Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?

Find out in our review whether the grand finale of Nintendo Switch with Princess Peach Showtime deserves the throwing of roses or tomatoes

We wouldn't even know how to open it reviewbecause each facet of Princess Peach Showtime imbues the incipit with irony. Yes, both this game and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Portal are linked to the theater stage in their iconography, acting as a double grand finale to the life cycle of Nintendo Switch. True, the princess actually returns to “steal the show” twenty years later Super Princess Peach for Nintendo DS, as the harem set up by IIDEA was happy to point out. But, in the end, the mustache preferred to push the monarch forward, remaining behind the scenes, leaving the damsel with the role of satisfying her audience. Which, incidentally, we are the editors of.

This title is many things, which is perhaps its only real problem. Marketing is so much about the aspect of girl power and the subversion of expectations on damsel in distress, a role that in reality the princess has abandoned several times both in the spinoffs (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football) and in the actual adventures (Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Super Mario RPG). The reality of the facts, rather, is that the game entrusts them with this pretext (yes, in part it is) a mixed fry of gameplay ideas which, while not clashing with each other, never really do anything expressly linked to the Mariesco microcosm. Such is the “late 3DS” era of the console, we suppose.

General rehearsals | Princess Peach Review: Showtime!

Appropriately enough given the theatrical nature of the whole thing, we open the review with the plot of Princess Peach Showtime. Mind you: the faint link with the rest of the imagination of the mustache, that is a narrative segment that is not very deep, does not deny the game from spreading a more lively story than usual (with dialogues on par with role-playing games) around the levels. Basically, the sweet ruler finds herself away to visit the Shining Theatrebut both she and the native inhabitants are immediately taken hostage by Gooseberry and from his Company of Musts. It will be up to Peach and the theater keeper, Stellasave the local stars and restore order.

Most benevolent non-player characters consist of Theaterwith a face similar to that of the Wigglers for the most accustomed Mario fans in the world, whose It shone they represent celebrities from the acting sphere (or celebrities in general, given the theatrical culture of the place). During their imprisonment, however, the protagonist of the game will have the task of also put yourself at the metanarrative center (cough, cough) of the levels themselves. Each stage represents a different play supported by stage devices, rotating stages and so on. The emotions at the basis of acting are like lifeblood for the Teatrì, hence the “mood” attack of the Splendore which, painfully or not, pays homage to the very same power of Super Princess Peach from which this sequel seemed to want to distance itself.

Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?

The stage | Princess Peach Review: Showtime!

Except for the gimmicks entailed by the costumes (more on that in a moment), the level design almost always presents itself as a platformer lineare and, for the prelude that precedes the costumes, perhaps below some standards (certainly those of the Big N). Peach's jump, especially, doesn't come close to matching the mobility options the princess boasts elsewhere. If nothing else, the level structure contours adequately to accommodate this platforming “weakness”. In the foreground, rather, there is a use of “one-way streets” already seen in the Kirby series, clear inspiration also behind the antagonist, as well as the aforementioned narration also divided into the stages.

We mentioned the one-sided level design of the various Kirbys because the Gems of Splendour to collect often give the title its longevity requiring you to replay a level just as often. There are many ways to obtain Gems to collect. Some can be found during regular gameplay, still others must be composed by collecting the various segments necessary to reconstruct them. Then there are the more fraudulent ones, often hidden behind them minigames and time challenges not repeatable beyond the aforementioned repetition of the entire level. In this sense, it cannot be said that the game does not know how to find intriguing methods to be enjoyed on several occasions. Or, to put it more directly, dilute the broth.

Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?

The costume designer | Princess Peach Review: Showtime!

There are two types of transformations in the game. The one most suitable for platformer lovers assigns to Peach a real moveset, broader, which can range from offensive to evasive skills. An example above all is Peach the swordsman, whose jumps transform into agile dodges if taken during an enemy attack. Performing an attack with the same timing while brandishing the sword, meanwhile, results in a soulslike parry. Outside of what we saw in the demo, however, we have other “action” transformations. An example above all is Peach, the mysterious thief, who has a grappling hook thanks to which she can evade lasers and other dangers. The other examples are plentiful, as you will have clearly guessed from the trailer at the top of the article.

