Princess Peach: Showtime! finally lets Peach star again in a charming, simple adventure

For the first time in almost twenty years, Princess Peach is starring in her own game. However, her new adventure has a familiar feel to it in Super Mario style: a kidnapping has occurred and it’s up to a hero from the Mushroom Kingdom to save the day.

The kidnapping in the case of Princess Peach: Showtime! is a playhouse, the Sparkle Theater, that has been taken over by a villain known as Grape and her henchmen the Sour Bunch. With the help of an adorable ribbon fairy named Stella, Peach embarks on a series of plays and performances to free the theater from its captors.

Thanks to Stella – sort of Show Time‘s version of Cappy Super Mario Odyssey — Peach can transform into various theatrical roles. In a stage based on a Japanese historical piece, Peach can become a ninja, using stealth mechanics and a pair of deadly daggers to take down guards. As Ninja Peach during a practice session, I avoided spotlights that would reveal my position by sneaking through the grass and using a bamboo snorkel while hiding underwater. I felt a bit like Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden as I wall-jumped onto rooftops and stabbed enemies.

Tactical spy action, Princess Peach style
Image: Nintendo

In another phase, I became Patisserie Peach, a baker who whipped up cookies in timing-based mini-games and decorated cakes with a piping bag. This was surprisingly more challenging than being a ninja; While dangling over a giant cake, I tried to match a pattern of buttercream decorations as directed by some friendly bakers.

Show Time expands Peach’s repertoire in several ways. By acquiring a special ribbon power-up in each play-themed stage, Peach can transform into a cowgirl, a swordsman, a figure skater, a kung fu master and more. Nintendo recently revealed that Mermaid Peach, Mighty Peach and Dashing Thief Peach are also in the game.

Playing as one of these transformations is quite easy. There are really only two buttons players need to worry about: jump and skill. As Cowgirl Peach, my action consisted of throwing a lasso to confuse the Sour Bunch lackeys and barrels I could throw. In the case of Swordfighter Peach, the actions are stabs and swipes with a saber. In certain situations, Peach can also counter an enemy’s attack, but I found most of these moves felt automatic. As Ninja Peach, every time I was caught by a guard I simply lost the life value of a heart (Peach normally seems to have five), which I could easily recover later.

Patisserie Peach decorates a giant pastry surrounded by baker Theets in a screenshot from Princess Peach: Showtime!

How well you give blowjobs determines how many stars you get
Image: Nintendo

Whatever punishments there are Princess Peach: Showtime! are forgiving. This is a game aimed at a younger audience who might like Nintendo games Super Mario Odyssey or Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze a bit too challenging. Perhaps that challenge will increase somewhat in later levels.

For long-time Nintendo fans looking for a challenge, Show Time offers that in a series of collectibles and hidden areas in each stage. Peach can use her ribbon to change certain props in the environment, granting her coins and power-ups. And scattered throughout each piece are hidden stars and secret rooms. The latter can only be accessed via the game’s third button – pose, which is mapped to the Switch’s ZL and ZR triggers – when under a special spotlight. I found a few of these rooms during my quick playthrough, and they were fun discoveries.

While Princess Peach: Showtime! may not have the depth and challenge of other Nintendo platformers, but it does have charm to spare. Each stage’s set is full of beautifully rendered props and adorable supporting characters, little boys named Theets. And secret rooms are depicted as the backstages of a theater, full of storage containers and scaffolding that support the stage. Entering these backstage areas helps with sales Show Time‘s aesthetic of a vast, magical theater.

Swordsman Peach dodges a Sour Bunch spear thrower in a screenshot from Princess Peach: Showtime!

Swordsman Peach can dodge and riposte her enemies
Image: Nintendo

There were other standout moments in my demo as well. As Ninja Peach, I got to ride a giant, destructive Hokusai wave decoration. As figure skater Peach, I spun and jumped, skated backwards with beautiful animations, and then faced a silly evil ice dancer during a skate-off. As Cowgirl Peach, I took part in a thrilling horse chase, bringing the evil Sour Bunch gang to justice with my lasso. Like it Super Mario Bros. Miracle, Princess Peach: Showtime! seems to be full of big, stage-changing moments.

However, one worrying thing I noticed during my playtime: Princess Peach: Showtime! ran pretty rough on the Nintendo Switch. Loading screens and other transitions occurred at a very choppy frame rate, a technical issue I was surprised to see in a first-party Nintendo game. Hopefully these performance issues can be resolved before launch.

However, that is very fast. Princess Peach: Showtime! coming to Nintendo Switch on March 22.