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3.9 out of 5 stars
Magical Starsign - Nintendo DS
Price:$7.49 + $7.99shipping
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2008
This is a great game, but it's a game that one can easily overlook. I've encountered this game in stores several times. Most of those times, I walked away from it; because it certainly doesn't look like anything interesting on the cover. I received this game a few of days ago. My mother and I were at a Toys R Us store, so that I could receive Darkrai for my "Pokemon Diamond" and "Pokemon Pearl" games. While we were there, a sales clerk gave us a five dollar off coupon for any other Nintendo DS game. It would only last the day we were there, so mother and I looked at the DS games. I picked out the "Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Travelers of Darkness", a game I've been meaning to get my hands on (I haven't played it yet so I can't comment on it's quality). The store was out of the "Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Travelers of Time" game, however, so we feared that it may be out of the one I picked too (it wasn't the actual game, but an empty box that we picked out to take to the front desk). So, mother sent me to pick out another game in case they were out. "Magical Starsign" only popped out at me then, because it looked better than everything else on the market (which wasn't much). I was reluctant to have my mother buy it thinking it would waste her money; but when she saw it was only around fifteen bucks, she jumped at the chance to purchase it for me. After all, it's not unusual that DS games go for thirty, forty, or even fifty bucks. However, even though the price wasn't ridiculous, it made me pessimistic; normally, stores only sell games at those kind of prices as a desperate attempt to get rid of them. Well, it's no use having the game if you're not going to play it, so I took it for a spin. Here's what I found:

The Good:

1. Great characters with slight customization features. Choose to play as a boy or a girl, and select your sign light (normal difficulty with healing capabilities) or dark (hard difficulty with the ability to steal strength from your foes). Then, you become aware of the five other main characters. Who start off being Lassi, Mokka, Chai, Pico, and Sorbet; but you can change their names! I named mine Windy, Coffee, Blitz, Spyro, and Charity respectively. To avoid confusion, I'll describe them using the names given in the manual: Lassi is a rabbit with an "insatiable curiosity" who controls the wind element. Mokka is a robot that controls the earth element. Chai is the only child of a lizard family, and he controls the wood element. Pico is the "coolest hot-blooded male you'll ever meet" and he controls the fire element. Sorbet is a girl who always thinks she can do better, and controls the water element. These colorful but different personalities complement and contrast each other in the storyline.

2. The game has a good storyline. Sure, it's the old storyline of ____ goes missing and _____ has to rescue him/her; but it's the way it's performed that makes it masterful. You, Lassi, Mokka, Chai, Pico, and Sorbet are students, along with a bunch of nobodys, in a school known as Will-O-Wisp Academy. Miss Madeleine is your teacher, who is always running late. One day, Principal Biscotti asks Madeleine to perform a dangerous mission (stop a former student known as Kale from doing evil) on the planet of Puffoon. Everyone, including you, overhears this conversation, and gather around Miss Madeleine in stress; she comforts you and says it will be fine. Later, she calls you to the meditation room (I think that's what it was called) and decides to teach y'all how to defend yourselves, because "she has a feeling." This is where you learn the basics of the game. After that, she leaves the academy and disappears for three months. Then, Lassi goes missing; everyone else talks about a prank the seniors played about a rocket being in the back room. Everyone suspects that, since Madeleine is gone, Lassi went to go look for a rocket to find her. Everyone splits up and searches; Mokka decides to team up with you, in order to prevent you from doing anything "foolish." This is all I will reveal, but the story gets really good from here out.

3. Fun controls. It looks complicated at first, but Madeleine goes over the lessons thoroughly with you. In addition, there are a couple of commands you may never use (I'm referring to the repeat command). The only thing that Madeleine doesn't cover, but a radish later will, is if you tap a character at the right time when performing a spell, you get a power boost. This is a cool thing to see. Similarly, tap a character right before an attack to activate reflex guard, which reduces damage. This works especially well if you activate it during a normal guard.

4. Beautiful graphics. Somehow, among all it's cartoonish designs, the background is realistic. It sucks you in as if you are actually there.

5. Good comedy. It's basic and you have to listen carefully, but it's good. You can tell a certain designer has a dry wit. Probably the funniest, and most groan inducing, joke is the ongoing pun with Mokka. Think about it: he was built by Principal Biscotti, with parts from the Cappuccino civilization. I'm dead serious. Eek!

