Princess Peach: Showtime! Review

April 2, 2024

While she’s made many supporting appearances, several of them playable, it’s been close to two decades since Princess Peach took the lead role in a game, which was way back in 2005’s DS Super Princess Peach. Given the character’s popularity, which has recently taken another surge thanks to her portrayal in last year’s Mario movie, it’s surprising it’s taken this long for another outing, but Princess Peach: Showtime! on Switch proves there’s plenty you can do with the character, although Showtime! does try to do everything at once, perhaps to make up for lost time.

Princess Peach: Showtime! sees Peach break out of her traditional royal role to try her hand as the lead character in several plays at ‘Sparkle Theater’. After her night out at the theater is ruined by the villanous Grape and her Sour Bunch minions corrupting its various plays and kidnapping their heroic Sparklas, Peach has to step in to fill in the lead role in each play to right what has gone wrong, and eject the baddies.

The game clearly aimed at younger players, with a relatively gentle difficulty, only mild platforming challenges and readily available assistance in extra hit points that can be accessed at any time. However, while the difficulty is low, there are several Sparkle Gems to collect in every level, some of which you will almost certainly miss on your first time through, adding incentive to go back through the various levels and play closer attention to some elements to gather up every Gem.

What this all translates to are ten ‘roles’ which Peach takes on in a mix of gameplay styles, which shift between shallow 3D depth and more straightforward 2D movement. Some of these roles are geared towards familiar platforming styles, like the action-oriented Swordfighter Peach and Kung Fu Peach, while others are a little more unique, like Mermaid Peach (whose singing controls fish on a separate background layer of the level), and Figure Skater Peach (who can pirouette around enemies and almost resembles a rhythm game at times). Some are even more unexpected, like the Sherlock Holmes-styled Detective Peach, which is almost like an adventure game, relying on careful observation.

Each job progresses through three stages as you explore more of Sparkle Theater – an introductory stage that starts Peach off with no powers beyond her default ‘Sparkle’ ability before granting her the power-up, a more challenging second stage that fleshes out the concept, and a third stage that sees Peach rescue and team up with the relevant Sparkla with the corresponding role. Of these, the most fun is pretty consistently the second stage, as the first stage is often a little too slow, while the third doesn’t advance the gameplay style in as meaningful a way.

Not every role is a winner, of course. Patisserie Peach only really has a couple of basic ideas keeping it afloat, which become repetitive pretty quickly, and while Ninja Peach is a cool idea with some neat wall jumps, its stealth mechanics can be a little irritating.

Between all these are some pretty cool boss battles, as the ‘Darkles’ offer up show and theater themed challenges, like a deadly disco ball bird or a snake with a spotlight coming out of its mouth. These are faced without power ups, but still form some of the most fun elements in Showtime!

It’s all brought together in a style that is appropriately very cute, from the adorable ‘Theets’ which inhabit the theater, to Peach’s companion Stella, to the outfits that Peach wears herself. In fact, your primary reward for collecting coins throughout Showtime! is to unlock different dresses for Peach to wear, as well as new ribbons for Stella. It’s a shame, then, that the performance of the game is a bit rough, which I suppose is to be expected as late as we are in the Switch’s life cycle. In handheld mode, the resolution seems a bit sharper and the visual fidelity’s flaws a bit more acceptable, but in docked mode the rough frame-rate and soft resolution feel a lot harsher.

Princess Peach: Showtime! is a good stab at expanding Peach’s repertoire beyond her tried-and-true princess shtick, with a kitchen-sink approach that throws ten new gameplay styles at her. Not every style sticks, and not every one is developed enough to feel like it works well in their own right, but it all moves past at a fast and fun clip, which combined with the mild difficulty makes it a great title both for kids and families playing together. While it doesn’t hold up against the bigger mainline Mario titles, it proves there’s plenty of value in bringing Peach into the limelight in the future.


-Neat variety of roles for Peach
-Cute characters and designs
-Fun boss battles


-Quite simple and unchallenging gameplay for older players
-Rough performance, especially in docked mode

Overall Score: