Princess Peach: Showtime! review: A spectacular play cut short

Princess Peach: Showtime! turns what was supposed to be a simple trip to the famous Sparkle Theater into an eventful adventure featuring some of the most fun platforming I’ve ever experienced.

Trapped inside the theater by Grape and her Sour Bunch, Peach must kick them out of every play and rescue Sparklas—the star performers. Even though you were supposed to be simply a visitor, with the help of Sparkle Theater’s guardian, Stella, you can interact with the stages, aid actors, and discover new transformations that change how you play as you aim to stop Grape’s evil plans.

The stage is set, and you’re in the spotlight

Swordfighter Peach finishing off a plant-like monster
Be the star of the show. Screenshot by Dot Esports

The theater is home to many talented Sparklas Peach needs to stand in for, so there are plenty of roles for you to play. Princess Peach: Showtime! features 10 different transformations—theater roles for Peach to step into—which range from a Detective to a Patisserie, with each introducing a new way to play the game and complete levels. For example, in Detective levels, you find clues and interrogate visitors, while as a Patisserie, you have to bake cookies and decorate cakes.

These gameplay elements slightly evolve throughout the levels. As a Kung Fu Peach, you start by spinning on poles to defeat enemies, but as you progress, the game encourages you to use these poles for movement. Simple changes like this add something new to each transformation but aren’t so big they overwhelm you.

As I explored the floors of the Sparkle Theater, I was stunned by the variety and uniqueness of each transformation. No two levels are the same, and every time I started a new play, I couldn’t help but wonder what awaited me behind the door.

1711472221 994 Princess Peach Showtime review A spectacular play cut short
Must’ve been the wind. Screenshot by Dot Esports

After immersing yourself in one of the roles, it’s time to take the stage. 

Showtime’s levels are stages filled with props, interactable elements, and hidden secrets. Whether it’s a lamp post that needs a bit of your magic or a Theet that wants some cookies, there are plenty of things for you to discover in the theater. 

The detail and care put into each role and its respective levels, gameplay elements, secrets, and enemy encounters make Princess Peach: Showtime! a lot of fun. What’s more, as a 3D platformer, Showtime allows for more freedom than other Nintendo offerings, like Super Mario Bros. Wonder, because levels can take any point of view and switch up throughout the game. One moment you’re playing a 2D side-scroller, and another, you have a Hotline Miami-like top-down view.

The show must go on

1711472221 351 Princess Peach Showtime review A spectacular play cut short
The curtain call was sooner than I expected. Screenshot by Dot Esports

But once you get into your starring role, the show is already nearing its finale. The main con of Princess Peach: Showtime! is it’s pretty short. Every transformation has only three levels, and after just over eight hours of playing, I finished the game, which left me slightly disappointed.

Three levels per role also means if I wanted to play more as, for example, a Ninja (one of my favorite transformations thanks to the stealth mechanics), my only option was to revisit those three levels and try to find every possible Sparkle Gem. There are also so-called “rehearsals” available on every floor, which are score-attack minigames taken from regular levels, so they are not exactly new.

I’m not much of a completionist, but even if I collected all the Sparkle Gems, spent them on decorations, and got my reward photos, Showtime would still feel incomplete. I would have loved to see at least one or two additional levels for every role to enjoy the vast gameplay variety a bit more.

Princess Peach: Showtime! has so much to offer, but the overall length makes it feel like it’s not reached its full potential. Given its $60 price tag, you would expect more content. If the short playtime doesn’t concern you, though, Princess Peach: Showtime! is a fun and memorable little adventure that is absolutely worth your time.


7

Princess Peach: Showtime!

Pros

  • Great variety of transformations, each with a unique way to play
  • Diverse level design
  • Every level has multiple secrets

Cons

  • Too short given the price
  • Only three levels per transformation

A copy of this game was provided by Nintendo for review. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

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