Game Reviewby Kim Morrissy,
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.
Cupid Parasite opens with some of the trashiest male love interests you could possibly imagine. One guy is exclusively interested in meeting women who are already "taken." Another literally cannot perceive a woman unless she's well-groomed enough by his impossibly high standards. There's even a guy who's so scared of revealing his identity that he outsources all romance to his secretary.
But they're all great guys when you get to know them. Trust me!
The fun of Cupid Parasite is in how it bases the guys' exaggerated flaws on the color wheel theory of love rather than generalized ideas on what would make a good or bad romantic partner. Each guy represents a different "style" of love taken to its extreme, and the idea behind the game is that they get more in touch with themselves and their partner rather than overhauling their entire outlook. Crucially, there's no actual malice behind any of the guys' motivations, and the individual routes are really more about the heroine getting on their wavelengths and having her own ideas about romance challenged in turn. It's a lot more interesting to see the characters bounce off each other like this than sit through multiple variations of the "My love will fix him" story.
The heroine, suitably named "Lynette Mirror," makes for an excellent foil to the boys by being a larger-than-life character herself, with her own particular views on romance. As the god Cupid, she represents the pure ideals behind love and matchmaking, but has no real-world experience of her own. This is what prompts her to butt heads with the boys and call them out for their less-than-ideal behavior, but it's also what makes her personality malleable and easily influenced by the events around her. It's a great excuse to portray vastly different types of romances while keeping the characterization and theming consistent.
The heavy emphasis on Greek and Roman mythology adds another level of cohesion to what could have otherwise been a series of wacky events. The story begins with a rather loose interpretation of the well-known myths, but each route adds notable details to the setting in ways that directly tie into the themes of the game. Notably, Raul and Allan's routes are the heaviest in terms of mythological lore; you only get the option to play their routes after completing one of the other routes and starting a new game. After completing all five routes, a sixth one gets unlocked, which brings together all the separate strands of lore into a satisfying conclusion. If you're a myth geek, there's a good chance you'll be impressed with this creative reimagining of old myths, because every liberty this game takes is ultimately meaningful and purposeful.
A game with this many strengths is easy to recommend even to players outside the otome game niche, which is why it's unfortunate that the initial launch of this game was ridden with typos, text that doesn't fit into the dialogue boxes, and the telltale signs of a hastily edited machine translation. Some lines misinterpret the subject of the sentence entirely, making it difficult to even follow the story at times. Idea Factory International told reviewers that it would implement a patch to fix the egregious errors in the Raul and Ryuki routes, which is where the bulk of the problems lie, but neglected to mention this on the game's website for the average consumers. Moreover, despite promising that this patch would come out a few weeks after the initial launch on November 2, it's December now and the game still exists in a very flawed state.
My advice is to stay tuned to updates regarding the game and purchase it after the patch comes out. Even then, keep your ears to the ground because the mistranslations are on a scale that seems difficult to remedy with a quick editing pass. It would be very unfortunate for players to miss out on a great visual novel experience, but the flaws are critical for a text-based game.
Update (12/20): The patch is now live.
Overall : B+
Graphics : B
Sound/Music : B
Gameplay : B
Presentation : B
+ Core game is solid, interesting interpretations of classic myths and romantic psychology
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