REVIEW | Princess Peach Showtime

REVIEW | Princess Peach Showtime

Princess Peach Showtime is a great title for younger fans of the Mario franchise that doesn’t star the red or green mustachio’d plumber for once. My daughter has been looking forward to this release for ages, so it’s not to be underestimated how meaningful female heroes are for younger girls. The fact that this also very forgiving and on the easy side is only a boon for her as she found confidence in being able to play.

For me, it was the perfect palette cleanser in between giant RPGs releasing back-to-back in the first quarter of 2024 and I welcomed the colourful spectacle with both arms open.

In this game, Princess Peach is invited to watch a few shows at the theater, but the evil Madame Grape kidnaps the main performers and now it’s your turn to don their outfits and save the day!

Let’s walk the red carpet, visit the theater and see what show is on offer for us!

ℹ️ Reviewed on Nintendo Switch| Review code provided by Nintendo, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.


Things I liked!

  • It’s easy | This feels like a weird element to start with, but it defines who Princess Peach is for. It’s clear this game was made with a younger audience in mind: you have the expected “jump” button, though it rarely requires precision timing or platforming and an action button that varies in effect depending on the outfit Peach is wearing in the current play. My daughter had no issue picking this up and understanding what to do. Even in the few levels that did offer a little bit of challenge, the game offers a kind “would you like to skip until the ending?” option so they can at least experience the entire game. And that doesn’t mean the game doesn’t look epic while performing relatively simple moves, you often feel like a real badass.
  • It looks amazing | The Switch hardware is showing its age, but damn if the Nintendo exclusives aren’t holding their own. What they lack in visual prowess they make up for in design. Princess Peach Showtime looks amazing, especially in handheld mode on the OLED Switch. The shadows and lighting are spectacular, the visual effects are impressive and it’s so bravely colourful at every turn that I can’t look away from it.

    The stage-play aesthetics are amazing and remind me of some of the Paper Mario games, with cardboard cutouts or floating elements suspended on strings. Spotlights shine the way to important objectives and some of the animated decorations in the background actually look like stage props. It’s a visual treat!
  • Sounds good too | The soundtrack and visual effects are also up to snuff and accompany the action in a fitting way. For fans of the songs, you can even access the in-game jukebox from the menu. I was just missing a little voice acting, an opinion I shared in most of my recent Mario franchise reviews. With a full-feature movie out, it’s time to bring a voice to these characters and give them more than just a handful of catchphrases.
  • Plenty to collect | Each level has hidden Sparks and you only need a few of them to progress the story, so finding the optional ones is always a treat. You can also find hidden dresses for Peach or ribbon designs for her new floating companion. The money you earn can also be used to buy both and in the post-game, you can even decorate the theatre to your own liking.
  • The different customes all feel unique | Throughout the game you’ll find 12 customes to wear, each with its own unique ability and a level to showcase it in. Some, like the Swordfighter’s are relatively straightforward action sequences where you just use the attack button close enough to an enemy and that is enough for a victory. But the combo-heavy kung-fu warrior or the stealthy ninja already add enough to the mix to feel different.

    Then there are wildly different levels like figureskating Peach, who plays like Elsa in Disney on Ice, or cowboy Peach, who can whip enemies and throw them at others. You can also decorate cakes as a baker or investigate clues as a detective. They’re all interesting, for a while but don’t outstay their welcome.

For those interested, here are all of the outfits in the game:

  • Kung-fu Peach (timed action)
  • Swordmaster Peach (action)
  • Baker Peach (cooking minigames)
  • Superhero Peach (action + 2D sidescrolling space shooter)
  • Ninja Peach (action & stealth)
  • Cowboy Peach (action + chase sequences)
  • Detective Peach (slow sleuthing)
  • Mermaid Peach (singing)
  • Figureskating Peach (timed actions & jumps)
  • Dashing Thief (platforming & hacking)
  • ??? (final bossfight only, so I won’t spoil)

Neither good nor bad

  • The story | Most Mario games don’t need a solid story outside of ‘save the kidnapped princess’ but that wasn’t an option here, so instead it’s Peach that does the saving and the pour Sparklas are the ones in need of rescue. You can chat with a ton of NPC’s around the various floors of the theatre, but rarely do they share any real story content or explain much outside of the show they should be playing. The narrative is not exactly a driving factor.
  • Some outfits missed the mark | Looking for clues as a detective is rather boring and the outcome is always super predictable, so it feels like going through the motions. And then there is Mermaid Peach, which requires aimed singing and controlling fish to do your bidding, but the singing sounds terrible and some of the sequences feel badly balanced, but more on this later. Not every type of gameplay will be for everyone, but you only have to play 3 levels with each.

Things I disliked!

  • Slow loading screens | Loading a level takes ages, and the loading screen visibly stutters as it tries to prep all the assets for the coming level. It’s really jarring, both docked and in handheld mode, and adds to the frustration with the point below…
  • FOMO-hell | I love to complete the games I play 100% but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it in Princess Peach Showtime. Many of the collectable “sparks” require precision timing or knowing in advance where they will show up and where you had to position yourself, but there is no “retry from checkpoint”. When you fail to earn a collectable, the only way to attempt it again is to replay the entire level, unskippable cutscenes and annoying load-times included. It’s INFURIATING game-design and has no business in a 2024 release outside of padding the total playtime.

    And just like in some other similar 2D Mario or Kirby games, you only found out that you missed a Spark once you collect the next one in the sequence, but with no way of backtracking to the previous scene. When you do replay a level to find a missing collectable, you also have to beat the entire level again to cash it in.
  • Poor balancing | Remember how I said the game was easy? Well, to complete the game, you’ll be pulling your hair out. I would have, if I still had any left on my head. There are optional mini-games that feel completely unfair, but even some main-game sequences almost felt impossible to me without memorisation, which devoids it of all fun. It’s not needed to see the credits roll, but if you want to go for 100% completion, you’re in for a hard ride, surprisingly. Making me wonder who they were aiming for.

How long did I play the review before publishing? 8 hours
How long to beat the story? 7 hours
How long to complete? | ~10 hours if you’re good, could be 15+ if you have bad luck.
You’ll love this game if you like these | Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, Super Mario Bros Wonder


80/100Princess Peach Showtime pirouettes onto the scene, delivering a standing ovation-worthy performance that’s easy enough for kids, but dazzling for all ages, proving you don’t need a mustache to save the day.

However, with slow-loading scenes and some gamedesign that misses the mark, it’s a bit like a costume change that takes too long – you love the show, but you’re itching for the next act. A delightful visit to the theatre that occasionally trips over its own cape, yet never fails to entertain.