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Princess Peach Showtime! | REVIEW | NSW

Updated: Mar 28

''ITS SHOWTIME!''

 


Developed: GoodFeel

Published: Nintendo

Genre: Action Platformer

Release Date: March 22nd, 2024

Platforms: Switch

*Review copy provided to me by Nintendo


Princess Peach Showtime! is Nintendo's latest spin off within the Mario universe and it is developed by Goodfeel and published by Nintendo. With so many Mario related games coming and going over the last decade, Nintendo finally views it time to once again give Princess Peach the spotlight she deserves. But is this the superstar performance she was destined to have or is a case of game stage fright? Only one way to find out, so lets go!


STORY:


After receiving a flyer, Princess Peach visits the theater—only for Grape to steal the show! Now she is taking the spotlight to bring Grape’s reign to its finale.


''THE STAGE IS SET''

 

GAMEPLAY:


Oh boy. It's been a long time coming for Princess Peach. The day has finally arrived where she finally gets to star in another solo adventure for the first time since Super Princess Peach on Nintendo DS. But honestly? was that REALLY a main starring role for her when you think about it? It was basically bipolar disorder, the video game where her emotions based off happy, angry or sad dictated how things would play out in the game with puzzles or combat, with the backbone of the game still involving Mario and Bowser. So in essence, she was still in the shadow of our favorite plumber and that devious lizard of a man, Bowser. Honestly, if you're a female in the Mario franchise, current era is the era you want to be in as far as screen time and character development goes if were being honest here. For years and years, female characters such as Daisy, Princess Peach, Pauline, even Toadette have been given very little to do, treated as a side character or even as nothing more than a damsel in distress. However, that's not a ''everything has been sexist'' remark, this is not one of those talks, instead I feel the rationale behind it is one that makes perfect sense, and its profitability and character development. Having a character like Pauline come back after Donkey Kong arcade and just be in a random game, yeah bro, that's really not going to sell, Daisy getting a limelight game or specific piece of content for herself back a decade plus ago, yeah, sorry, it's not going to work. There's just certain things and situations that are a lightning in a bottle moment that really can't take place until specific puzzle pieces and elements fall into place to make it happen, and Princess Peach and the female uprising in Nintendo games is having that moment right now with Princess Peach's own solo game for the first time since 2005. While Disney is off doing whatever it is they're attempting to do with their Disney Princesses to make them independent of everyone just for the sake of being that way, without a rhyme or reason as to why or motivation other than ''just cause'', Nintendo however is taking a different approach by showing that yes, their princesses may be a bit dainty or glamorous, they can sure kick a whole lot of butt as well. Daisy is capable of taking you to town in soccer, tennis and every sports imaginable, Pauline, the original franchises damsel, now becomes a successor Mayor in both video game form and the movie universe, but isn't afraid to kick the crap out of you in a Kart race, Princess Peach who'm has always been strong and self sufficient since the 1990's with the Nintendo Magazine as she literally leads an army to fight Bowser herself in the serialized comic of Super Mario Adventures. She's been kicking butt for a long time, but only now in the day and age that's starving for strong female leads that are both ''pretty looking'' while also throwing down the smackdown, profit wise, now was the time to strike, especially after her leading role in the Super Mario Bros movie which incorporated more of her attitude from the Super Mario Adventures Magazine talked about earlier. But even with all of that, was it STILL a wise decision to attempt it? legit question. I feel that answer is yes.

