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Princess Peach Showtime

Princess Peach: Showtime

Landing The Part
by Alex Van Aken on Feb 20, 2024 at 04:08 PM

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Platform Switch
Publisher Nintendo
Developer Nintendo

What starts as a lovely evening visit to the Mushroom Kingdom’s Sparkle Theater turns into a hectic performance in Princess Peach: Showtime, in which Nintendo’s leading lady must help reclaim the playhouse from Grape and The Sour Bunch, a group of villains hellbent on stealing the spotlight. Peach must visit the theater’s many stages to assist the resident actors in getting the show back on track by transforming into special outfits to complete fun activities like cake decorating, ice skating, and sword fighting. 

My hands-on demo begins on the Sparkle Theater’s first floor, where I can enter four doorways in any order, each leading to a uniquely themed stage. Along the first path, I find a group of Theets, the bashful stewards of the playhouse, lamenting the theft of their baked sweets. With the help of a guardian named Stella, who gifts Peach a magic ribbon, I use my new ability to transform the Theets into sous-chefs who then draft a plan to prepare fresh pastries. 

Princess Peach Showtime

I run an errand to a nearby farming set to collect necessary confection-making ingredients, however, I discover the head baker has disappeared when I return to the kitchen, and Peach must take their place. Using Stella’s ribbon, Peach transforms into a patisserie outfit and begins a series of enjoyable Mario Party-like mini-games. In one, you must repeatedly tap the action button to leaven dough to make the fluffiest bread possible, but you can ruin the dish if you overmix it. The next mini-game is my favorite: Peach must decorate a batch of cakes according to increasingly complex designs before time runs out. The delicacy transforms into a beautiful display if you follow the instructions correctly, making for a satisfying conclusion.

After getting the play back on track, Peach visits other theaters that offer a familiar loop: rescue Theets from The Sour Bunch, help rebuild stage decorations, and unlock new transformations before confronting boss fights and other third-act encounters. Princess Peach: Showtime particularly excels in the variety it offers through these aforementioned transformations. Cowboy Peach is a blast to control, lassoing and throwing barrels at bosses while dodging incoming projectiles. Swordfighter Peach feels less inventive compared to off-the-wall variations like Figure Skater Peach, who competes in an ice skating competition against mind-controlled athletes. Lastly, Ninja Peach must evade watchtowers and patrolling guards with camouflage and wall-running abilities, which is novel when set against the backdrop of the Mushroom Kingdom. 

Princess Peach Showtime

As aesthetically appealing as they are, the Sparkle Theater’s sets are sometimes a pain to navigate –  mostly during small platforming segments wherein the 2D camera is at odds with the player’s ability to move Peach in a 3D space. While it’s frustrating to miss the occasional jump, it’s even more frustrating when the fixed camera perspective causes you to miss out on a collectible, some of which require you to replay the level if you miss them. 

I’m eager to try out more transformations like Dashing Thief Peach or Mighty Peach, the latter resembling Proto Man from the Mega Man series, but I’m still curious how much time we’ll get with each. Overall, Princess Peach: Showtime seems to fit well within Nintendo’s catalog of mascot action games, seemingly blending gameplay from Kirby and The Forgotten Land and Mario Party’s mini-games to make for a rousing return to the spotlight for Princess Peach.

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Princess Peach: Showtime

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