6. Great music. The melodies really hypnotize you, match the situations perfectly, and really enhance gameplay.

7. There is strategy involved. With each element, there's a planet and a special area it corresponds to. Get the planet in it's special zone, and allies and enemies alike, who share that element, get a big power boost. As the main character, your power relies on the time of the game's day (days rotate faster than in real life). If you choose to wield light magic, you need to fight during the day; with dark magic, you need to fight at night. Staying at various inns, for a price, can help you control the period of the day, if it's worth the money to you. Incorporating these strategies can create maximum effectiveness and simplicity, but at the same time it's not essential for winning or enjoying the game.

Conclusion:
There isn't much, if anything, that's negative in this game. Some parts players might find repetitious, but I find it an absolute delight. I don't know how it's like for multiplayer, but it's an almost perfect single player game. I recommend it and for all ages who play Nintendo DS.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2007
I just finished Magical Starsign and it was really a joy to play. I logged in 36 hours and I haven't played the multiplayer yet either. The last RPG I've played to end was FF7, and while this one didn't come close to its emotional depth, I thought the play was pretty similar and the fights followed the same pattern. It took me a while to really understand the role of the elements, but that might just be me being a dummy. The only detraction I could think of is the cuteness, some guys might feel a little girly playing a game with sugarstars and gummy worms. I thought it was adorable though (but I am a girl, so that might be why). I would recommend this game to anyone and everyone, if you can get past the cute factor it's a really good RPG to get into!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2010
I got this game with no expectations for it. So it came as a pleasant surprise to find out how much fun it is.

Pros:

- The story has a lot of comic relief while incorporating some darker
themes as the game progresses

- Excellent touch screen controls. Everything from combat to shopping
controls fluidly even though you are using the touch screen. This is
literally the meter stick that I compare other DS games to in terms of
their use of the touch screen.

- All of the character's unique magics serve some genuinely useful
purpose outside of combat, unlike most of the HM moves in Pokémon.
Also, unlike the HM moves in Pokémon, you can use these abilities as
soon as you unlock the characters

- Combat is turn based. However, you can strengthen the magic attacks
and increase a character's defense by tapping with good timing, which
makes combat surprisingly interactive.

- For each of their turns, your characters will regain some of their
MP. Eventually, your characters will regain enough of their MP per
turn that they can continuously spam your enemies with their lower
level magic attacks. This is surprisingly satisfying. However, the
game designers built the game on the assumption that you would do
this. So most of the enemies either have enough HP that this tactic is
required for beating them or are resistant to magic (in which case you
punch them!).

- Some boss fights are insanely difficult, even when you have a type
advantage

- There is an in battle help system that will tell you what everything
does.

- There is an in battle icon that will show you what all the type
advantages and disadvantages are

- It took me 29 hours to get to the final boss, which is excellent for
a hand held console

Cons:

- All the main characters are kids/young adults. At the beginning, the
characters are very childish. As the story progresses, however, the
characters mature and become more tolerable.

- The puzzles are way too easy. Usually it is pretty obvious what
element you have to use to solve a puzzle. And as per usual for RPGs,
all of the puzzles will revolve around the character you just
unlocked. Later on in the game, it requires you to use most of the
characters, but the wood guy is rarely ever used to solve puzzles.

- The flashes that occur during combat may cause eye strain.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
after everything that has said.

I got a lot of enjoyment and fun out of Magical Starsign and while the character design might not be for some. I didnt really find myself focusing on that. I was actually getting it to the characters and all that they were going through even though one of my pet peeves about leads in video games seems to be repeated here...no voice at all. He(she) the head guy in this thing you should hear more from them and about them...like what they are going through and what not as the adventure progresses.

But again it's not enough to keep me from enjoying the game. Where you basically start off as a student at this magical school and are waiting for class. When your teacher says that she needs to tell/show you a few things about magic casting and what not. As she promptly has to go on this very long trip and may not come back from it. This happens the students go on and the teacher doesnt come back from the trip. So they decide to "borrow" these rockets that are all over the school...i have no idea why. But we'll leave it at that.