With the plethora of spinoffs tied to the Mushroom Kingdom, from Mario Paint, Mario is Missing, Yoshis Island, Captain Toad, all the sports titles, Mario Teaches Typing, Yoshi Commits Tax Fraud, even with all those, the best that they've come up with for the girls is a bopping dance number in Odyssey for Pauline, Kart racing adventures for everyone, whatever they were attempting with Princess Toadstools Castle Run, you get it, its a long time coming, but it still makes you confused, we can get a game about loud farting with Wario, but the girls don't get their time to shine? I mean, no I get it, Wario farts are pretty hilarious with Warioware, but we need that one game from a Pauline, a Princess Daisy, a Rosalina, a Toadette, a Princess Peach or heck, I'll even take Birdo at this point, to have a stand out game that builds on a pillar for the rest of the female roster like you've seen slowly building with playable Peach in 3D World, playable Daisy in Sper Mario Bros Wonder. Wait...rewind for a second, is Birdo even a girl? I hope so because I've been saying she was Yoshi's girlfriend for like 20 years now, but still, bring back Birdo anyways, add her to Smash so she can spit an egg at 500 mph as her Final Smash. Back on topic though, sorry about that, my rambling point was in essence, we need that one defining experience to further elevate the cast of characters from the Mushroom Kingdom and for the most part, here in Princess Peach Showtime, it delivers on that need and expectation, way more than I thought possible going into the game for the first time. Granted before you go into this game, check your ego and testosterone at the door because you're looking at a game that's very kid friendly and lines up with the same type of vibe as titles like a Kirby or the recent Yoshis CraftedWorld and Yoshi's Wooly World. It is definitely not a hard game at all, but where it makes up for the lacking nature of recent yoshi's titles or easier Kirby games is in the creativity and diversity department of its gameplay. Sure it may be kiddy at face value and a little easy, but the amount collectibles to be rewarded with, alongside more than handful of new power ups, each transforming Peach's personality from fighter, to chef to ninja to super hero, more than makes up for its lackings and honestly, in the more intense action sequences, you forget you're playing a game aimed towards a younger audience, and instead feel you're playing a 3D World style equivalent, but as a solo Peach game instead. Yes for me, it started feeling THAT good, which again, I was not expecting at all. Then again, I wasn't expecting Princess Peach to become a Kung Fu master either that can even whip Bruce Lee's butt, but... here we are.

Here in Princess Peach Showtime, Peach gets her Luigi's Mansion type of setting, only this time without a haunted mansion and instead its an overtaken by evil theater that is possessed and turned into a dark and twisted hall by the nefarious Madame Grape and her group of fellow minions. The main purpose is to wreak havoc in the Sparkle Theatre and taking over all the shows to make them in her own image, which causes masses chaos. Now Peach finds herself trapped, but she is not alone, because she is joined by a little star called Stella. Uhh... Stella? I'm not against the name but with the way my brain works, the first thing that popped into my head when Stella celebrated and went from sad to happy, I was like ''you go girl, oh yeah, Stella Got Her Groove Back''. Yes, if you're a late 90's kid, you immediately knew this is a reference to the 1998 Angela Bassett movie, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, yeah... I don't know either, sue me. With the help of Stella and of course, her groove, you set off to various different sections of the theater that spans 5 floors, plus a basement, as you collect Sparkles in each level that are used as currently to unlock boss fight doors after each floor's levels have been completed. These sparkles can be anything from turning on a lamp post, find them in a secret box, find them hidden away or when specific objectives are met by saving all the little civilian friends from a threat before they get taken away, and even completing mini games like having a perfect skating routine during the figure skating levels, which we'll talk about shortly. Coins are also another pick up to grab along your way, which act as incentives to purchase newly designed dresses for Peach to wear or different colored ribbons for Stella to wear. Either way, buying one, or nearly all of them like I said, leaves you looking completely fabulous. So looking cute and fighting bad guys? cool, but HOW do you fight these dark villains and save the theatre from total destruction? well duh, by participating in the actual stage players yourself, ya big goof. As you traverse these theatre plays, which make me think of Super Mario Bros 3 and how that was a stage play with background sets being held by ropes and wires, stage curtains, etc, Peach gains a new role every play that she enters, roles that change from powers such as becoming a Sword fighter to harness your inner Zorro and slice and dice through all foes with quick precision, a stealthy ninja that has you sneak around in grass to avoid detection, use paper against a wall to fool the bad guy, secretly stabby stab enemy guards, or even run along walls in quick ninja succession to make a quick get away... it just made me think, HEY PEACH, I CAN BE A NINJA TOO! ...but then failing... miserably. But that's definitely not all the roles you can play, oh no no, because I haven't even went into how fun being a super hero, a chef, an ice skater or being a thief actually is.