They will change the cards on the table even more the costumes that turn the entire gameplay upside down. With the demo, we saw Peach the pastry chef and her ability to turn level progress into a Mario Party-style minigame. However, this is far from the only example. To give an example, taking the reins of Peach Detective transforms the flow of the title into a real cubic root graphic adventure, along the lines of Detective Pikachu: Returns. The gameplay roulettewhich sometimes alters the level design by deepening the platforming and on other occasions takes the same liberty with the game design as a whole, It's the real highlight of the game.

Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?

The antagonist | Princess Peach Review: Showtime!

Without the alteration brought about by customs, then, what remains? For anyone who wants to see Peach struggling with a more traditional platformer with abilities exclusive to her, we refer you to Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury. The level design is presented in an abbreviated version in the special levels in which to save the Splendì, as a definitive challenge dedicated to each skill. Secrets remain to be discovered, between Gems of Splendore and stage machinery highlighted by the spotlights to reach them, before the fateful clash with a miniboss who can also appear in normal levels. Which is more frequent than a “normal” achievement, if you think about it.

Whether reduced or not, i boss they can appear in any type of level: what they always have in common is a puzzle game component, which makes them impossible to face in an “ignorant” way like any normal enemy. On the contrary: in the manner of Crash Bandicoot, there are specific moments of vulnerability to exploit to strike, and they are not always as obvious as they may seem. It's about a (minimal) surge in challenge rate who can also show up in the minigames involving the more “relaxed” costumes (the aforementioned timed minigames). Even without costumes there are some real highlights. In this sense, we highlight the second main boss, who wonderfully mimics the Scarecrow of Batman Arkham Asylum.

Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?

The foyer | Princess Peach Review: Showtime!

The central hub then acts as a central hub foyer of the Shining Theatre. Here there is a second design choice inspired by Crash Bandicoot. Every floor of the theater grants access to four levels (or more, in the case of the Splendì trapped in the dungeon), with the addition of two more services to the ground floor. The first consists of a Photo album, which (without beating around the bush too much) acts as a litmus test for completionists. In fact, whenever the player manages to obtain all the Gems of Splendor in a level, the relevant “postcard” is added to the album. Not that any particular incentive is needed. Without having enough Gems, the end of the world boss is not unlocked.

The second is the shop where to spend the coins collected in the levels. In fact, there are customization elements for the princess, which make her as much a virtual doll (girl power permitting) as her castle in Super Mario 64 DS was a doll's house. By spending coins at the shop (as well as obtaining i flakessecret elements to obtain in a similar way to the most hidden Gems of Splendour) you obtain the alternative costumes for the gracious sovereign. By always paying, or saving the Splendì, it is possible to do the same with Stella, altering the color of the flake during basic attacks.

Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?

La performance | Review Princess Peach: Showtime!

The curtain has fallen and the performers parade on stage: it's time to understand whether to applaud or not, starting from graphics department. The animations are very well done for everyone. It starts from Peach's slip on the handrails to the princely manner with which she holds up her dress, then moving on to the awkward movements of the Teatrì and the ramshackle Compagnia dei Mosti. Similarly, the art direction openly inspired by the Kirby series never hurts. Or almost, to the detriment perhaps of the occasional limping gait on the part of the framerate. Since we bothered Kirby, it must be said that everything is taken care of by GoodFeel (which made good progress compared to Yoshi's Crafted World): a fact that Nintendo, for whatever reason, did not make known (as happened with ArtePiazza, after all).

So what can we say about the sonorous? For what concern dubbing, obviously it is only from Peach that we can expect a real voice, but in this sense Samantha Kelly has done a great job with the new clips of the princess. However, we are pleased to take back a criticism leveled at the soundtrack of the game in our preview: the scores are much less repetitive than we had previously expected, giving life to a varied musical (also in a literal sense, in the case of Mermaid Peach) that dedicates variations on the theme depending on the setting. From koto with the Japanese setting of Peach ninja to the bluegrass sounds of adventures in the far west, nothing is truly missing. Without even relying on the “usual” Mariesque melodies!

Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?Princess Peach Showtime review: “well done, encore” or “curtain, please”?

The play is over, applaud!

And this is how the review of Princess Peach Showtime ends: watching, from the front row in front of the stage, the prezzo printed on the ticket, although the critics say nothing. Also in this case as often happens in the case of the Big N, it is about sixty euros. A price, this, which unlike a random The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom may be easier to digest for some and less justifiable for others. It all depends on the bubble the game exists in. Yes, this one It's a fun and well-constructed adventurebut with a “anthology” gameplay (see LIVE A LIVE in this sense) which,…