- Rosa didn’t always have a name. It was until her best friend, Catherine, gave her one and the only deep human connection Rosa has ever had. However, Catherine’s now dead and Rosa knows that there is only one person to blame, Marquis Guilleme. With Mother’s help, Rosa is trying to find out the truth, without knowing what will become of her in the long run.
- This game drags the player in with its countless mysteries until they exhaust themselves learning everything about the characters.
- There is something magical in this search for justice/retribution, as Rosa comes to learn more about Guilleme, the different types of love in the world, and herself in the process.
★ ☆ ✰ Rating: 10/10
This review will go a bit deeper into the game in regards to story and character dynamics, so there might be spoilers. To read my initial thoughts about the game, check out my first review talking about the demo.
Before proceeding, it should be noted that this game has a strong instances of blood, gore, and verbal abuse. There are some scenes that might make people uncomfortable (even with the mature filter on), so please take this into consideration before playing the game.
It should be noted that the game has very striking and beautiful art that play an important part of the game. It could be said that a lot of the scenes within the game are pushed forward and stick with the player until the end because the art (in combination with the writing) leaves a strong impression with the player, especially when it concerns Guilleme and his personal issues towards the end of the story. Some endings even leave a chilling impression simply because of the ending CG, as it did with me and the Substitution ending. At the same time, it can said that the art is the first thing that draws a player into the game because of how the characters are drawn. Personally, I loved the different character designs for each character and the backgrounds that really show research was done for the setting of the story. It might be picking too much into the game, but I loved the color associations that were attached with each character. For example, Catherine is often in bright colors to show off her bright personality. Rosa is in pinks, reds, and white as if showing her innocence but with a “stain” that she might not be exactly all that she shows to the world, while Guilleme is in dark colors to show off that he is a charming but mysterious character. However, the writing and the characters really leave a deep impression on the player, especially when it comes to such a personal matter such as “love”.
The game, like the demo, shows Rosa coming into the lives of Catherine and Guilleme and moves forward through the years to the point where Catherine has killed herself and Rosa tries to find out the truth for the sake of justice or revenge, depending on the choices made. The game then jumps back and forth between flashbacks of the friends growing older, as Catherine and Guilleme become a couple over the years. Through several scenes and while playing from the perspective of the “Mother”, the player leads Rosa to the truth of what both she and Guilleme are, what really happened to Catherine, and what should be done with Guilleme at the end of everything. The choices the player makes as the “Mother” move Rosa towards different paths, such as: one independence and self-actualization, one where she continues to depend on “Mother”, or one where she becomes the next of Guilleme’s victims. However, the game with all its twist and turns never strays from the fact that it is about love and all its different forms.
This game is not about a single form of love, but the various forms that can be found and how they can affect a person. This is shown especially within the dynamic of the three main characters and how it changes over the years up to the point when Catherine dies. Familial love is shown in how Guilleme treats the girls during their younger years and how Catherine’s father cares for his own family. The other side of this is shown in Rosa’s relationship with “Mother” and how she can be verbally abusive towards Rosa at times, the severity depending on the player’s choices. The sweet side of romantic love is shown in the early years of Catherine and Guilleme’s relationship and the reverse is shown in their later years through Catherine’s jealousy but at the same time through Guilleme’s indifference when it comes to her death and Rosa’s own romantic feelings, if the player chooses to believe that. However, in the end, they all have a love so strong for each other in the name of friendship that it makes them do drastic things, such as Rosa trying to kill Guilleme in certain endings because of her love for Catherine. The game shows both the good and bad sides of what come with love, while at the same time giving the “good and bad” explanations as to why people need to be loved; one might even go as far as to say that both Rosa and Guilleme are physical representations of the double-sided feeling that love can become. All the endings come back to these different forms of love that are peppered throughout the game (the form it takes depends on the player’s choices), but they always take some twisted form because of the type of creature both Guilleme and Rosa are.
Another great thing about this game is the character development that both Rosa and Guilleme go though, to the point where they parallel each other at times. Depending on the choices made, Rosa begins to gain more confidence in herself and in what she believes. Regardless of her motives, she is optimistic in what love really is and in how she can control her hunger towards it, which is a far cry compared to Guilleme. He, on the other hand, throughout his years of existence has taken a very nihilistic view point to love and his own person, while simply grabbing whatever he can get his hands on and trying not to care about the aftermath. The climax of Rosa’s rapid development and Guilleme’s years in the making deconstruction collide head first in the endings and it is interesting to see each of them views this different side of the other, especially after knowing each other for so long. However, depending on how the player chose to mold Rosa, the one with the stronger mentality is the one that comes out on top, with it at times being Rosa and in others it being Guilleme. Yet, they aren’t the only complex characters within the game.
The characters are also very complex and show different sides of themselves when it comes to the type of affection that they have towards a person, and even then not everything about them is shown – especially when it comes to Catherine. Catherine is someone that is deeply woven into the lives of both Guilleme and Rosa for years, but is deceased by the start of the story. She is someone that is only shown through flashbacks and the personal impressions that she left the two, as well as whatever Mother thought of her. The game raises a lot of questions about her personal motivations and how she really felt about certain people, but above all else she loved Rosa and Guilleme selflessly. It can be said that the love that she left the both of them and how they each felt about her really drive the story the whole way through. As previously stated, Rosa and Guilleme are complex people as well, especially towards the “true end” when they both face a new development in their lives that causes them to change in order to live better lives, both how this effects them is left ambiguous and entirely for the player to use their imagination aside from Guilleme’s brief epilogue that only gives vague hints of his modern life. He may still seem a bit childish, but he does seem to have taken into consideration what Rosa told him all those centuries ago. Even “Mother” has her secrets and details that are left hidden to the player to dig up after they have collected all the endings. She is shown to be driven by hatred and revenge, but she also cared about Rosa in her own way and has her own complex past with Guilleme that drove her to her madness, though the full details are never given.
The endings! Oh, the endings! The endings are where the story really shines and everything that Rosa and “Mother” have been striving for finally reaches its conclusion and depending on the choices made, it closes the story well. The endings really take into consideration the choices the player makes and how they treated Rosa during the game. Not all of them have a “happy ending”, but it really depends on the subject of love takes in the duration of that play through; it seems to take a twisted look on that type of love, even when it is one of the nicer endings. Nevertheless, all these endings give the game a sense of closure while leaving the door open for what can happen to Rosa and Guilleme, depending on the situation, after they leave the mansion. Some of them might be hard to get, but what they unlock and show the player is definitely worth the time and effort. The bonus content that comes after collecting all the endings is such a marvel to read thorough, especially Guilleme’s epilogue and the creator’s notes. It really all does give an added detail to the game that is really appreciated once finishing the whole game.
Cupid is a very ambitious game with the story that it is trying to tell along with all the details that it packs within it as well. And it does it so well! The art, writing, and music come together to tell a story that isn’t just about one type love, but several types and how they can affect a person, in both the good and bad ways as well. The music choices really go well with the story as well, but it does seem a bit odd here and there, but not enough that it takes from the overall experience of the game. The “Mother” role also gives the player a unique experience in how they handle the game and how they view the changes that all the characters go through, especially Rosa.