They all go their seperate ways as the lead character and one of the female characters are able to activate this gate and get access to one of the hidden rockets and take off in search of their teacher. The other students unaware at the time do the same and end up different planets throughout the planetary system. You run across and recruit them back into your party while running down the story of what happened to your teacher and more actually interesting back stories on why she left in the first place eventually come to light.

The battle system is easy to use with the stylus and the menu can be accessed this way also. Magic is big in the game of course. You learn new spells both offensive and defensive throughout the game the come in very handy. You are also able to format your party in different lines..so your more powerful (higher hit point) characters will be in the front able to fight and use magic on a single enemy. While people in the middle can't fight but can use magic to affect enemies all at once and the same for the back row. Which i used for the characters with the least amount of hit points to not take too much damage (still happens sometimes).

The game has a very satisfying ending and i won't tell it or anything. But it's a nice send off to a game that for less than 20 dollars will occupy a good deal of your time as you from planet to planet (7 or 8) i believe.

Its a great game and can be played by people of all ages and is easily accessible and fun to boot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2008
If you are looking to be blown away by graphics, don't buy this game. Even though the game play is solid, the graphics really are horrible. Since I don't give a hoot about graphics, that doesn't bother me a bit. This game was entertaining and has a good bit of humor too! The front of the box does look a little cutesy, but don't let that deter you from purchasing this game. I spent $30 on it at GameStop and was a little disappointed to see that is was over $10 cheaper on Amazon, but I still don't feel ripped off. It starts off a tad bit too easy, but trust me. It gets harder as you progress through the game. All in all, a good solid RPG.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
With the flood of RPG's for the DS, it takes quite a bit to stand out from the pack. Magical Starsign manages to accomplish this by providing some enjoyable features with tried and true RPG gameplay to provide for some solid RPG action. The first thing you'll notice is that the game's story isn't without it's share of lunacy and colorful characters, which are reason enough alone to check out Magical Starsign. The overly cuteness of it all makes it easy for the game to appeal to children and even to hardcore RPG gamers, as you use the touch screen to help you explore various planets, which works well. What really hurts Magical Starsign though comes down to the game's basic elements. The random battles can become annoying, and the game's battle system doesn't have much in terms of depth to it at all either. The quest itself is at a decent length despite the small worlds, and the multiplayer and Wi-Fi options are a nice touch as well. The overly cute look of Magical Starsign may be a turn off for some, but there is some solid RPG gameplay to be found here regardless, even though it is easy to become bored with it. That aside, Magical Starsign is an overall solid RPG for the DS that is still definitely worth checking out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2009
Magical Starsign begins a little slowly, but soon picks up speed. Within 5-10 minutes the character is on a strange planet, fighting monsters with magic. Most of the enemies are original and thoughtful. There are more than 10 types of monster in each area, adding diversity.

The level designs were thoughtful, and not too long. There are always extra chests or items to find in each area. However, if you don't remember your mission, it can take hours to get through simple levels.

All the characters were thought out, and battles are fun and challenging. Boss battles are intense, and are very long. However, there is more stategy in the boss battles than in regular ones.

My only critique is that there is no replay value for the game, although there are 30-40 hours of gameplay, so it shouldn't bother you that much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2012
Verified Purchase
There's nothing wrong with the game. but it's so middle of the road. The graphics are nice, but the character designs are atrocious. There's some fmv scenes thrown in, but they're so grainy. It's like watching a scene from a PS1 game. It plays ok, but there wasn't much in terms of gameplay and story to keep me interested. I can see why Nintendo never offered a sequel. Not bad, but not memorable either.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2014
Verified Purchase
The party formation and planet mechanics are pretty neat, but the music and graphics are subpar, the controls are clunky and counterintuitive, and the combat is very slow since the animations are unnecessarily long and drawn out.
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on August 5, 2008
Yes, I sold my copy but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy this game because I did! The characters were all different and colorful. The story wasn't too bad and the different planets were cool.

Don't think this game was a piece of cake though because after a while it wasn't. I got confused and tripped up a few times and I almost finished it. I had everyone, the water girl joining last, and I didn't know where to go or what to do so I quit.

Using the DS's lower screen with the little stick to go through menus was fun for a while. The graphics weren't bad but could've been a little better. Controls were easy enough to manage.

3.8 stars.
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