 


''KICK, PUNCH, ITS ALL IN THE MIND''

 

If you get a feeling of deja vu looking at the theatre map, with the goal being to go to a floor, pick a door, do an objective, get Sparkles as currency to unlock other areas, if that has given a sense of familiarity then you aren't alone because I too was thinking, wait a minute.. this is pretty much like Super Mario 64's level selection and the way you went about picking your next level, heck, even the stages play out in a similar fashion with each stage you select introducing new gameplay mechanics to the mix, such as becoming a chef in a bake off against a time limit and under pressure as you rush to make your mix and bake cakes, cookies and decorate faster than the other villain like its a mini game from Mario Party. At least, most people would've went straight to the Mario Party reference, but me? nope... first thoughts were ''WONDERFUL! BETTA THAN MAMA!'' as congratulations from the mama herself from Cooking Mama or as I myself was making my mix, I couldn't help but sing ''COOKING IS SO FUN, COOKING IS SO FUN, NOW ITS TIME TO TAKE A BREAK TO SEE WHAT WE HAVE DONE. YAY! ITS READY''. Yup, the ol brain went straight to the Azumanga Daioh reference and I am not apologizing. Further expanding into the other gameplay aspects, which there are a lot due to there being 5 levels on each floor and ten in the basement, you have once again Ninja themed levels that make you feel like a classic anime ninja running along roof tops and making slick quick jumps, go under the sea as a mermaid and give a singing performance of a lifetime as you sing for fish to make them open shells revealing secrets and a music based mini game where you must match the fish on all sides of your singing bubble in the order they hit so that you may get them to join your band. This actually made me glad that Nintendo did the iterations of Mermaids because I really didn't want to have to really deal with Sirens, although, little crazy Luma would've been down, she's pretty crazy. The game continues to up the ante no matter how far you get into the game and for a guy I thought I'd be able to beat in like a 3 to 4 hour sitting like a Kirby title, ended up taking me roughly 7 hours to complete from start to finish, but if I want to collect all dresses and ribbons, plus the POST game content, because yes, even after the game is over, dozens more unlocks, you're looking at a possible 10 to 12 hour completion rate to 100% the game to its fullest, which I will be doing for sure no question soon as I have some down time. I cant really state enough how surprised I was to continuously be delighted by the diversity in gameplay the more I played and the attention to detail that was put into a spin off game that is cleverly crafted with surprises that make this game accessible to people of any age, even during pitfall levels that require very exact timing, the game is forgiving enough that should a youngling be having trouble with certain part of a level, mainly the temple run like sections, they too will still be able to get past it.

Expanding into each floor after defeating villains, which sometimes take a little bit of strategy towards the end of the game, due to difficulty being user friendly, you will notice the game while fair and balanced, does tend to challenge you as the player with the task of adapting to each playstyle at a fairly quick pace by shifting from one amusing and fun activity to another in quick succession with no real down time in between each level, one minute you're screaming ''LIKE THE WIND, BULLEYE!'' as you mount your trusty steed to chase get away trains and stop measly ol varmints from stealing the gold from the O.K. Corral. ''I'm just an old country gal from the Mushroom Kingdom who get' constantly kidnapped by a big lizard and I reckon I sure be in one foul mood partner, so let you ask you one question, do you feel lucky? well? do ya? punk'' Well it looks like they're nothing but yellow bellied lungers like a cowardice desert canary, yes siree, if it wasn't for ol bullseye being barn sour, let me just tell ya, being a tenderfoot or not, id be your huckleberry. Uhhh. I might have gotten a little too into the western levels as you can tell, but its very easy to do when the games main focus is accessibility with mini games themselves that are designed specifically around a core mechanic unique to a level to keep you engaged that requires minimal controls so anyone can learn but just in depth enough to feel satisfying at the same time, its actually balanced surprisingly well. Level design is also an amazing set piece to blend well with each level with the first swordsman level giving off a small time town look or if you're somehow transported to toon land, Kung Fu levels offering temples and precision timing as you fight off hordes of enemies with your kicks and punches, swing around a pole matrix style to take out multiple enemies or go back and forth Dragon Ball style with the enemy Senpai as you clash fist and kicks against each other at fast pace until you finally win out, delivering a devastating blow -it feels fantastic. A lot of the time in between floors and levels I found myself just wanting to explore the detailed theatre to see what I can discover, which often was new time trials to play, new challenges and new unlockables and ways to decorate the actual theatre itself after the games completion that allows you to set up statues, chandeliers, flowers, balloons and make the theatre your own the way you wish it to be decorated. I mean... we saved the dang place, so technically its ours now, its my rules so I'll just say its a law.

