Princess Peach: Showtime Review

Princess Peach: Showtime!

Developer: Good Feel
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Switch
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $59.99 – Available Here

Overview

Princess Peach may be the most recognizable heroines in this industry, but she is also one of the most overlooked. Nintendo made a decent attempt to celebrate Mario’s better half years ago on the Nintendo DS, but for the first time – she is finally getting her own console release with Princess Peach: Showtime! for the Nintendo Switch. Does this release live up to its royal subject, or is it another spin-off that will quickly be forgotten in time? Let’s find out.

Story

The finest thing Princess Peach: Showtime! has going for it is the narrative. Princess Peach heads to the theater for some entertainment, but is quickly caught up in an adventure as an evil sorceress by the name of Grape begins causing chaos. With the help of the Sparkle Theater’s guardian Stella, she must try to restore the event by rescuing each cast, with each play representing an in-game world. I know it doesn’t sound like that much on paper, but Showtime! really makes an innocent, yet joyous plot for the player here as it manages to establish new villains, and does that quite well. The entire game is bustling with energy and atmosphere, and while it still never captures that grand quality of a main-line Mario game, it does do a lot to further dive into the mind of our pink Princess. 

Gameplay

The gameplay is kind of all over the place, so before you go in, don’t expect one unified rhythm (which is both a positive and negative for the overall product here). Starting out, the game kind of has the same feel as many of the earlier 3D Mario fare, but instead of paintings or paint splashes, Peach gets into each level through an overworld that branches out, with each area possessing its own unique theme, enemies, and so on. Peach can take the role of a cowgirl, investigator, and even tackle in swordplay which completely change the feel and objective of each stage. Its a neat idea that works, but sometimes make the adventure feel like a bunch of pieces to one experience – rather than a steady penstroke as it never really makes everything connect together, despite the overarching “different plays” concept.

While the overworld is in full 3D, most of the gameplay takes place in linear 2.5D settings where the player can move about all over, but usually scrolls through the levels in the same way. Some of the mechanics however are brilliant, with tight platforming and inventive puzzles scattered throughout. The polished controls compliment each area well, but some are definitely more fleshed out than others. For instance, the investigator portions have Peach hunt for clues and participate in puzzle fare, while Swordfighter peach offers more exciting action and Ninja Peach relies on quick, fluid platforming mixed with a good shake of quick-time events. 

Its a lot to chew on, but I can’t help but feel that some areas outshine others a bit too dramatically, making some of the adventure feel underwhelming. Mermaid Peach is neat, but guiding fish by singing loses its charms by the end of the stage as the action dissipates. Sure, no stage is bad by any means, but this type of level design makes the game have pacing issues when it could have been resolved with a few extra additions to keep the game flowing steadily.

 Boss battles are quite an affair and top off each stage with a satisfying event. That said, this game really comes down to collectibles. Each stage has Sparkle Gems and ribbons to collect, and Peach can get customization options unlocked through progression, allowing the player a bit of customization as they advance. Again, its all fun and fine, but there just feels like something is missing to add more weight to the adventure. For instance, Good Feel, who developed Showtime! also worked on Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Wario-Land: Shake It!, and other spin-offs for Nintendo. While those namesakes pivoted from their original franchise’s core concepts, they were made whole by a consistent theme that always built forward. Showtime! is a bit scattered by comparison, and while it certainly is far from a dud, it does feel a little lacking for its entry price-tag.

Audio

The music here is lovely. With festive beats that capture each stage, you will never get bored of the soundtrack that puts you right in center-stage of the activities as they unfold around you. The voice acting is also lovely, and the rest of the audio has that big-budget feel to make the player feel that this adventure is special. There is a lot to like with the sound design, as it is an absolute strength for the adventure by far.

Visuals

Look at the screenshots in this review. They really do capture how brightly lit and vivid Princess Peach and friends are within this adventure. Animations are crisp, and character models look spectacular with an ever-changing palette that incentivizes progression, just so you can see more. I do wish that the stage designs themselves matched this, but that sadly is not the case. While some areas are spectacular, others kind of fall flat and leave some to be desired. I also had some dips in framerate which were not unbearable, but certainly jarring considering the usual level of quality involved for not only Good Feel, but Nintendo as a whole. This isn’t some side character, this is Peach, and having unpolished spots make the game feel a bit rushed out of the oven.

Overall

Princess Peach: Showtime! is a wonderful side game and achieves what it set out to do with grace, which is simply exist as a side game. I think expectations are a lot sometimes. In our imaginations we come up with these larger-than-life experiences that just have to be real, as Peach has been worthy for so long of her own grand adventure, but sadly – Showtime! isn’t it and really never tries to be anything but a fun trip to the theater. Its unfair to judge it on what it could or even should have been, so I will refrain from being that guy who does so. What we do have here is a fun sampling of ideas that work and can be a blast to play. Nothing more, nothing less. The price is still a little higher than what it should be, but Showtime! is sure to be remembered as another solid stepping stone in this Princess’ journey to eventual stardom.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Good
7.5
Princess Peach: Showtime! tells an interesting story in a realistic historical setting with some outstanding combat mechanics but lets its dated open-world design and poor performance drag it down.
<i>Princess Peach: Showtime!</i> tells an interesting story in a realistic historical setting with some outstanding combat mechanics but lets its dated open-world design and poor performance drag it down.Princess Peach: Showtime Review