Idea Factory International’s first otome game localization in years, Cupid Parasite, is out today in North America, and Europe on November 5! This romantic comedy otome game is full of vibrant colors and a really fun retro pop Americana vibe, which is why I’ve had it on my radar since it came out in Japan. To celebrate this exciting release, I’ll be sharing some first impressions of the game, with a full review coming once I’ve completed all routes.
In Cupid Parasite, you play as Lynette Mirror, a top advisor for the marriage agency Cupid Corporation who takes on the 5 toughest clients at the company, known as the Parasite 5. Lynette has one thing up her sleeve, though – she’s the actual mythological goddess Cupid, and she’s come down to earth to prove to her father Mars that she doesn’t need godly powers to succeed at matchmaking humans.
The members of Parasite 5 have a range of extreme “quirks,” from the Thieving Parasite Allan who’s only interested in girls who already have partners to Ryuki, the Glamor Parasite who won’t even acknowledge a woman’s presence if she doesn’t satisfy his strict beauty ranking system. But Lynette isn’t going to let that stop her, and soon the group find themselves at the center of a sharehouse reality show focused on finding the Parasite 5 love!
So far, I’ve played through Ryuki’s route, which is generally recommended as one of the routes to start with because it’s pretty self-contained. On your first playthrough, the only characters available are Ryuki, Shelby, and Gill, and after your second playthrough the ability to play Allan and Raul’s routes will be unlocked. After clearing all five of these characters, there’s one more secret character route at the end. While I’ve seen some variation in the suggested route order, it seems like Ryuki, Shelby, and Gill are pretty interchangeable, while Allan should be saved for last due to the story elements in his route.
While I can’t yet comment on the story as a whole, I’m quite enjoying this game as a lighthearted palette cleanser after Olympia Soirée. Though both games are heavily focused on marriage, Cupid Parasite is so goofy it’s hard to take seriously most of the time. In fact, the Parasite 5 are all pretty unlikeable from the beginning, at least for me, so the game’s fun really comes from discovering the charming side of each of the characters.
Ryuki, in particular, is extremely difficult to like at first due to his focus on beauty, to the point that he won’t even speak to people he feels aren’t pretty enough for him to associate with. While his behavior is quite toxic, the whole game plays everything off sillily enough that I didn’t take him very seriously, but at times it still made me rather uncomfortable, and I can see him really turning off some players. Despite this, I still found him growing on me more than I expected over the course of his route!
It’s important to note that as of this post, and the launch of the game, Ryuki and Raul’s routes have unedited English text in them. Idea Factory International has announced it will be patching this, along with any text overflow, in about four weeks. For their full statement, see below.
Unfortunately, these textual issues are quite apparent in the latter half of Ryuki’s route, with pronouns being mixed up and many rough lines of text. Since IFI has already announced they are addressing these issues, if you can wait for the patch or want to play through other routes first, such as Shelby and Gill, I would recommend doing that. I’m not saying the game is unplayable by any means, but I did feel the unedited text in Ryuki’s route marred the experience for me.
I’m planning on replaying the latter half Ryuki’s route after the patch is implemented to see how it’s been updated. It’s a shame, but IFI has shown great transparency by sharing exactly what sections of the game are affected and how/when they will be fixing it.
For now, I’m looking forward to playing through the rest of the routes in this extremely fun and silly otome game!