Princess Peach: Showtime! Review

Princess Peach: Showtime! Review

It’s the current year, and girls are proving they can “get it done better”. Princess Peach is no longer just the damsel in distress for Bowser to kidnap. The modern era demands a Princess Peach who is as capable and daring as her male counterparts. What better way to celebrate her legacy than with a new game where she takes the (literal) center stage?

While the world has moved on from Super Princess Peach for the Nintendo DS, the game was criticized for portraying Peach as an overly emotional wreck. However, some might argue its real flaw was a garden-variety 2D platformer developed by Tose, a Japanese shadow developer known for their utter lack of vision. Nintendo has taken a page from Barbie’s playbook and in Peach’s new game, showing that she can be all things to girls everywhere!

Princess Peach’s next game is more than a run-of-the-mill 2D platformer. It aspires to be a veritable smorgasbord of different gameplay styles with Good-Feel’s signature imaginative sense of design. Is there anything Princess Peach can’t do? Find out in our Princess Peach: Showtime! review!

Princess Peach: Showtime!
Developer: Good-Feel
Publisher: Nintendo

Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: March 22, 2024
Price: $59.99 USD

Much like any Mario game, Princess Peach: Showtime! prioritizes engaging gameplay over a complex narrative. The story kicks off with Peach attending a play at a lavish theater, which is promptly interrupted by the fiendish Madam Grape and her gang of miscreants. While a substantial plot isn’t necessary to fuel the fun, the game surprisingly features a fair amount of dialogue scenes, reinforcing the theatrical theme.

However, the narrative’s tone can feel condescending towards Peach. The constant stream of remarks from NPCs, even for the most basic tasks, undermines the sense of accomplishment. The low difficulty level further exacerbates this issue, as characters readily shower Peach with praise for completing effortless actions, creating an insincere tone.

This element of the story is very likely coincidental but it is hard to not imagine the friendly NPC characters talking to Peach with a hint of sarcasm. The fact that a majority of the action is set on a stage with props and seemingly artificial danger further reinforces the dishonesty of Peach being genuinely skilled at anything.

With Madam Grape locking Peach inside with the actors and her gang, Peach is set loose inside a hub-like theater. Each floor has four levels and a boss, with each level representing one of three acts in a certain genre.

The stages (pun intended), have Peach transform into different personas with unique abilities and gimmicks. It is not unlike how a Kirby game unfolds but without the option to change abilities since each stage locks Peach into a role.

The core gameplay in Princess Peach: Showtime! is very simple. Peach can jump with B and A is dedicated to her role’s abilities. Camera control is not a factor since the POV is fixed.

The only other action Peach can do is “pose”, which is a glorified interact prompt for secrets. With such a simplistic control scheme, there is no way that anybody will be confused at what to do when playing.

Stages are linear and alternate between 3D and 2.5D and also can become auto-scrolling in some sequences.  Every stage has sparkles to collect which are used to open up the floor’s boss stage.

It’s a simple yet reliable method for progression that’s been in most Mario games, but in Princess Peach: Showtime!, the theater is constrained so as not to overwhelm the target audience: children.

The main attraction of Princess Peach: Showtime! is her transformations and their gimmicks, which foster a lot of variety between the stages. While each of Peach’s roles has a primary ability, some also have passive abilities. In some cases, certain roles may only have contextual actions.

The swordfighter role is straightforward and makes Peach into a deadly fencer. She gets a simple combo and can parry when jumping before an enemy attack connects. It has a very generous window since this is aimed at kids and it does look stylish, like a PlatinumGames-style action game for the Nick Jr. crowd.

Peach’s Cowgirl transformation gives her a lasso which can be used like a whip and can grab foes and projectiles. This is also one of Peach’s cooler outfits, and it suits her well.

As a Sentai hero, Peach gets a huge jump and can lift huge objects and throw them, which is different from her kung-fu role where she functions more like a brawler.

As the pastry chef, Peach will participate in mini-game gauntlets where she has to make baked goods. These feel like something out of a Mario Party game than anything and their inclusion shows just how creative Good-Feel can be when coming up with unconventional gameplay for an action-adventure game.

The ice-skater role is one of the more creative sequences, requiring players to hit marks and perform convincingly while moving at top speeds on ice.

As a detective in Princess Peach: Showtime!, the game goes full adventure game where you solve mysteries by following clues in the environment. If she makes wrong deductions, it costs a hit point, so there’s pressure to not make mistakes.

Contrasting Peach’s crime-solving role is her Lupin III-like role as a thief where she does acrobatics, stealth, and death-defying stunts. You would think it would be like the ninja role, but they are different kinds of experiences. As a Ninja, Peach gets wall jumping like Ryu Hayabusa and can do stealth take-downs like in Tenchu.

Regardless of the role Peach assumes in her adventures, her game maintains a breezy and light challenge. Experienced gamers or long-time Mario fans won’t have much trouble seeing Princess Peach: Showtime! completed in about six hours.

While this may seem brief, there is some post-game content that can offer some heartier challenges for those who seek it… just don’t expect anything too spicy.

For a young gamer who is just getting the hang of different kinds of games, Princess Peach: Showtime! is ideal. It offers so much variety at a fast pace which keeps it very fresh and exciting. The “rehearsal” bonus stages are tough enough that kids who play them might ask for some help but are doable in one or two tries from adult players.

Princess Peach: Showtime! is a bit steep for adults since it is such a light game, but kids will find a lot of enjoyment from it. They will replay stages for sequences that they love and try to find every sparkle which will take them a lot longer than any grown-up. The only real disappointment that will potentially annoy children is the load times between the theater hub and the stages. They feel a bit long and the target audience doesn’t have patience for the wait.

The visuals are as bouncy and polished as any first-party Nintendo game. Good-Feel has a style that emphasizes tangibility and that is still consistent with Princess Peach: Showtime! Regrettably, the frame rate is not as stable as it could be, but the kiddies playing won’t notice or care since the difficulty is tailor-made for them to overcome and responsiveness is not the prevailing factor.

It is ok for some games to be made for children. Nintendo began as a toy-making company and video games are still effectively toys, ergo, Princess Peach: Showtime! is what they do best.

Good-Feel knew exactly who they were making this for and they succeeded, but it would have been nice if there were some substance for gamers who grew up with Peach too.

Princess Peach: Showtime! was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a code provided by Nintendo. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Princess Peach: Showtime! is now available for Nintendo Switch.

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The Verdict: 7

The Good

  • A breezy paced action game that kids can easily get into
  • 10 different transformations with each having unique abilities and gimmicks
  • Clever level design that takes advantage of the stage play aesthetic
  • Pleasing visuals and bouncy animation
  • Bonus challenges that will make kids cry for help from their gamer parents

The Bad

  • Load times feel a bit long
  • Wildly inconsistent frame rate
  • Older gamers will find it too basic and easy
  • Unintentionally condescending


A youth destined for damnation.

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