Princess Peach: Showtime! Review – Peach Takes Centre Stage

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Thomas Richards
| April 10, 2024
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It seems like a lot of the characters in the Mario franchise are getting their own games for the Nintendo Switch. Luigi has Luigi’s Mansion 3, Wario has WarioWare, and even Toad has Captain Toad Treasure Tracker. And now, we can add Princess Peach to that ever-growing list with Princess Peach: Showtime! This Nintendo Switch outing is the second time Princess Peach has had her own game, with 2D platformer Super Princess Peach on the Nintendo DS being her solo debut. Princess Peach: Showtime! ditches the traditional platformer gameplay and instead opts to give the player a variety of outfits with unique abilities to play with. But does this new style of gameplay warrant your attention? Does the game look good and run well on the Switch? Is the story unique or a retread of other Mario games? It’s time to answer those questions and more, so let’s dive in.

A Trip to the Theatre

No one tells Peach what to do! (Nintendo)

Princess Peach: Showtime! tells the story of Princess Peach and some Toads taking a trip to the Sparkle Theatre. Everyone is excited to experience this attraction, but they don’t get the chance. Soon after arriving, a sorceress named Grape and her Sour Bunch take over the theatre and trap visitors inside, kidnapping the stars of each play. Peach is trapped inside, with the Toads and her crown blown outside. Peach then meets the guardian of the theatre, Stella. The two join forces to defeat Grape and the Sour Bunch and free everyone trapped inside.

I wasn’t expecting much in terms of story for this game. Most Mario game stories are ok at the best of times and are never really the focus. So I was surprised when the story in this game was more prevalent compared to previous Mario games. From the get-go, the game introduces the stakes and reasons why we should play through all five theatre floors (besides just for funsies). I also like how Grape shows up to taunt you as you clear more and more levels. It isn’t much, but it’s a nice touch. The levels also have their own mini-stories, with each play having three levels attached to it. This is also where the special outfits for Peach come into play.

Dress to Impress

Picture of stealth. (Nintendo)

Princess Peach: Showtime! takes place entirely within the five floors (and basement) of the Sparkle Theatre. Each floor has four stages (or plays) that you have to complete before you can face the boss and free the floor from Grapes control. In each one of the stages, Peach will have access to different costumes that give her unique powers and skills, such as becoming proficient with swords, being a master ninja, or even a baker. These outfits are only available in the specific plays they’re introduced in, which left me a little disappointed. I was looking forward to being a ninja while baking a cake. Each stage is set up so that you have to use a specific outfit, so I understand why we can’t just switch outfits whenever, but it would’ve made these stages way more repayable.

There are 30 stages in the game, three for each outfit. Each stage follows the same structure: starting on the far left and moving right until you reach the end. That’s a very simplified explanation, as some stages spice it up a little, but most follow this format. In these stages, you have full control of Peach and can jump with A and attack with B. This control scheme is the same for all the outfits as well, with the only difference being what the B button does. I wasn’t annoyed with that, though, because it allowed me to just have fun with the game.

What I didn’t find fun was being unable to go back to previous areas in a stage after you move forward. This made getting the collectibles in each stage a tad annoying, as there aren’t any checkpoints either. So if you miss one thing, you have to restart the whole stage again. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it did get annoying when I was only missing one thing. It’s a good thing that the game is good to look at; otherwise, I would’ve gotten bored very quickly.

Hitting its Marks

I’m sure everything will be fine. (Nintendo)

The game looks great, and each area has a whimsical look and feel. The theatre reminded me a lot of the start of Luigi’s Mansion 3 (before the ghosts take over). Seeing each floor become brighter as you clear stages and defeat bosses was neat, and I also appreciated the eerie vibe of the basement. The character models all look great, with expressive faces and movements that add to the game’s charm. The stages are also diverse, which keeps things fresh through your playthrough. There’s everything from a medieval castle to an alien assault on a city and even a trip under the sea. There’s also never more than one stage for each outfit per floor, helping each floor feel fresh. The soundtrack is nothing outstanding, but it fits the game’s tone. The boss music, in particular, makes the fights seem a bit more epic (or as epic as bosses who die in three hits can be).

On the performance side of things, the game runs relatively well during gameplay. The game runs smoothly in both handheld and docked mode with little to no stuttering. Weirdly enough, though, the loading screens and some of the early cutscenes stutter a bit. I don’t know why they do, but it did get me a bit worried about the performance of the game. But seeing as that obviously wasn’t the case, there was no need to be worried. Still, I hope they can fix the cutscene stuttering, at least in a future patch.

Super Hero landings are hard on your knees. (Nintendo)

Princess Peach: Showtime! is a fun enough time if you want a chill game to relax with. The game isn’t overly difficult and doesn’t require much from the player in terms of dexterous fingers. The game looks and runs great and is sure to be enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s unfortunate, then, that the lack of replayability, inability to backtrack for collectibles, and simple controls prevent this game from becoming something amazing. If you’re a fan of Princess Peach or chill games, I’d say give this one a shot; you’ll have fun with it.

Have you played Princess Peach: Showtime!? What did you think? What was your favourite outfit? Let us know in the comments below where we can talk all things Peach.

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