Princess Peach Showtime
Image via Nintendo

Princess Peach: Showtime Almost Hooks You In But It’s Missing Something (Review)

Taking the stage in Princess Peach: Showtime is a delight for fans of the Mario universe. Playing as the iconic heroine, players must liberate a theater from an evil Grape, but the plays are not quite showstoppers.

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Princess Peach: Showtime has players take the role of Peach, who enters the Sparkle Theater intent on watching a hit show, only to find herself the main character of a disastrous Grape takeover. The main focus of the game is to work through each show featured in the theater with the help of the magical star Stella’s abilities, which change depending on the outfit Peach is wearing.

Platforming Devolves Into Minigames

Princess Peach Showtime Cake Decoration
Image via Nintendo

The level system in Princess Peach: Showtime will be familiar to fans of the Mario games. Each floor of the Theater has a selection of plays that must be attempted to move to the next location. For example, the first floor has four different players Peach must perform. However, unlike Super Mario Wonder, these levels don’t feel tied together in any way other than Stella’s abilities and Peach’s change in outfit.

The lack of cohesion makes every level feel like a minigame, where the objectives aren’t clearly laid out. What makes Mario Wonder so addictive is its clear, rhythmic purpose – tackle the level, find the Wonder Seeds, ride out the bizarre experience, and defeat the level to move forward. In Princess Peach: Showtime, players must master a new minigame in almost every level, from sneaking as a ninja to baking cookies.

While these minigames are fun, they feel too simple. Baking has players mashing the same button repeatedly to manifest fully baked cookies from the batter while sneaking as a ninja automatically activates when Peach stands against something instead of actively running. The most difficult part of gameplay is figuring out how to obtain all the stars for the level, though not collecting all of them doesn’t penalize Peach’s ability to move on after the play concludes.

Peach’s Outfits Are Adorable

Princess Peach Showtime Stella Combat
Image via Nintendo

One of the best elements of Princess Peach: Showtime is Peach’s wardrobe. Using Stella’s magic, Peach gets a different outfit on every level – and each one has a special ability. I had a blast watching Peach swordfight in pants instead of a dress, and stealth-hit enemies as a Ninja. The only downside to these cute clothing options is that we can’t switch between them as far as I have found when tackling different levels. Completing the task in each show is tied directly to the outfit’s special ability, though outfits repeat in certain storylines.

My personal favorite Peach outfits were the Detective and the Mermaid. They give the Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom a different look and offer more depth to her personality than previously seen in other games.

The Storyline Isn’t Going to Make Headlines

Princess Peach: Showtime is an entertaining game that will keep fans of Peach busy. However, the story is a bit of a letdown. There isn’t much in the way of a main plot for a game based entirely on different plays. The Sparkle Theater is taken over by Grape, an evil villain who leads up the Sour Bunch. Her goal is to turn every play showing in the Theater into a tragedy, leaving miserable Theets in her wake.

And that is the entire plot. Peach fights the Sour Bunch, rescues Theets using Stella’s magic, and repeats this process in play after play. The stakes are so low that it doesn’t encourage the player to plow forward, and there is little incentive to understand where the story goes. It is a Mario game, and these are primarily about the tasks, platforming, and sidescrolling combat, but this game just feels like it’s missing the story element that a narrative about shows in a theater would need to be interesting. In short, unless being played in bursts, it can be relatively boring.

Princess Peach: Showtime is For Kids

While the story may not be the best option for adult fans of Peach and Mario, the game is perfect for kids. The simple mechanics, easy controls, and straightforward plot make it a great place for younger gamers to join in on Mario as a series.

It is refreshing to see a female character take the lead in a game from this franchise and in a way that gives her power and autonomy as a hero. It’s an excellent way to show that girls can be swordfighters, too, even if their favorite clothing is a ballgown and not a suit of armor. It’s fun and likely to appeal to the attention span of younger audiences.

Overall, Princess Peach: Showtime is a solid game that runs well and offers a variety of ways to enjoy Peach as a character. This game may be better suited for younger audiences and it may keep older fans engaged with the different minigames available. It’s no Super Mario Wonder, but it isn’t a bad pick, and the low stakes are perfect for fans looking to simply kick back and play casually.


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Author
Laura Gray
Laura Gray is the Managing Editor for Gamepur, a writer for the Escapist, and an avid Pokemon, Dungeons & Dragons, and farming sim enthusiast. They spend their time chasing their toddler, playing casual Pokemon TCG matches, and destroying the kitchen with cooking projects. Laura's previous work can be seen at Screen Rant and Dexerto, and they can be contacted at [email protected].