Princess Peach: Showtime! Review

Take centre stage Peach, the spotlight is yours!

By Paul Hunter

Princess Peach finally has her own game and it's just as delightful as I hoped. In Princess Peach: Showtime!, the Mushroom Kingdom's famous royalty member is sent a flyer advertising a must-see show at the Sparkle Theater. The Princess along with some Toads decide to go see it.

Once they arrive, the wicked Madame Grape sorceress appears along with her Sour Bunch and traps Peach inside the theatre's main hall. She then teams up with the theatre's guardian Stella, a cutesy Sparkle sprite, to stop Grape and her minions.

If you're been following along with the marketing of Princess Peach: Showtime! you'll know the main attraction is Peach's many transformations. I'm happy to say that all 12 of the transformations in the game are fantastic in their own unique ways. What I love is how the transformations shape how individual levels are designed and played out—and there's so much gameplay variety on offer here.

From a basic action platformer standpoint, the Swordfighter, Kung Fu and Ninja Peach transformations offer the most "standard" gameplay. But even among these, there are nice differences, like how Ninja Peach can wall jump or how Swordfighter Peach can dodge enemy attacks and counterattack.

The rest of the transformations vary significantly in their gameplay, almost making Princess Peach: Showtime! feel like ten games in one. You've got Detective Peach whose levels focus on sleuthing to uncover clues and solve a mystery, almost like a pared-down version of Detective Pikachu. There's also Patissiere Peach who must decorate multiple desserts in specific ways in rapid succession before the time limit expires. Figure Skater Peach is another interesting transformation as you must join other skaters on the ice and perform quick-time spins and jumps on cue.

I could go on and on all about the other neat transformations, like Mermaid, Cowgirl and Dashing Thief Peach, but suffice it to say, all these Peach forms have unique gameplay that feels distinctly different from the rest. The sheer variety means the gameplay stays fresh over the roughly 10 hours it takes to complete all stages.

What's great is even within each level, new gameplay elements get added over time, like how a later Cowboy Peach level has a segment where you ride a horse or how the second Patissiere stage includes a new mini-game where you need to feed Sour Bunch baddies before they get angry and burst through a gate.

Visually, transformations look amazing as Princess Peach dons different outfits or outright changes form like with Mermaid Peach. Each metamorphosis is preceded by flashy cutscenes with dynamic camera angles as Peach poses and demonstrates her new-found abilities.

The whole game really is nice to look at, particularly since each play (aka level) is visually themed after Peach's transformation. Patissiere levels are bright and colourful to match the dessert theme, Detective Peach levels are dense and full of NPCs to chat with for clues, and the Mighty Peach levels have a metallic and futuristic feel to them to match the transformation's sci-fi theme.

Princess Peach: Showtime! is a great game to play with kids with the gameplay being intuitive and the level design being intuitive. If you need an extra boost you can activate the Heart Charm to give Peach three extra hearts. Some of the bosses (which all have fantastic designs I must say) can be a bit challenging, so you may need to step in every once and a while to help your son or daughter out.

Since this game is all about dress up it makes perfect sense that you can collect in-game coins that can be used to purchase new dresses for Peach. There are adorable patterns to buy like Polka-Dot, Two-Tone and Checkered, along with more colourful dresses like the orange-and-red Kung Fu Dress or the purple constellation Mighty Dress. Any dress you equip will be visible any time you're wandering around the Sparkle Theater's five floors (or the mysterious basement!).

Much like Mario games, or pretty much any Nintendo platformer for that matter, levels in Princess Peach: Showtime! are filled with secrets for those who take the time to snoop around. Besides the aforementioned Coins you can collect, stages have a bunch of Sparkle Gems hidden in them to find. You'll want to search them out and you'll need to hand in a certain amount of these items when you're ready to move on to the next floor in the Sparkle Theater. Some of the gems are very cleverly tucked away, making them feel rewarding to discover while also adding replay value to each stage.

The Verdict

Princess Peach: Showtime! is a cute, colourful and creative adventure befitting of one of Nintendo's most iconic characters. It's incredible that Peach finally has a game series to call her own, and what a fantastic start it's off to. The transformations are awesome, but it's the varied and compelling gameplay that really steals the show.

Final Score: 9/10 - Amazing

Princess Peach: Showtime! details

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Good-Feel
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Action Adventure
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

A key was provided by the publisher.