Magical Starsign

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Magical Starsign, known in Japan as Magical Vacation: When the Five Planets Align,[a] is a role-playing video game (RPG) developed by Brownie Brown. It is the sequel to Magical Vacation, and the second and final game in the Magical Vacation series. It was first released for the Nintendo DS on June 22, 2006 in Japan.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Main article: Plot summary of Magical Starsign

Magical Starsign takes place vaguely after the events of Magical Vacation, though its plot is not a direct continuation of that game. Madeleine is sent off to search for Master Kale by Principal Biscotti, but goes missing three months later, which causes her students to become worried. After hijacking Will-o'-Wisp Academy's hidden rockets, the group sets out across the Baklava solar system on an adventure far beyond the scope of a rescue mission, across several elemental planets. The party encounters many strange civilizations, putting themselves at odds with pirates and the Space Police along the way.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

This game utilizes a lot of functions of the Nintendo DS hardware, including the touch screen. Players can use the touch screen to navigate the world and interact with the environment, and the top screen is used to display information like the map, time, and planetary orbit.

The game plays like a traditional RPG in most other ways. When starting a new save file, the player can choose their gender (male or female), and their preferred element (light or dark) as well as change their name and the names of other party members. The main character and his/her party navigate through several locations from a top-down perspective, battle randomly encountered enemies, earn experience, and complete quests in a similar fashion to most RPG titles.

Battle System[edit | edit source]

The starsign chart, showing the relationships between affinities.
Main article: Magic in Magical Starsign

The combat system is turn-based, and focuses primarily on the use of magic attacks. All characters are associated with a particular element/planet, and this can influence a battle depending on how a player utilizes their strengths and weaknesses.

The game has several different mechanics that influence combat, including an affinity system, buffs and debuffs, planetary orbit, and rows.

Rows also influence magic. Magic from the back row is weaker, but it can hit all enemies. In addition, melee cannot be used if a character is in the back row, or on a character who is in the back row. The only way a back row enemy can be hit is if they are attacked with magic. Back row buff spells like Minty Freshness and healing spells like Healing Wing will also affect all party members in the same way.

Additionally, there are some other uses for the touch screen in battle. When a member of the player's party is casting, they can be quickly tapped right before executing a spell to perform what is called a spellstrike, and when they are being attacked, they can be quickly tapped to perform a reflex guard.

Astrolog[edit | edit source]

The astrolog, showing the orbit of the game's planets.

The planetary orbit system, also known as the astrolog, is also a key feature. When a planet is in their line of orbit, every character of that element is powered up until the planet exits that area. Light magic is more powerful during the day, and dark magic is more powerful at night.

Each planet has a different orbit, going slower or faster depending on how far they are from the sun. The planets and day/night cycle out in real time, so it can be important to plan battles at specific times to ensure an advantage. The player can view the astrolog at any time in and out of battle.

The alignment of planets from furthest to closest to the sun are as follows: Erd, Cassia, Puffoon, Gren, and Razen. In the middle is the sun, which enters an active or inactive state depending on the time. The player can also try and align the five planets in a straight line from the sun to unleash a very powerful spell. The AI can also try and do this if they see the alignment as well.

Amigo Mode[edit | edit source]

Main article: Amigo Mode

If the player wants to take a break from the main storyline and have some fun with another person(s) who owns the game, they can activate the local multiplayer mode known as Amigo Mode. This feature is local only, and does not take advantage of the Nintendo WiFi Connection service.

Participants of Amigo Mode (up to six) can explore a dungeon where they work together to defeat monsters and rush to collect as much treasure as possible. When time is over, the player with the most points wins. EXP and treasure collected in this game mode is transferred over to the main game, and many items found here are unobtainable otherwise.

Tag Mode[edit | edit source]

Main article: Tag Mode

In Tag Mode, players connect via local connection to exchange player data and items. Up to 100 people can be recorded on a player's list, and items collected via this mode can vary depending on progress in the main game, and the protagonist's element. In addition, players who use the tag mode function frequently will often receive Egg Characters, special characters that can join your party in the main game and battle with you. These characters only level through tag mode and do not gain experience like other characters. The player can swap out members of their party at any time after successfully visiting the incubation room in Neumann, after your egg character has hatched.

Development[edit | edit source]

Expand Icon.png This section is incomplete and requires expansion.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Following the release of Magical Vacation, Brownie Brown began work on a sequel. The team wanted to create a battle system that was less complex than that of the first game, in order to allow the game to appeal to as many players as possible. This made the game significantly easier than its predecessor, but the team intended for the abundance of optional dungeons to maintain the interest of more devoted players. In developing specifically for the Nintendo DS hardware, the use of the top screen to display game information while reserving the bottom touch screen for player control was chosen, as the team believed this configuration to be intuitive and useful to the player. As a result of this design choice, the team noticed in playtesting sessions during development that the player would spend too much time looking at the bottom screen, which led them to integrate more animations on the top screen to better balance the player's attention.[1] The game's single-player mode was intended to be completed in roughly 20-30 hours.[2]

