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review

Princess Peach: Showtime Review

Unassuming Encore
by Kyle Hilliard on Mar 21, 2024 at 06:00 AM

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Reviewed on Switch
Publisher Nintendo
Developer Nintendo
Release

We’ve played as Peach in plenty of Mario-starring games through the years, but not since 2005’s Super Princess Peach has the artist formerly known as Princess Toadstool been the exclusive protagonist of her own journey. Princess Peach: Showtime is a wholly original adventure with an impressive amount of unique mechanics, but it fails to reach the platforming heights Nintendo has attained with its other characters in the past.

Showtime’s overall premise is one of the highlights as it creates an aesthetically interesting world that is able to look and play differently from level to level but still maintain a consistent and welcoming style. While visiting a theatre to take in a show, the facility is attacked by the Sour Bunch for reasons that are ultimately unimportant. What is important is Peach is put in charge of returning everything to normal because she happens to be present and capable – a classic Die Hard scenario.

The design of every level leans into the theatre premise with a spotlight following Peach as she progresses, set changes marking new areas, and strings from the rafters being used to make elements look like they’re floating through the air. Seeing what every new stage looks like is fun, even for the repeated themes, but Peach’s costume changes are the primary focus.

Peach has multiple costumes that dictate her distinct abilities in different levels and while they are not all winners, they are all at least solid. I particularly like the ninja costume with its breezy combat and goofy stealth abilities, but then there are costumes like the detective that I found laborious to use. Meanwhile, costumes like the dashing thief and the cowboy that function similarly (one casts out a line with a grappling gun, the other casts out a line with a lasso) feel different thanks to the unique levels they are placed in.

 

The art direction and presentation are well done, but I struggled sometimes with the difficulty. Not because the game is hard – Showtime is an easy game by design – but there are occasions where I found specific jumps or minigames annoying to complete. It plays like a great first game for a new player to potentially enjoy alongside a parent, but there are little pockets where I had to time attacks properly or make a number of timed jumps that felt too hard in the context of the rest of the game. The challenge sits in an uncomfortable middle ground of being too easy for veteran players but not easy enough for rookies.
The rewards for collecting coins also underwhelmed. I enjoyed seeing Peach adopt all kinds of different outfits and styles in the levels, but the only option for unlocks with your hard-earned money outside the levels are different patterns for Peach’s iconic dress. I am disappointed there weren’t options for completely different dress styles.

I also got distracted occasionally by Showtime’s performance. I am not a player overly concerned with framerates; I prefer 60 FPS, but will happily take 30 FPS, as long as it is consistent, which is where this game struggles. Showtime hitches occasionally, not often during high-pressure moments, thankfully, but during the moments when you are relaxing in the theatre's main hallways. It’s a plague the Switch hardware is dealing with more and more, and Showtime is just another reminder that the console is struggling.

Princess Peach: Showtime could be a decent first game for young Peach fans, but longtime Nintendo players looking for the Princess’ equivalent of a quality Kirby platformer will likely be underwhelmed. Stylistically, however, the game is a success and, in typical Nintendo fashion, features an exciting finale. I just wish the difficulty had been more balanced in one direction or the other.

Products In This Article

Princess Peach: Showtimecover

Princess Peach: Showtime

Platform:
Switch
Release Date: