Princess Peach: Showtime! Sounds Like A Stylish, If Simplistic, Platformer

Image: Nintendo
Image: Nintendo

Nearly two decades after Super Princess Peach released on the Nintendo DS, the titular leading lady is finally getting another chance at headlining her own game. Princess Peach: Showtime! opens the metaphorical theater doors for players worldwide on March 22, but reviews for the game are out now and will give you an idea of what to expect. Overall the reception to the platformer is mixed, with praise for Peach getting a chance to stand on her own, but some disappointment at the lack of mechanical depth.

Showtime! is another platformer set in the Mario universe, but it’s Peach taking center stage for once. The game begins with our leading lady going out to enjoy a nice evening at the Sparkle Theater until the venue is taken over by the villainous Sour Bunch led by the evil Grape. To save the theater and its many residents, Peach is granted the power to join the many plays being performed there. This means dressing up in a plethora of cute outfits that determine different gameplay mechanics, like Swordfighter Peach letting you cut through enemies and obstacles on stage such as vines that block your way forward, or Ninja Peach allowing you to sneak past vigilant enemies.

Based on critics’ early access for review purposes, the game is currently sitting at a 75 on Metacritic and a 77 on Open Critic. Polygon’s Nicole Carpenter praised Princess Peach: Showtime! for giving Peach the starring role she deserves, saying that it is “everything I wanted in a game as a little girl.” Digital Trends’ Giovanni Colantonio liked Showtime! but noted unevenness in the game’s abilities, which makes it feel “like a dress rehearsal for the real show.”

Here’s what reviewers are saying about Peach’s new solo outing:

Image: Nintendo
Image: Nintendo

IGN: 7/10

Princess Peach: Showtime! is more closely aligned with Kirby and Yoshi’s simple, cheery romps rather than Mario’s polished platformers and Luigi’s haunted mansions. There’s fun to be found in the Sparkle Theater, as these delightfully simplified takes on some of gaming’s most popular genres are entertaining to blast through, and the whimsical stage play aesthetic gives Peach’s game an identity all its own. I’m also thrilled that Nintendo is finally giving Peach another crack at her own solo outing after nearly two decades, and I hope this is the start of an ongoing spinoff series within the wider Mario universe. Some noticeable performance issues and the frustrating lack of a chapter select means I won’t be returning for an encore, and I wish there were a few extra levels to lengthen the somewhat brief campaign, but Nintendo and Princess Peach at least know how to put on a good show.

Digital Trends: 3/5

While Princess Peach: Showtime! is full of inventive fun, there are moments where I can’t help but feel like something’s being held back. Rather than getting the total reinvention of Captain Toad or Luigi’s Mansion, we’re left with a spinoff that’s careful not to stray too far from a newly unified Mario look and feel. Maybe that comes from a more protective Nintendo that’s careful not to repeat the flaws of its heavily dissected Super Princess Peach. Or maybe it’s just some first-performance jitters as Nintendo tries to give Peach the solo adventure she deserves.

Eurogamer: 4/5

Princess Peach: Showtime! allows Peach to wear whatever she feels like. She can sing, or swim. She can fight through stealth, or brute force. All of Showtime!’s variation and tenderness stops it from ever becoming a boring “girlboss” game - Peach wants, more than anything, to save the plucky Theets from harm, and protect the sanctity of their theater. Showtime! never tries to manufacture some artificial connection to manhood and its associates: domination, coarseness, cruelty. Women are not worms. They’re limitless. Some of them have wet, wide eyes and smooth swatches of silk, and it’s not embarrassing or childish - it’s the product of soft, eloquent desire.


Princess Peach: Showtime! is not only a game that makes me feel like a kid, but a game I wish I had as a little girl. I was originally drawn to The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey & Minnie because I wanted to play as Minnie. I wanted to play as a girl — and not just a girl, but a female character who was an equal to the male character. Thirty years ago, there just weren’t those sorts of options. It’s hard to believe that Nintendo would take so long to make another Peach game — and one that’s wholly unique in the Super Mario Bros. franchise — because at this point, it’s a no-brainer. I’ve got no doubt that tons of little kids will delight in what Princess Peach: Showtime! offers

Inverse: 7/10

In the end, Princess Peach: Showtime! hits the mark way more often than it misses it. Despite not committing to the bit with its story, its aesthetics run wild with the theatrical premise, never failing to evoke glee. And while its shallow gameplay left me somewhat unsatisfied, the moments when it throws caution to the wind for train heists, table-flipping martial arts fights, and full-on space shooter segments are undeniably great. Princess Peach: Showtime’s simplicity and variety make it easy to recommend as a game for younger players. For everyone else, Princess Peach: Showtime! will probably leave you underwhelmed, but it’s still an enjoyable night at the theater while it lasts.

GameSpot: 7/10

Princess Peach Showtime is a friendly, inviting game that’s made to be easy to digest. Some of the genres work better than others in this format, but none of them are too tricky or off-putting, and most of it will come down to personal taste. None of these stages are fleshed out enough to support their own game, but they’re an invitation for novice gamers to explore a bunch of different game types, with a charming (and apparently polymath) princess offering her gloved hand to welcome them in.

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