Plot[edit | edit source]

The original story of Magical Starsign was drafted by Nobuyuki Inoue, who sought to create a story that was only lightly connected to the events of Magical Vacation. During development, the story was amended by members of the development team to diversify the encounters of the party.[2]

Design[edit | edit source]

Whereas the first game's artwork was created by Shinichi Kameoka, Magical Starsign's art design was instead headed by Koji Tsuda. As the technical specifications of the Nintendo DS were greater than those of the Game Boy Advance, the team was able to use a broader color palette than they could when developing Magical Vacation and Sword of Mana, though much of the design philosophy for those games carried over, as they also used 2D sprite artwork.[2] The team never intended to use 3D models during development, with Kameoka believing that sprites better captured the details of the original artistry;[1] 3D animated cutscenes would be used sparsely throughout the final game.

Music[edit | edit source]

Magical Vacation composer Tsukasa Masuko returned to compose for the sequel. When writing the game's music, he found that it was very easy to work with the Nintendo DS given its lighter limitations in comparison to the Game Boy Advance, though he also found it more time-consuming as a result.[2]

Localization[edit | edit source]

When localizing the game for the North American audience, the team found that there were few significant changes to be made.[2] Still, some character and location names were changed between regions, such as Lassi, who is named Jasmine in Japan, and Cassia, which is called Rigu Maha. Voice samples containing spoken words in Japanese were mostly removed from international versions of the game.

Prior to the international title of Magical Starsign being chosen, the game was referred to in English by the name of its predecessor, Magical Vacation.[3] When discussing the game's localized title, Inoue stated his belief that it represents destiny as symbolized in the stars, referring to the concept of astrology.[1]

Reception[edit | edit source]

Magical Starsign received positive to mixed reviews from critics. The game scored an average of 69% on MetaCritic based on 26 reviews. Conversely, the user score is generally favorable, scoring 8.1 based on 20 ratings.[4] IGN gave the game a 7.5/10, giving praise for its nostalgic feel and classic RPG style.[5] Eurogamer gave the game an 8/10, calling it a "fortuitous alignment of DS and RPG."[6] Magical Starsign would go on to sell around 40, 000 units in Japan,[7] 140, 000 in North America, and 20, 000 in Europe,[8] for an approximate total of 210, 000 units.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Characters from Magical Starsign appear in the Super Smash Bros. series. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mokka, a Traveling Putty, and a Pyrite appear as trophies. Additionally, the male protagonist, Mokka, a Traveling Putty, an HP Pot, and a Sparrow appear as stickers.[9] In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mokka returns as a spirit.[10]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]


E3 2006 Trailer


Gameplay Trailer (Japanese)


Commercial (Japanese)

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Japanese: マジカルバケーション 5つの星がならぶとき, Hepburn: Majikaru Bakēshon Itsutsu no Hoshi ga Narabu Toki

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]


Characters
Party ProtagonistLassiMokkaChaiPicoSorbet
Egg characters NoggKirTom YamFondueGelatoStarPooka
Characters MadeleineBiscottiKaleRobot D12SPizzaGorgonzolaMinister MunsterCaldarrosteChardBeignetParfaitMacadameusPourriMugwortBriocheCressonTwigadamusSemolinaFarinaDurumGamelanPersimmonCeladonElder KettleTerra CottaRogan JoshMudflapGrenadineSturgeonDemarEmerald CoreApplepieMuzzleflashTektosShallotSuspiroKnucklestormFowlerCarbon
Locations
Kovomaka Will-o'-Wisp Academy
Erd Quiet PlateauKahve RuinsGumbo GaolPeatmossAnt HoleGorgonzola's Hole-aWhere the Stars SleepRio VillaShips' GraveyardUponisbakPath of Five OrgansPlateau of the Giant
Cassia Tangerine BeachPescatoMandarin BeachLover's CoveDragon BeachGreat Dragon RoadNata de Coco DoorGranule IslandAmbergris Preparatory SchoolHoly Water Pyramid
Puffoon SpaceportBena Rikashi?????Quinoa PlainHoney MintCouscous Ruins
Gren Carbonara JungleTropica VillageSalamander CaveAssamHoly Tree Yggsalad
Razen Jalapeno WastelandPaellaPoblano CaveUlupica BasinWorld SeamShishkebab CavernCapsicum CavernsMacaroonCondimen Tower
Nova Sugarleaf PlainsSparklin PalaceKing's RoadPhunnel PitStarwayGlissini Caves
Shadra Cocoabutter ValleyChocomilk CavesChromagar Cave
Other Baklava solar systemNeumann
Gameplay
Battle Magic (Fire | Wood | Wind | Earth | Water | Light | Dark) - Items - Status Effects - Level and Experience - Guard - Rows - Critical Hit - Game Over
Magical Navigator Maps - Eggs - Bestiary - Encyclopedia - Diary - Amigo list
Development
Corporate Nintendo - 1-UP Studio
Staff
Other Media
Guidebooks Magical Vacation: When the Five Planets Align - Nintendo Official Guidebook