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Magic Starsign, released in October 2006 in North America, is a game that sports a very ugly box. Let's face it, many of us probably passed over this gem simply because the box art is very unappealing. That being said, if you can get over the box art and get to chocolately centre, you'll be treated to a quirky little RPG world that literally sports the aforementioned dark crispy core.

Thrust into a world with characters named after tasty treats, players embark on a journey to save their beautiful professor, Miss Madeline, who has been kidnapped from Will-O-Wisp Academy of Magic on the planet of Kovomaka. President Biscotti informs the students that a graduate of the academy, Master Kale, is plotting to destroy the solar system, and it is up to six lowly students to travel the galaxy to save Madeline and stop Kale's ruthless plot.

What I adore about Magical Starsign is its overall charm. Each planet is named after sweets, and each area has a distinctive atmosphere full of colour and creamy layers. Food (especially dessert) is a major theme of the design and story, infusing the dialogue with plays-on-words and puns. It's also hard not to love your party members, who are chock full of personality and insanity. Players can choose from a male or female main character, which determines who the main love interest will be. Playing as a male nets you the affection of Lassi, while females will be courted by the sugary sweet robot, Mokka.

Since this is an early Nintendo DS game, touch controls are a must in order to play it. While I am generally not a fan of touch controls, Magical Starsign does a great job implementing them. When the planets align in combat, it determines how much damage can be dealt and received. Each character has a planet that they are aligned to, while tapping on characters will boost their power. You can also tap on a character before they are hit to reduce the damage they take, and also use "Spell Strikes" as a means to destroy enemies. While the touch controls are used for just about everything, it never feels cumbersome in any way. The combat is fresh and always rewarding to those who have the patience.

Magical Starsign is a forgotten gem that deserves a bit more recognition than it receives. Those who are willing to take the voyage to cotton candy outer space will be treated, you'll be treated to an adventure full of fun, craziness and whipped cream. While I will not spoil the plot, the vanilla-chocolate twist is surprisingly dark and uncomfortable for a game that presents itself as being pixie stick sweet. This game is so cute that it will give you diabetes, which may be bad in the long run, but dammit, how can one reject the charms of a cuddly little robot who wants nothing more than to feel the power of love? This alone makes Magical Starsign a tootsie roll worth licking.

Sam Marchello

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