Key art from Cupid Parasite: Sweet & Spicy

Review: Cupid Parasite: Sweet and Spicy Darling (Nintendo Switch)

Sweet & Spicy gets me Hot & Bothered

6 mins read

I have a particularly strong attachment to the original Cupid Parasite… indeed I think that it is that game, above and beyond any of the others that I’ve played, that convinced me that “hey, I have to make my own one of these visual novel things.” The result may not look anything like Otomate’s art deco comedy romance (it wouldn’t have worked for the story I’m telling anyway), but whenever I need a reminder of why I love the visual novel genre so much, I come back to Cupid Parasite and play it for an hour or so.

Now I have this sequel. Or perhaps “extremely extended add-on pack that has been released as a separate title” is a more appropriate title. Sweet and Spicy Darling assumes that you have played the original otome (and indeed completed every one of its narrative routes). The main mode of this “sequel” allows you to pick from whichever boy from the original that you liked the most and then watch the next stage of their relationship trough with Cupid, the protagonist.

This means that the writers didn’t need to waste time establishing the relationship, going through the highs and lows of courtship, or any of the rest of it. In the “sequel,” the relationship is in full swing and you get to enjoy watching Cupid marry her/your favourite boy, go on their honeymoon, and so on. Sadly you don’t get to watching along a certain other activity that comes with all this romance (and, frankly, after living through so much of the relationship you do actually deserve that), but I digress. The point is you get to enjoy spending more time with your favourite characters and this is inherently a good thing, written and visualised every bit as well as it was in the first chapter.

A screenshot from Cupid Parasite Sweet and Spicy Darling

As a bonus, and this is the only thing I could recommend to someone who hasn’t played the original Cupid Parasite, there is a new character arc to follow, with an entirely new character. He’s every bit as quirky as the original cast (he uses a doughnut to tell your fortune), and while his narrative arc still takes place after events of the original game, because you get to watch his relationship with Cupid play out from the very first meeting, his story is by far the most accessible of all the characters’ if this is your first brush with this mini-series.

Most important of all, however, is that Sweet and Spicy Darling maintains all the qualities that made Cupid Parasite such a distinctive, stand-out experience. The deep colours that would inspire Takashi Murakami, complete with the surrealist design of many of the backgrounds continue to provide a vivid, high-energy canvas to enjoy, while the soundtrack, which blends jazz, pop and just plain groove together will have you tapping your feet. The pacing of the narrative continues to be spot-on, and the comedy is as sharp and witty as ever. Even the UI is a total joy to witness, and it’s so rare that I would specifically point out the UI in a game, but play this for yourself and ask yourself how easy it must have been to come up with this specific design.

It’s hard to pull off what this game does, I can tell you. Everything about Cupid Parasite is loud and boisterous, without being so gaudy that it becomes difficult to look at. The clashing colours and busyness on the screen somehow complement, rather than distract from, the text and the key characters. The punchy music doesn’t make you feel like you have to breeze through the text without paying attention. For something so completely over the top, there’s a lot of very careful and subtle work that has been done to make sure it’s balanced, and refined, rather than chaotic.

A screenshot from Cupid Parasite: Sweet and Spicy Darling

There’s not much else I can say, given that any commentary on the story would be a spoiler to the first game, and as much as I can breathlessly enthuse about the aesthetics and presentation, that’s something you’re going to have to see to get a feel for just how well it works despite being so eclectic. Cupid Parasite: Sweet and Spicy Darling is a sequel to a game you should play before it. But it’s also a game you really should play, because it is the most artfully unique and downright entertaining otome visual novel out there. Sweet and Spicy Darling is more of the same, and that’s all it needed to be.

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Matt S. is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DDNet. He's been writing about games for over 20 years, including a book, but is perhaps best-known for being the high priest of the Church of Hatsune Miku.

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