Princess Peach: Showtime! was released a couple weeks back. For some strange reason, the game’s developer was not disclosed until release. And it turned out to be GoödFeël Company! The folks behind Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Yoshi’s Woolly World, and Yoshi’s Crafted World! And that makes perfect sense, as all these games have a few key items in common:

  1. They have amazing, all-encompassing presentations that produce memorable and distinct visuals/situations.
  2. They feature gameplay that could best be defined as “established from earlier games, but refined with a purpose.”
  3. Every stage contains a host of collectables and/or micro-goals.
  4. I lost interest in all these games by about World 3.

And I am dissecting poor Princess Peach: Showtime! to determine exactly what happened here.

Let’s look at it from the start. Initially, Princess Peach: Showtime! is an impressive little Nintendo exhibition. To be clear, this is a B-tier production, so we do not start with Peach in her underwear running out over a cliff to survey the gigantic world she is going to explore. What we do have is a cute little skit that sets up the premise (Peach gets a night off, things go poorly), the villain (grape ape), and the NPCs du jour (adorable little theatre kids called Theets). And, because Peach forgot she already had a sentient hat once this console generation, she acquires a new sidekick, Stella, the talking hair ribbon. This is relevant to Peach, as it provides an excuse to drop the abilities from her last game (where she was powered by emotions and a talking umbrella), and consolidate her default moveset to “jump” and “spin attack”. And those are some good basics! Mario conquered an entire galaxy or two with just those moves! Princess Peach is off to a great start with her first solo adventure in 19 years!

Away we goAnd it even gets better from there. The gimmick of this game is simple: each of the levels is a play, and Peach will insert herself as the star. This means that our dear princess will immediately adapt new skills and costumes to whatever situation arises, and if we need to play around with a sword for a few thousand slashes, so be it. This provides an excellent excuse to change up the gameplay continually, as a cowgirl certainly would not have the same interactions as a figure skater. And another check for the win column: while the various costumes are very different (Mighty Peach is certainly no Mermaid Peach), their controls and gameplay are simple enough to easily “change modes” between levels. Only Detective Peach really feels like an option from outside of the norm, and that is predominantly only because investigations slow things down for some deductive reasoning. Other than that diversion, Ninja Peach and Pâtissier Peach only diverge thanks to the thin difference between a kunai and a quiche trowel. Similar enough to not feel like a totally different game, but different enough to be interesting.

Well… maybe “interesting” is the wrong word, because I did want to quit about 30% of the way in…

I remember it was exactly after completing the second “floor” of Princess Peach: Showtime! This game has a pretty traditional level structure, as every floor contains four different stages, completing those stages unlocks a boss, and then a boss’s defeat will lead to the next floor. The first floor contains four different stages with four new costumes (which makes sense, as the whole game is new at that point). Meanwhile, the second floor has three new costumes, and a fourth stage that is an encore for Swordfighter Peach. Beating that stage unlocks a special third Swordfighter stage that wraps up the specific Swordfighter storyline. Complete with rescuing the Sparkla Swordfighter that originated this iteration of Peach’s new power, it is a clear statement of “you have now completed all Swordfight trials”. Congratulations, player, now see if you can beat the challenges for the other nine costumes!

And that deflated the whole of my desire to keep playing.

Kick her ass, Peach!At its core, Princess Peach: Showtime! is a collectathon. Every stage contains multiple sparkle gems to find, and one random (super friendly) dude hiding with a piece of clothing. In bit that seems to harken back to Kirby’s Dream Land 3, sparkles may be obtained through all sorts of methods. While racing through the Wild West as a cowgirl, sparkle fragments may be nabbed in an autoscrolling horseback segment (that is similar enough to vehicle portions of Mega Man X5 that it should be a crime). Meanwhile, when Peach is rocking a chef hat, making as many cookies as possible will earn additional sparkles. Between the centerpiece activities, there are often sparkles hidden around the background, or rewards for helping a Theet that has wandered off the beaten trail. In general, you are pretty much guaranteed to find a third of the collectibles (as many are rewarded for mandatory tasks), another third if you are remotely paying attention (keep an eye out for anything shining), and the last couple you will likely find on a return trip. After all, these doodads are tallied in stage-sequential order, so if you missed one, it is a fairly simple process to parse out the exact length of level where there must be something hiding. Take the time to search each of these stages twice, and you should have no problem achieving that coveted 100% rating.

And the fear of trudging through those swordfighter stages all over again is what immediately turned me off.

Look, I played Princess Peach: Showtime! after finishing Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth. That is a game that I somehow played for ninety hours, and did not 100% complete. But I beat a big-damned majority of it! And this is despite gigantic chunks of it being completion-for-completion’s sake. I did not need to activate every Chocobo Stop and Decommissioned Tower, but I did. I did not need to max out those ridiculous folio grids, but I did. And I certainly did not need to spend hours racing flightless birds for some dweeb named Billy, but I unequivocally did. The “main plot” of Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth is fun and engaging, but I often ignored it for days just so I could futz around while jumping on mushrooms to find moogles. Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth even has ridiculous outfit changes! And a prominent theatre! Just like Princess Peach: Showtime! Toss Aerith in a mermaid costume for her big stage debut, and you would not be able to tell the difference!

I AM STEALTHYExcept there is one key difference between the gameplay of these two games. Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth ties its completion rate to discoveries, while Princess Peach: Showtime! presents a checklist. FF7:R employs a gigantic open world where you may find chocobo tracks or a rare fiend while traipsing over to your next goal. The simple act of following a dog to a village (while insane jazz music plays) may illuminate no less than ten different possible side quests while you are running around. Peach… just has a checklist. You can find something at any point in these ten-minute stages, but if you miss something, it is not like you are going to find it again “by accident”. You must return to the stage, analyze your surroundings with a fine-tooth comb, and only make any headway once you have discovered the (likely esoteric) solution. It plays like taking a biology test. Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth plays like a road trip. And I can certainly tell you which of those two choices is a bit more fun.

