Cupid Parasite Is Yet Another Original Switch Otome Visual Novel
Earlier this year we took a look at not one, but two visual novels on the Nintendo Switch, which has quickly become the console of choice. Cupid Parasite, the new visual novel from Otomate/Idea Factory, is no exception. These visual novels, both released physically and digitally, are known under the genre "otome." As a refresher, "otome" refers to stories that center around a young woman protagonist, usually surrounded by a harem of handsome young men. The themes of the story vary from high fantasy to modern times, like most visual novels, and it's fueled by comedy romance.
Historically, some visual novels tend to be darker than others and light-hearted than others, as made clear with Wintertide Miracles. In Cupid Parasite, it boasts that it is a comedy romance. Whether there are other elements that would inhibit a serious story is left up to interpretation. As I mentioned in both the Wintertide Miracles and the Piofiore visual novel, while both games cater to a niche audience, all players can enjoy them. Otome games aren't exclusive to a specific audience despite their target demographics. Who doesn't love a romantic comedy from time anyway?
Cupid Is More Than A Name -- It's Your Identity
One of the many things that stood out for me was Cupid Parasite's presentation. From the opening menus, it captured that chic '80s-'90s aesthetic. Everything is loud from the colors, patterns, and aesthetics. Not as in "volume" but bright vivid colors pop, the architecture reminds me of "Upper West Side" on a Summer's day. The music also reflects this, sampling cues of blues, hip-hop, and energetic EDM music. From the beginning, this is meant to capture a charm that's both nostalgic yet modern. It's the latter that sets the tone for Lynette's journey.
The main protagonist, default name Lynette Mirror, is one of the head bridal agents in Cupid Corporation. Cupid Corporation is a marriage agency with the intent of matchmaking, falling in love, and leading up to marriage. However, she's called up to obtain a seemingly impossible task: Get five unsavory bachelors known as The Five Parasites to fall in love. There's just one major secret about Lynette: She happens to be a goddess.
The Cupid Who Works At Cupid Is Actually Cupid
Prior to the events of Cupid Parasite, Lynette was once the goddess Cupid who did basically the same thing as her human self would. However, lately, there has been a lack of success in roping people to fall in love with her powers. This is enough to draw the ire of her father, Mars, who claims that Cupid isn't trying hard enough in her endeavors. Despite there being proof that the gods' ability to influence humans is draining, the older gods refuse to budge.
That is until Lady Minerva, Cupid's aunt introduces her to various discoveries and inventions led by the human race. Devices such as phones, movies, DVDs, and social media are all manmade and have caused mankind to rely less on the Gods. It was through the advent of social media that Cupid realized humans were finding love on their own, causing her powers to remain inefficient. As a rebuttal towards her father, Cupid makes a wager that she can become more successful in finding love for others as a human than she ever could as a goddess. Thus, her devotion to prove that humans are capable of being self-sufficient outside of the need of gods begins.
An Interesting Premise Is What Saves Cupid Parasite
At least when it comes to thinking Cupid Parasite as "just another otome title," its references to Roman gods are interesting. In the end, the game hits all the cues including bright pink colors, music that pops, and dialogue that aims towards the reasoning of the female protagonist. Despite not reaching many decisions where I can influence the fate of Lynette, the prologue was interesting enough to keep me engaged.
Due to the nature of visual novels and our first takes, unfortunately, we usually tend to go as far as the prologue. However, in my first impressions, Cupid Parasite's prologue was enough to keep my interest. If I were to continue to try and court the five suitors, maybe I'd come to enjoy the protagonist as well as the "parasite's" personalities. Regardless, otome and romance visual novel fans will get mileage out of this title as other Otomate VNs.
Cupid Parasite is available on the Nintendo Switch.