Princess Peach: Showtime!

Nintendo Switch action

When it was first announced that Mattel’s famous toy doll Barbie was going to have her own major film, it didn’t muster up much enthusiasm. And considering how bad many of the toys-to-film projects that have made it to the big screen have been, it’s no surprise.

Not that neither Warner Bros. Or Mattel care, with the film easily joining the exclusive $1 billion box office club and giving it a very pink makeover.

Another character who enjoys a little pink is Princess Peach. She has been sidelined as the romantic interest of a certain Italian plumber, for some considerable years now, but is finally allowed to get her pink on in her own game, which literally sees her take to the stage and bask in a constant spotlight.

boom reviews Princess Peach Showtime!
I don't need no plumber looking after me!

When one of Princess Peach’s toads brings a flyer to her attention, it piques her interest, as it advertises plays on at the Sparkle Theatre. Being a fan of the arts she decides to attend, only to be greeted by the evil Madame Grape, who has taken over the theatre and is causing all manner of mayhem across the boards.

With the help of Stella, the twinkly guardian of the theatre, Peach decides that she will do what she can to clear the theatre out of Grape’s Sour Bunch gang, so that normal service may resume. So with an impressive number of costume changes, Princess Peach takes to the stage to save the day.

boom reviews - Princess Peach Showtime!
And that horsey, is why I don't take the train anymore.

Just as many did with Barbie, it would be wrong of gamers to quickly dismiss this title as a silly cash-in for girls. This is a hugely impressive and creative outing for the princess, as she show’s Mario and the gang on how to really put on a show.

All the action takes place on a 2D plane, moving left to right, as well as some up and down; however, within this space, Peach has the ability to also move back and forth a little within it, giving the game play some extra depth, literally speaking.

Each stage has its own production, which sees Peach take on a different persona, which includes swordfighter, ninja, cowgirl, detective, figure skater, patisserie, mighty and mermaid. Each persona has its own costume and special ability, giving each stage a unique feel. It may sound like each stage is a set of mini-games, but it’s more than that, with each having its own story to tell. The task in each stage is to collect sparkle gems, which although you don’t need all of them to finish the stage, they are worth collecting as they open up various other sections of the theatre as a whole.

Another mistake to make is to dismiss it as a simplified adventure, so that it can be completed easier enough by a younger gaming audience. And although the controls are simplified to movement with the joystick and two buttons – jump and attack – the princess has some challenging moments ahead of her, regardless of your gaming prowess. This will soon become apparent when you find yourself going through a number of stages only to realise that you haven’t collected the full set of stars for each. This only adds to the game’s replayable value, because those empty star holes above the door will eat away at you.

The fact that each stage has its own theme, which admittedly are repeated at various times, so Peach gets to wear certain costumes more than once, give this game a wonderful sense of variety; at one point you’re walking in front of a wall with wallpaper as a disguise so as not to be caught as a ninja, while at others you’re sitting on a swing, decorating cakes. It’s incredibly playful, and hugely entertaining, as well as being superbly creative as in Peach as a detective solving crimes, and Peach as a mermaid whose songs mesmerise fish who then do her bidding. It’s the type of game with so many little details that will just make you smile, young or old.

Make no mistake about it, this is an engaging and imaginative game that the likes of Mario and the like can learn from. Yes it’s cutesy and colourful, but there’s no denying the game is almost embarrassingly charming at times.

Is it an easy game? Not necessarily, but it’s certainly very accessible. The game even tells you, as it did on more than once occasion for us we’re not embarrassed to say, that it can give you a couple of more stars if you’re finding one stage particularly difficult, so although it won’t be the most challenging game you would have played this year, it’s safe to say that it may well be one of the most rewarding, as its full to the brim with classic Nintendo magic.

It’s been a long time coming for Peach to shine, with her only other leading role being in 2005’s Super Princess Peach on the Nintendo DS, but she really puts on a helluva virtuoso performance here, making her very much a star and leading lady in her own right.

we give this four out of five