Princess Peach: Showtime! is a great game. Its presentation is tops, the various transformations are fun, and it is hard to think of a single piece of media that could rival its overflowing sense of personality. But it is also a game that gives you homework. It is a game that sets requirements that can only be achieved through repetition, and completing a stage also means learning why you haven’t completed a thing. You have your 70% finished report card right here, and are you going to sit around and be happy with a barely passing grade? It is supposed to encourage replay value, but in the end…

Oh! Speaking of the end, I just beat the game. What’s that? This now unlocks a whole new “challenge” where you must repeat all of the levels, but now there are even more hidden thingamabobs to find?

Excuse me, princess, but there are other games I could be playing right now…

SBC #34 Princess Peach & Princess Peach: Showtime!

Princess Peach in Super Smash Bros Ultimate


  • She any Good? One of the best, bar none. Great moveset, floaty jump, military-grade weaponized butt: what more could you want? Yes, she is a little fragile, but she can also span practically the entire horizontal length of a stage in the air, so her recovery recovers.
  • That final smash work? One of the best, again. You don’t have to aim! You barely have to look at the screen! And then you either collect your peaches, or smack your opponents with a golf club until they cannot feel feelings anymore.
  • The background work? This Princess Peach’s Castle is the version that originated in Melee, and features that part of the castle you can only access if you have 120 stars. So, should this be a Yoshi stage? No matter! A pretty good spot here, though it is marred by those bullet bill invasions. I want to slap Ridley to death in peace and not be afraid of exploding armaments, thank you.
  • Classic Mode: No Damsel in Distress sees Peach defeating the most notorious kidnappers in the cast. Wendy Koopa winds up being the only other woman involved. Master Hand is at the end, because I guess those omnipotent appendages technically kidnapped everybody. This seems like an obvious situation where Giga Bowser should have been the finale, but he is only second best.
  • First Appearance: Maybe it is a side effect of using her so much in Melee, but I am pretty sure Princess Peach plays just about the same at her debut. I am blind to change in loved ones? Maybe those vegetables are a little stronger…
  • Smash Trivia: In polite society, we do not talk about Peach being banned for possible bob-omb plucking.
  • Say hi to the gals

  • Amiibo Corner: I’m seeing double! Four Peaches! Smash Peach is beckoning an opponent with zero waist and 90% dress. Party Peach may have had a lobotomy, and is matching Daisy as a sentient bell. Wedding Peach is meant to be between two other Amiibo, and otherwise just looks very confused and/or surprised to be here. My favorite is Cat Peach, as the costume has a lovely faux “material” that simulates pajamas. Princess Peach should be comfortable during at least one adventure.
  • Does Smash Bros Remember Today’s Game? We got some retroactive spirits, but that is about it. I was always disappointed that Peach’s previous solo outing did not influence her moveset at all (at least reskin the soul of her parasol!), so I very much doubt a Smash entry will include a parrying Sword Peach. Prove me wrong, future!

Princess Peach in Princess Peach: Showtime!

  • OBJECTION!System: If you imagined anything other than Nintendo Switch, you probably do not understand how copyright works.
  • Number of players: Daisy is once again told to stay home. One peach.
  • Say something nice: If you have full health, and collect a heart, Peach earns extra coins instead of health. Considering the game allows for practically zero backtracking once a stage has begun, this is quite the boon. It is slightly marred by always having more money than you would ever need… But still! More games should monetarily reward you for not taking damage.
  • Head canon corner: Is Peach ever in danger throughout this adventure? Considering she loses a “heart” for making improper deductions as Detective Peach, I am willing to state that “hearts” are not health in this game, but performance points. Get hit by too many kung-fu grapes or fall in too many pits, and the audience loses interest, and the play ends. Peach doesn’t die, she just has to rehearse again!
  • Favorite Play/Costume: Cowgirl Peach stages include horseracing sections, which work for ending the stage faster. … That sounds bad… I just like forward momentum! But the cowgirl lasso also leads to some fun “barrel grab/throw” gameplay that feels liberally borrowed from Donkey Kong Country. And that’s great! I love that franchise! And it hasn’t seen an entry in 10,000 yearsCitation needed!
  • Best Part: Pâtissier Peach has a phenomenal idle animation.

    Two step

    I have many problems with this game, but this justifies the whole endeavor.

  • An End: As expected, Peach earns herself a Super Saiyan transformation/costume for the final boss, and then the whole thing turns into a shoot ‘em up. On one hand, I will always chastise a game for introducing shoot ‘em up gameplay for a finale when shoot ‘em up skills did not exist in the game at any prior point (give or take Mighty Peach flying through the skies with a 2-D punch). On the other hand, in a game that was already pretty Kirby, they found a way to make the final boss exactly a Kirby final boss. So partial credit for letting Peach experience her own Nightmare Wizard.
  • Did you know? If I had a nickel for every time an established Nintendo character starred in a videogame on the Nintendo Switch about obtaining a magical, sentient head accessory that allowed them to absorb the skills and abilities of others, I’d have two nickels. Which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice.
  • Would I play again: Probably not. I loved this game for an hour, but quickly lost interest for (SEE ENTIRE ARTICLE). I hate to throw in with the sour grapes, but I am unlikely to ask Princess Peach for an encore.

What’s next? The King of the Iron Fist has to earn his crown once again. Please look forward to it!

Sliding on down

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