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Princess Peach: Showtime! review
Nintendo

Gaming

Princess Peach: Showtime! proves the OG Switch still has some must-play releases up its sleeve

Princess Peach shines as a long-overdue leading lady in Showtime!

What’s a princess from the Mushroom Kingdom gotta do to enjoy some theater around these parts? Rescue the starring actors and save a theater from some sour grapes. That’s the central conceit to Princess Peach: Showtime!, Nintendo’s latest Switch exclusive. Instead of placing Peach in her long-standing role of damsel in distress, Showtime! continues a recent trend of casting Peach in a leading role – and does so to success and, most importantly of all, hours of fun.

Princess Peach: Showtime! has a simple plot: Peach travels to the Sparkle Theater to enjoy some theater, but before she can take her seat for a show, the theater is attacked. Madame Grape and the Sour Bunch take over and kidnap the Sparklas in the plays’ starring roles. Peach and theater guardian Stella must work together to squash the Sour Bunch from each floor and rescue the missing Sparklas.

It’s a good enough hook and sets the stage (heheh) for some cute adventures. Don’t expect grand plot development or robust character arcs; just throw on your cowgirl hat, lasso some purple meanies, and have fun.

Princess Peach: Showtime! proves the OG Switch still has some must-play releases up its sleeve

Princess Peach: Showtime!’s main focus is on fun, easy-to-play gameplay, and it aims for breadth over depth. To make things simple across all of Peach’s starring roles, only three buttons are utilized – the Joycon triggers make Peach strike a pose (which, under certain spotlights, can unlock certain areas), A is for jumping, and B takes an action.

For the various roles, the action button is something different each time. Regular Peach can use her ribbon to attack enemies or, quite adorably, inspire confidence in Sparklas. Cowgirl Peach will swing her whip to attack enemies or lasso barrels. Mermaid Peach will sing to direct schools of fish. Mighty Peach will punch the socks off evil-doers. Each version of Peach gets unique gameplay, granting Showtime! an abundance of variety. I generally preferred the combat roles – even with just one button press, beatin’ up enemies was very satisfying. However, non-combat-focused roles like Figure Skater Peach and Dashing Thief Peach were just as fun.

Princess Peach: Showtime! proves the OG Switch still has some must-play releases up its sleeve

Granted, I didn’t love all the Peaches. Detective Peach was a little too simple and light on deduction, and I didn’t love the mini-game feel of Patissiere Peach. With each Peach having a maximum of three levels and with levels only taking less than 20 minutes to complete, even if you’re stuck playing as a Peach you’re not vibing with, it’s only a short matter of time until you can get back to doing your best Zorro impression as Swordfighter Peach.

With so many Peaches, the variety leads to simplicity in gameplay, which can get repetitive at times. Showtime! is easy peasy, and you might only struggle with timing the few parries/counters on certain levels. Other than that, you’ll find yourself jumping and pressing B to success. The lack of depth in the gameplay can have Showtime! feeling repetitive and tough to play for long stretches. Where I can find myself playing Dragon’s Dogma II for three hours and barely notice the passage of (real world) time, I would play three or four levels at a time of Princess Peach: Showtime! before I was ready to bounce onto something else. That’s not to say I didn’t have fun with it; rather fun will be found in snack-sized chunks and not a full meal.

Princess Peach: Showtime! proves the OG Switch still has some must-play releases up its sleeve

One of the most impressive things about Princess Peach: Showtime! is the art style and craftsmanship of each level. Playing into the theater setting, each level looks like a stage with hand-constructed sets and props. Some parts of the stage hang from the ceiling, like clouds or meteors, and you can even see the strings holding them up. It’s clever and creative, and goes a long way into making each version of Peach and the levels she explores feel unique.

While simple and at times too thin, Princess Peach: Showtime! is a worthy and full-of-fun showcase for Peach’s first starring role in almost 20 years. You’ll be sure to fall in love with several of the roles Peach takes on and enjoy lassoing enemies and singing for schools of fish on the way to saving the Sparkle Theater.

Princess Peach: Showtime! review
Princess Peach: Showtime! proves the OG Switch still has some must-play releases up its sleeve
Princess Peach: Showtime!
Peach's time in the starring role doesn't disappoint, making Princess Peach: Showtime! the Switch's latest great release.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Every role for Peach is unique and you're sure to have fun with most, if not all, of them!
Easy-to-learn gameplay and short levels make Showtime! a great "pick up and play" game when you're short on time.
All the levels look great and really lean into the idea that these levels are sets and stages in a theater.
Sometimes the gameplay feels too simple, making it a bit repetitive.
8
Good

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