue was damn near perfect. Though there were some moments that had me groaning, like the way Sillywood actors and actresses are portrayed as superficial people who engage regularly in casual sex… not sure how realistic that is. That aside, it’s very clear that someone worked hard to make sure the American setting was portrayed believably.
A Dynamic Cast of Fun Characters
Usually when I play an otome game there are one or two character that I just don’t vibe with, either I’m not a fan of their character archetype or their looks just don’t do it for me. I did not have that problem with this game, I loved all of these characters and there were a few that like Allan and Ryuki who I wasn’t really all that interested in that became my faves once I played the game.
Lynette is a fantastic heroine, a driven, fashionable young woman who is capable of maintaining an active social life, a career and romance without breaking a sweat. The love interests are an eclectic bunch to say the least, but each one is endearing in their own way–though, Allan and Ryuki remain my faves of the bunch. The Parasite House scenes in the common route were among some of my favorites, since you really get to see all of the guys playing off of each other well and just having fun. I was a bit disappointed that the Parasite House stuff wasn’t longer, because honestly that could have easily worked as the main premise of the game and I’d have been satisfied, but alas twas not to be.
I also love that there is a full cast of side characters who make for a more vibrant addition to the story, whether they be the gods and goddesses of the Dii Consentes or Lynette’s friends and associates from work. Special props to Claris for being the sassy, supportive best friend we all need and again to the writers for including wholesome non-romantic relationships for Lynette and the main cast. The familial bonds between Lynette and the gods was especially well done, give depth to Lynette and her motivations throughout the game. And I will never forget that Gill and Raul are somehow besties. It is also criminal that I cannot date Owen!
Cupid Parasite Trailer
Translation and Localization
I haven’t had this much fun with an otome game translation since Taisho x Alice, instead of going with stiff by the book translation, IFI went with a much more modern translation style that I think works well with a game like Cupid Parasite.
I will address some inconsistencies in the quality of the translation in one route, the second half of Ryuki’s route had a noticeable drop in quality–misused words, incorrect pronoun usage, grammatical errors left and right–but, IFI has acknowledged that this is due to an error with the master build text not being updated for Ryuki and Raul’s routes. They’ve given us a rough estimate of 4 week (as of this writing) for the updated translation patch.
Ryuki’s route is the worst offender, but it’s not unreadable and the errors in Raul’s route while noticeable weren’t too bad. Outside of those two routes the other routes were perfectly fine–so I definitely recommend still playing the game on release as even with the errors it’s still one of the best localizations I’ve played this year.
Cupid Parasite is the most fun I have had with an otome game in forever! This game had me cracking up at the ridiculous turn some of the routes took. We need more fun rom-com otome game localizations to break up all the doom and gloom, there’s more than enough of that going around in the real world. So, if you are looking for a bubble gum pink otome game that isn’t afraid focus on love and has a hilarious cast of quirky love interests that’ll keep you entertained from start to finish, don’t pass up on Cupid Parasite. This is one otome game you don’t want to miss!
Thank you to Idea Factory International for providing a copy of Cupid Parasite for this review!