While the game is ripe to be able to have fun in, even when using you ribbon attack as normal Peach, which allows you to grab objects and people to either turn them brighter for the stage lights. give your friends special powers to achieve their goals, or even use it to revive people, there's still some issues in between all these positives, if were getting it real. Again, you can play as Thief and use grappling hooks to swing around and attack foes and then speed away on a glider, which made just think of Carmen Sandiego or become Super Peach as you become a iron clad super hero to save the earth from an alien invasion by stopping a speeding UFO dead in its tracks and tossing them away like yesterdays tracks like they were a Yamcha. But the game falters with loading times and frame rate dipping from time to time with some annoyance. For example when entering a door, the initial animation going in is just fine, even transitioning floors upstairs and downstairs, quick and easy, no worries, but waiting for a level to load? oh man, it literally can take 10 to 15 seconds to load into a level and while you wait on a loading screen, the FPS can drop to like 10 fps or give you the illusion the game froze do to the amount of frame drop. Thankfully I never experienced that type of drop during a gameplay stage, but still, that shouldn't be happening whatsoever anyways and remains one of the rare cases in a Nintendo game where there's an actual legit issue with big frame drops and even loading screens, its pretty mind boggling to be honest. Like how can you have super epic boss battles, become Kaiju Peach, become Sherlock Holmes and investigate clues and interrogate criminals as you investigate the levels mystery, ice skate against rivals in a Disney On Ice like performance, and have zero drops, but a loading screen with nothing going on borderline crashes the system? Heck, Sherlock Holmes might not even be able to solve THAT mystery, we'll have to bring in the big guns for that one, right Blue?.

 


''THERES A SNAKE IN MY BOOT!''

 

OVERALL:


At the end of the day, despite my initial bout of skepticism towards the title, albeit yes its always looked fun for me, I just didn't expect it to be THIS fun, even again, despite my early skepticism. The game overall provided a genuine good time and enjoyable experience that made me laugh quite a few times or get confused and laugh at what I was seeing with things that made it look like Peach herself was getting everyone to give her energy so she can either go Ultra Instinct or use Goku's Spirit Bomb. It was a delightful and unique gaming experience. Obviously its not perfect with things like bad framerate from time to time with dips, loading times when entering a level being absolutely horrendous and difficulty being a bit on the too easy side, even with those negatives, the positives of advancing through each floor to unlock new secrets within Sparkle Theatre, diverse game play that has you go from beat em up as a Kung Fu Master to temple running Ninja dodging hazards as you run against a wall, opera singing mermaid, fighting on ground or side scrolling flying adventures as Mighty Peach super hero, super fun boss fights that have you take on the Audrey 2 as a Sword fighter so that you may get revenge for Seymour from Little Shop Of Horrors, lasso barrels to throw back at a gun slinging boss and round him up like cattle, defy gravity in a stage changing fight against a disco bird, who honestly is probably the pet of Disco Kid from Punch Out and even fighting a giant bad cade kitty by making him hit himself with bombs. NO KITTY, THAT'S A BAD KITTY. There's just so much going on with Princess Peach Showtime that it's hard to narrow down to just striking visuals that remind me of polish of 3D World and the extra post game content, its just a cute, chill, fun time that someone of any age, masculinity aside, should be able to enjoy. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW




 






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