LifeisXbox’s Cupid Story: First Date preview | Dating Sims: a genre, much like visual novels, that found their origin and the bulk of their popularity in Japan. These games use careful time management, stat building and engaging dialogue to woo the one or many girls and guys of your dreams. Outside of Japan, you don’t often find games from this genre, but their elements can be found in various other games that incorporate them into their stories. Some prime examples of this are games like Persona, Stardew Valley, the Witcher or even Cyberpunk 2077. But today we’re taking a look at Cupid Story: First Date, developed and published by Supernova Games and part of the “Cupid Universe” series of games.
ℹ️ Previewed on Cupid Story: First Date | Preview code provided by PR/publisher, this preview is the personal opinion from the writer and is based on an unfinished game.
Cupid, take aim.
In Cupid Story, you play as Noelia, an angel with a broken Halo who doesn’t seem to fit into the angel society. After she was just fired from an angelic fast food restaurant she hears about the Cupid Island project and decides she would like to become a cupid and help humans fall in love. Almost being dismissed immediately due to not being able to use magic because of her broken halo she does get into the program with a sort of entrance test. Make your designated human fall in love within 14 days.
Enter Daniel, the stunningly average boy whose life is going to be turned upside down over the next 14 days. While you play as Noelia, he’ll be somewhat of a pseudo main character for the chapter. He’s described as not particularly strong, intelligent or charismatic right off the bat. This will soon make sense as you’re introduced to Cupid Story’s combat system shortly after. Bobbing up and down and to the funky upbeat track, you enter a turn-based battle that’ll serve as your introduction to the fairly simple combat system. You and your opponent take turns using either guts, logic or charisma to attack each other. There’s some strategy to be found in this system, as you and your enemies have elements they’re more or less resistant to. A bully will be weak to logic-based attacks for example. There are also a number of status effects like hungry or dirty or wounded, which may make you adapt your strategy. Later on in the demo, you’ll get the opportunity to help out during battle as Noelia. This won’t be in the form of attacking or defending as she’s not allowed to interact with the humans directly, but she can use items to aid Daniel and his date in battle.
A day in the life of a Cupid.
Having dipped your toes into combat, the dating sim part of Cupid Story comes into play. As is customary you get to choose what to do during the day, afternoon and evening every day. During these, you can let Daniel spend time with any of his three love interests namely: Anna, your athletic childhood friend; Claire, the beautiful girl you’ve long had a crush on or Beatrice, the socially awkward scientist. By spending time with them you can get to know them better through just talking to them, giving gifts or going on dates. As you might’ve guessed dates are the most potent. They’ll give you lots of Love (points) to level up with said girl. These points serve as both experience points that’ll grant you a skill key upon levelling up and serve as currency for Noelia to spend in Graciels item shop back in heaven. With Graciel you can also buy items the girls might like to receive as gifts for Daniel to give them. How these get from Noelia to Daniel is never explained but they’ll net you a good amount of Love if they like it. And lastly, you can just talk and spend some time together for a little bump in Love. Noelia can also go work a part-time job. At night Noelia does a little breaking and entry, as she can choose to go collect information on the girls by rummaging through their bedroom. Sadly, the information you get out of it is minimal in the demo, but it makes me hopeful later chapters in the full game might make it more worth your while to go and snoop on them. You might even find something you can take with you to give as a gift later on. Whether you should is a rather different story.
Room for improvement.
While this is obviously just a demo, I do have some worries about the amount of content. Aside from Noelia, none of the characters really have any different poses than their default position. In these text-heavy games, varying character sprites for different emotions and situations do a lot to make the dating sims and visual novel-type games alike feel alive. The same can be said for the various locations you visit as daniel. To the same extent are there some locations that could also do with their own background image. The three girls all share a bedroom from the looks of it, despite having the characteristics of each described to you as you visit them. The library, meeting grounds for Beatrice also don’t have a dedicated location sadly. Lastly, while the dates are fun in their own right, either Daniel or Noelia lack much creativity as the event will play out largely the same no matter who you take with you.
All in all, Cupid Story: First Date is a nice enough dating simulator with a simple and fun battle system worked into its core gameplay loop. The story takes off quickly, choosing to forgo unnecessary exposition and let you start playing. With a light-hearted tone, the story is carried by the simple style and well-paired music for every situation. If the character sprites and locations can get some more attention in the full game I’m sure it’ll benefit the full Cupid Story game greatly.
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Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.