Princess Peach Showtime! (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 01.04.2024

Review for Princess Peach Showtime! on Nintendo Switch

Princess Peach spent a lot of her gaming life in the hands of Bowser as a kidnap-ee, only coming forward as a protagonist in her DS adventure Super Princess Peach. This generally well-received but perhaps ill conceived emotional adventure was a good time but it was released a long time ago, and since then Princess Peach has gone through a few changes, including being completely playable in games such as Mario Wonder. Finally though, Nintendo has whipped up a tasty new adventure for Peach in Princess Peach Showtime!, this time focusing on a fantastical theatrical setting. Can Peach's acting chops be showstopping?

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Roll up, roll up! Join Princess Peach and her Toad entourage as they head out to the Sparkle Theatre, having seen it advertised in a flyer. Arriving at the theatre all seems well but once Peach reaches the lobby the curtain rises on a show-stealing act perpetrated by the sinister Grape and her Sour Bunch. Here, players find themselves trapped in the theatre and Peach agrees to help out by saving each performance. She meets the friendly theatre mascot Stella who helps her save the actors for each play across the adventure. This is really as much as the story can be explained without spoilers. It's a fun setup and has enough happening to keep players invested. Peach is a thoroughly interesting character here, always willing to push through and volunteer herself to find solutions. She's by far the most interesting Peach in a video game so far.

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Each level of the game takes place in one of the plays that the theatre hosts and each of these offers Peach a different gameplay style. This means there is a lot of variety on show in the game, most of which is very interesting. Structurally, each play has around 3 acts and a final boss, meaning each costume and power set has a bit of breathing room. These acts are split into 4 levels per floor with each floor having different sets of acts and never the same theme twice per floor. Basically, in a less complicated way, each floor has 4 levels and each level has a different theme. As the game progresses each floor of the theatre goes from darkness to light and, once completed, the next floor up becomes available. This helps keep progression clear and obvious.

Screenshot for Princess Peach Showtime! on Nintendo Switch

A few examples of the themes include Swordfighter, Ninja, Baker and Detective; there is a huge amount of variety on show here! Each theme has a totally different visual design, though all feature theatre style stage dressing and props as well as an ever present spotlight. First up for discussion is the more fighting-focussed gameplay styles such as Swordfighter. These levels play in a tremendously fun way with quick combat, each theme with its own twist such as counters or throwing objects, which helps to set them apart and keep the title engaging. The actual game feel of combat is great. Peach feels responsive and the enemies tend to have just a couple of hits worth of health, keeping things moving. There are also non-combative roles such as Patissiere Peach, where the player is actually tasked with roles such as making cookies and decorating cakes, each of which have their own minigame. It's really fun to do and quite easy to mess up, meaning it has just enough challenge to merit asking for the player's focus.

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In terms of overall level structure, they are somewhat more similar with a set number of collectables in the form of Sparkles and Ribbons, where the Ribbons unlock collectible dress designs. Although the acts vary in length, a level is typically no longer than 15 minutes, keeping any one concept from becoming stale or boring at the expense of the game's overall length. There isn't a hugely long game here but what is here is of a high quality and features a very small but well paced difficulty curve, though it may actually be too complex at times for its presumably younger audience.

Peach does also have a base moveset outside of the costumes. She has a standard jump for traversal and she can direct Stella to brighten up various elements and power-up NPCs to progress. While in this state, Peach will wear whatever dress the player has bought/unlocked and equipped from the in-game store where coins can be spent. All of this progress is being tracked in the pause menus which is great for a roundup playthrough for completion.

Screenshot for Princess Peach Showtime! on Nintendo Switch

Visually, there is a lot of love poured into the theatre-driven aesthetic. Spotlighting follows Peach and highlights points of interest in every stage, the scenery is often clearly made of props with wooden stands and stage lighting… even the transitions usually happen within the stage framing, with locations featuring turntables when they have rooms or working doors, so the scenery can spin around to the back view. Being a Nintendo produced game it really gets the best out of the console with fantastic lighting, colour, character models and great animations all of which really make the game world pop.

Even NPC characters are interesting. These characters show their mood or their status in the colour of their noses, with them lighting up a nice warm yellow-y orange when they are happy and comfortable. It's a great indicator of progress and interactive elements in a level. Enemies are a little repetitive with one main minion design in most levels, however they are amusing and have menacing red eyes. Where enemies offer variety is the bosses, all of which are cool and have unique challenges to overcome. The only issue here is that, with the sparkly visuals, the game actually can't perform consistently and often chugs and chokes when there are special effects close to the screen. This rarely affects gameplay but it really is a shame as it makes the game feel a little cheap at times.

Screenshot for Princess Peach Showtime! on Nintendo Switch

Music is also a highlight as the title uses a lot of stings and quips that really give it an identity outside of the larger Mario-verse. It has a real range of lovely charming tunes full of whimsy and a barrage of hype songs geared towards action. The only criticism of this is that some of the songs are far too short a loop for the scenes they are used in, though it's not often and not a huge bugbear. Peach does occasionally speak, though is never particularly verbose with the game treating it almost like the other characters who take a leaf from the Zelda book of grunts and acknowledgments. It's full of character and really the script is quite amusing if almost a little too played straight.

Screenshot for Princess Peach Showtime! on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Princess Peach Showtime! is full of wonderful bits and pieces, all showcasing a staggering variety of extremely well implemented gameplay styles, which come together as a very fun full game. It stumbles a little in terms of performance (perhaps some irony there in relation to theatre) but pulls itself back up. A Stella(r) second outing for Nintendo's leading lady and one that comes recommended regardless of age or any other features people use to create target audiences.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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