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  • Writer's pictureAntal Bokor

Princess Peach Showtime! Is a Delightful Showcase for a Beloved Character

Screenshot: Princess Peach: Showtime!

I’m a sucker for Nintendo games, so when I saw Princess Peach: Showtime! pop up during during a Nintendo Direct, I knew that I’d play it. Coming off the heels of the Barbie movie and more “girl” centered content, Princess Peach: Showtime! is another example of great timing from Nintendo. And it turns out it’s a pretty fun game, too.

Princess Peach: Showtime! is an action adventure game with some puzzle elements starring Nintendo royalty Princess Peach (or Princess Toadstool if you want to be real old school). This isn’t the first game where you can take control of the princess, but it’s the first modern game that stars her entirely. While this isn’t strictly a Nintendo game–it’s developed by good-feel, who is also responsible for the Yoshi yarn series–it has a lot of that Nintendo game magic. Strangely, it doesn’t feel as tight or as fast as a mainline developed Nintendo games.

Screenshot: Princess Peach: Showtime!

It’s great taking control of Peach. Sadly, she doesn’t have her signature glide when she jumps – but Showtime! isn’t really about platforming anyhow. It’s about taking up arms against your enemies. This time she’s run into a fairy creature called Stella that urges her towards murder. Now, I don't want to get into Stella’s murderous influence too much, because Peach herself seems to take naturally to wielding arms as easily as she can decorate a cake. But she’s not completely helpless in her “vanilla” princess peach form, either. She can use Stella to imbue sparkle energy to energize theatre denizens (called Theets) into action.

Peach takes stage as multiple different characters. She has to fulfill the roles of the Sparklas that have been taken by Madame Grape. She wields a sword, acts as a stealthy ninja, decorates cakes, is a singing mermaid–and more. In all there are ten different roles Peach takes on through most of the main game. You play each of these forms multiple times, as each has at least three stages to play with varied gameplay between them. 

Screenshot: Princess Peach: Showtime!

 While playing as these different versions of Princess Peach is fun, there’s something that is a little bit off about it. It doesn’t feel quite as tight as a mainline Nintendo game. Even so, it’s competently done and quite fun. And if you’re wondering that just because it’s a Princess Peach game that they go easy on the challenge: it doesn’t. Princess Peach: Showtime! gets progressively more difficult as you go through the main story, but is never too punishing. However, if you want to collect all of the optional stars it gets a little harder.

Each level has a number of stars you can collect. You get these stars by either finding them where they’re hidden, or earning them through doing well during gameplay segments. Sometimes the bar for getting a star can be pretty high– for example, making one wrong move in the figure skating section can invalidate the entire performance and remove the precious star from your endgame performance.

You can even lose hearts if you do poorly, too. If you run out of hearts you have to start the level over or from a checkpoint, losing coins in the process. Coins are used to purchase new dresses for Peach and ribbons for Stella, which makes it a bummer to lose them–but the penalty is never terrible.

You also earn new dresses as you progress through the game–and the dresses you earn are often cooler  than the ones you can buy. Ultimately, I wish there were more collectibles–especially more fashion choices to deck out Peach and Stella. Peach does play quite a bit of dress-up anyhow though, as each role demands an appropriate outfit.

My biggest disappointment was the lack of variety in gameplay. Over half of Peach’s abilities are combat related – and even though these are different enough to keep them interesting, they’re all pretty button-mashy. Only the ninja requires more thoughtful gameplay, and even then it's easy to get around stealthily to dispatch your foes. I just wish there more puzzle-based modes. And I’d love an entire game that was based around the detective mode.

I really liked my time with Princess Peach: Showtime! Peach deserves her own series of games, and I'm hoping this might be the first of many. Not only is she adorable, but Peach can kick some ass, too. I would have liked a few more non-combat forms, but overall there is a decent variety to its gameplay. As someone who grew up playing as Mario, finally playing as Peach in her own AAA game feels great.



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