Holy Paladin Cynthia offers a tale older than time. That of a young knight, looking to prove their mettle for Lord and Country. But things aren’t as they seem in Heliotrope, and the titular Cynthia must learn not only the sword, but how to polish them. Many of them. Like, an obscene amount. Developed by Acerola in 2015, and published in English by Shiravune in late 2022, this erotic RPG title offers classic RPG gameplay coupled with a heavy hand of hentai.
Nothing Left Holy
Don’t be fooled (in case you couldn’t tell already), this game is a nukige. And Acerola pulls few punches, with a wide breadth of fetishes, positions, and angles covered. Cynthia, our titular Holy Paladin, is featured in a majority of them, and players control how much and how often she engages in sexual hijinks.
H-scenes are controlled by a few factors: lust and raunchiness stats are the main ones, raised by sexual activities, battles, or items. Cynthia is also able to “beg” male NPCs to engage in H-scenes, and after a certain raunchiness value is reached, that command changes to “prostitution,” where Cynthia becomes able to earn gold for her services. Other scenes are locked by outfit, and some scenes are forced. But with high enough lust and raunchiness, just about anything is game for Cynthia.
You can also unlock H-scenes by losing battles, which can be forced with the convenient zero-cost “Give Up” skill. Some such scenes feature bestiality, one fetish among many others featured in the game such as voyeurism, SM, and rape.
I did quite enjoy the art, generally speaking. The CGs are mostly overlaid over the game map during H-scenes, which works pretty well. My only technical issue with the H-scenes is that I couldn’t find a ‘hide text box’ option to unblock the view at times. And although some CGs didn’t tickle my fancy as much as others, with such a wide variety, I could rely on something titillating showing up sooner rather than later.
Do note: if purchased on Steam, users must download the 18+ restoration patch from Johren, and install the files into the game’s Steam folder to access H-content. The patch itself is free, but users do have to make an account to download it. Also to note, the game is mosaic censored, and as the publisher Shiravune is based in Tokyo, a decensor patch is extremely unlikely.
Don’t Forget the RPG!
Of course, Holy Paladin Cynthia is an RPG, and as such there are various objectives and quests players can complete to explore the world and become stronger. One such feature of Holy Paladin Cynthia, and other Acerola games, is spunk collection. Yes, Cynthia becomes stronger by collecting cum. This is certainly an additional incentive to unlock as many H-scenes as possible! The player enjoys an H-scene, and Cynthia enjoys some additional spunk for her collection, which can then be used to upgrade quite a number of things: armor, skills, and stats, among others.
Overall, the game plays very much like many other RPG engine games. You have your stats, spells, equipment, and treasure chests out in dungeons. And while Cynthia is the only playable party member, her various outfits allow for a small, if not fleeting feeling of playing different classes as well.
Quests, marked by lightbulb icons above NPCs, can often, but not always, unlock unique H-scenes for Cynthia. Some of these even unlock H-scenes for other NPC characters with portraits, adding to the visual variety of the game’s CG set.
As for difficulty, the game is undeniably easy. Battles are not challenging, but Cynthia can run out of mana in longer dungeons if left with her base stats. The biggest difference in difficulty is whether or not players come with a heaping helping of horny. With more spunk making a stronger Cynthia, horny players have a huge advantage, turning the game’s difficulty from ‘pretty easy,’ to ‘head empty.’ Not necessarily a bad thing, if you catch my drift!
If you’ve played ero-RPGs before, you might notice a familiar formula, as Acerola has had a number of their other games translated as well, though by Kagura Games rather than Shiravune. Having played Treasure Hunter Claire (2017) and Brave Alchemist Collette (2019) myself, it was absolutely interesting seeing the progression from this game to the next.
One of my favorite features of Acerola games is seeing familiar heroines in various outfits, and Cynthia is no exception. She has nine different outfits that add some spice and variance to H-scenes already viewed. Additionally, certain quests can require certain outfits, with the reward usually being a unique H-scene with that outfit. And even outside of H-scenes, NPCs will often have different dialogue depending on the outfit worn, which for me, really added a nice quality to the world-building.
What’s clear to me after playing three games by them is that Acerola has a winning formula: attractive heroines, a wide variety of CGs and outfits, and just enough RPG intrigue to make life outside of H-scenes, dare I say, enjoyable?
Bugs and Translation Issues
Unfortunately, in its current state, there are numerous issues with the translation, typos, and a large bug that prevents players from accessing a number of H-scenes organically in-game.
Regarding typos, throughout the game, there were pockets of mixed katakana/English dummy text: in stores, in battles, and occasionally in dialogue boxes. These are not hidden away or difficult to find either. I found examples of these as early as the first town and dungeon, and I continued seeing them throughout the game. Some dialogue strings clip outside of the dialogue box, cutting off words and sentences, and leaving players to fill in the blank themselves. Additionally, the stat upgrade screen has been left entirely untranslated!
While I didn’t experience any crashes that some folks on the Steam Community forums mentioned, I was disappointed to find that the “Raunchy Refusal” skill is completely non-functional in this release. This skill is the key to unlocking H-scenes from the portraited NPCs in this game, and since it doesn’t work save for a tutorial scene, players aren’t able to access a number of scenes until beating the game, and even then, can only access them through the CG gallery. Considering this in addition to the numerous other typos and odd word choices that I haven’t mentioned, it adds up to this release feeling rushed.
I’d buy this on sale in its current state. Even with all the bugs and issues, I had a great time, but would not be pleased to pay full price. However, provided bugs, typos, and missing translations are fixed, this is a 7/10 game. I had a terrific time with it, but it’s a shame that there are so many issues in the game’s current state. If you are hankering for a nukige, find yourself fancying the art, and don’t mind some serious scuff around the edges, you’ll find yourself with a gem.
WAIT FOR SALE ON HOLY PALADIN CYNTHIA
Many thanks go to Shiravune for a PC review code for this title.
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A self-professed ero researcher for as long as he could access the internet, Mac is always on the search for the next great ero-mangaka on Pixiv, Twitter, and Skeb. Catch his R18 Twitter likes and ‘research’ @erohonscholar