Home Tech Princess Peach: Showtime review – a paper-thin performance

Princess Peach: Showtime review – a paper-thin performance

by Elijah
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Princess Peach: Showtime review – a paper-thin performance

TThe ending of 1985’s Super Mario Bros, soundtracked by the iconic beeps and blips of the 8-bit NES, sees Mario finally find the princess, who has been in a different castle for the entire game. As the mustachioed hero leaps toward her, a speech bubble reveals the name of our digitized damsel in distress: Princess Peach. She thanks her, the credits roll and we say goodbye to her.

As you’ll know if you saw Anna Taylor-Joy’s performance in last year’s Mario movie, the monarch of the Mushroom Kingdom is a little less one-dimensional these days – as you’d hope, given the advances that video games and feminism have made in recent times. forty years. year. But this is only the second game she’s starred in, the first since 2005’s DS game Super Princess Peach. Showtime literally puts Nintendo’s pink princess in the spotlight, as a trip to the theater goes awry and she’s forced to take the stage. enter to save the dramatic arts from…evil grapes?

It’s a strange but enjoyable setup, allowing Peach to dive into a litany of genre-themed side-scrolling levels. From sneaking through the grass and running across rooftops as dagger-wielding ninja Peach, to galloping on horseback across train tracks and lassoing bandits, each new theatrical backdrop offers the heroine a new play to star in. It’s all impressively beautiful too. With well-animated, full-screen bosses and charmingly rendered cakes, Showtime’s colorful visuals are delightful. Yet it only takes a few minutes for the repetition to sink in.

From mashing a button to stirring cake mix like Patisserie Peach, to the simplistic jumping and fighting that defines everything from sword fighting to superhero battles, Showtime’s gameplay is thinner than Paper Mario’s. A rare highlight here are the two skating levels, where a leotard-clad Peach makes her way through a whimsical winter wonderland. An action-packed kung fu vignette also provides a few smiles, the visuals lending an enjoyable level of kitsch to the rudimentary pounding pastiche.

The problem is that where House of Mario normally manages to find the balance between depth and accessibility, Showtime feels superficial. Whether it’s the devilish mermaid levels or Detective Peach’s laughably incomplete investigation, many of these potentially fun ideas feel like prototypes that escaped Nintendo HQ prematurely.

Last year’s Super Mario Wonder was a delight for all ages, but Princess Peach: Showtime has little to offer those of us who have mastered our times tables. The beautifully scripted cinematic moments and visual variety add color and splendor, but it’s a royal shame that the inventive animation and narrative design aren’t matched by the same level of gameplay innovation.

Despite the enjoyable premise and high production values, Peach’s long-awaited star turn feels disappointingly patronizing, one-dimensional and forgettable – the opposite of the Super Mario Bros film’s capable heroine. With the Nintendo Switch entering its final years, it was the perfect time to give the monarch of the Mushroom Kingdom the party she so deserved. But where Kirby received a Mario-worthy, Iliad-esque epic in Forgotten Land, this looks more like a thin pop-up book.

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Princess Peach: Showtime is out now; £49.99

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