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  • Writer's pictureJames Stephanie Sterling

Princess Peach: Showtime! - Drop The Curtain (Review)

Princess Peach: Showtime!

Released: March 22, 2024

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Systems: Switch

Right, so where should we put the “woke” paragraph?

I have one paragraph in this Princess Peach: Showtime! review, talking about how Peach’s only two solo outings are about crying and wearing clothes. It’s a tiny part of a fully written review on a subject I’m not even that bothered by. It’s just one small observation in an extensively written critique.

The only reason I’m making a massive deal of it is that no matter how throwaway my sentiment is, it’ll be the one thing a bunch of Gamer(tm) commenters hone in on and respond to with long, poorly formatted screeds. I might as well give it the undue attention others will give it, especially when I poke fun at Nintendo’s new thing of Peach needing to daintily lift her dress as she runs. 

Another reason to waste so much time baiting and talking utter shit is that Princess Peach: Showtime! doesn’t give me much else of interest to talk about.

While not a terrible game, it just doesn’t have a lot going on. Peach is in some theater run by the Dozers your mum has at home, some bad guys inevitably turn up, and Peach takes to the stage with a variety of powered-up costumes to fight stuff and save the show. The useless muppets relying on her to fix their every little problem are about as appealing as a dishrag, by the way.

A slow and broken pace turns the game’s simplistic levels into a more sluggish affair than they ought to be. Despite featuring collectible items that are supposed to encourage replaying stages, many of them have next to zero replay value, especially when you factor in the many unskippable scripted sequences that play in full every time you do them. 

This isn’t a straightforward platformer, either. Detective Peach stages, for example, play out more like tiny adventure games featuring a lot of walking slowly while following footprints with a magnifying glass. It’s dull as heck the first time - not helped at all by how rudimentary it is - and I have absolutely no desire for a second crack at it. 

Same goes for the cooking levels, which involve squirting patterns on cakes and tapping buttons to whisk cookie gloop. Each outfit stars in multiple stages, and the cooking levels are so similar even fresh stages feel like a replay. Segments like these feel like a stripped down version of a minigame you've seen done better elsewhere.

Part of the problem is how intensely limited Peach’s abilities are. 

Most costumes have one or two basic actions, and even the best stages apply these abilities in mundane, repetitive ways. Cowboy Peach has a lasso. She uses it to lasso objects and enemies. That’s it. Superhero Peach does an electric punch and picks up heavy items, so she can hit goons and carry stuff to make bridges, shelters, and other predictable things. A section playing out like the least energetic scrolling shooter in the world hardly deviates from monotony.

Coming off the back of Super Mario Bros. Wonder, which spewed up almost too much variety and weirdness, a game this barren is disappointing. I don’t know if they assume it's for little girls who “can’t play games” but even kids tend to expect more than this. They’re the same kids that played Wonder, after all. 

Despite frontloading my review with negativity (I try not to but sometimes you gotta go with the flow), I should point out that Princess Peach: Showtime! isn’t a terrible game. It’s just something of a non-entity. It never really picks up steam, gets exciting, or offers memorable moments. It can be moderately enjoyable, but I always had to play in short bursts because I would easily tire of its schtick. 

Ninja Peach is by far the standout. Her stealth stages, while still straightforward, feel like a more diverse experience - Peach hides in water with a cute little breathing reed, holds up a sheet that mimics whatever’s behind her to blend into the environment, and platforms around with wall jumps. Like I said, it’s not pushing the boat out with features, but it’s at least more interesting.

Much as I’m disappointed with Cowboy Peach’s single dull ability, those stages at least feature some fun horse riding sections with all the jumps and lane changes you’d expect. Again, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but it’s neat enough and it provides a modicum of excitement. 

Ice Skater Peach is also a nice time, with Peach sliding around the rink and collecting fellow skaters to form a synchronized line. I’m relatively fond of the Mermaid alter ego, who sings to control schools of fish and solve little puzzles with them, though the real selling point is how beautiful the water-themed environments are. 

Showtime! is a very pretty game, as one expects from a Mario-related release. The visual designs of each level, which resemble theatrical productions, are where all the genuine creativity was sequestered. Large enemies often swoop in with wires holding them up, fire is clearly painted wood, and stage lighting illuminates everything. I’m a big fan of the Mario series’ brightly colorful artistic direction, and the showbiz aesthetic works great with it.

Peach and her simpering star-faced sidekick can spend coins to get new skins for their default clothing, and while the cosmetic fan in me enjoys the idea of changing Peach’s look, the majority of options are just her usual pink dress with some patterns on them. There’s also nowhere near enough of the things, and pretty soon you’ll be rolling in coins with nothing you want to buy. 

Welcome to the “woke” paragraph: Peach’s only two solo outings are about crying and wearing clothes, which is something something genders, and I find her daintily lifting her dress both charming and worth a side-eye. This is the end of the “woke” paragraph.

I was really looking forward to this game, by the way.

All the way down, the theme of “not enough” pervades Princess Peach: Showtime! The costumes Peach wears look cute but their gimmicks are limited both in terms of their abilities and the game’s implementation of them. The lack of imagination is unbecoming of Nintendo, and it’s a real shame because Peach deserves a much better game. It’s like nobody’s heart was in the making of this, and while there are some entertaining moments, Showtime! simply has very little to show for itself.



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