Princess Peach: Showtime! Review – Take a bow

Reviewed March 21, 2024 on Nintendo Switch


Nintendo Switch


March 22, 2024





Finally twirling out of the short chubby plumber shadow for her own proper starring role, Princess Peach: Showtime! gives everybody’s favourite princess a chance to shine on a literal stage, living out every gay theatre kid fantasy there is with charming aplomb. Excitingly, this is not just a Super Mario Bros. reskin with our pink-loving gal in charge, but rather a unique story, with unexpected gameplay twists and riffs on existing Nintendo formulas that give Peach her own little universe to daintily plod through. With enough costume changes to make an on-tour Lady Gaga blush, Princess Peach has arrived, baby, and she’s better than ever.

Minding her own business and looking fabulous, Peach is politely dragged in to help save the Sparkle Theater, which the evil Grape and the Sour Bunch have taken over. With your tiny-talking-star assistant Stella, you’ll need to interact with the stages, put on your best performances across different themes and transform the theater back to its glory. It’s exciting to get to spend so much uninterrupted time with Princess Peach, no longer just a mere character option in a party of others. She isn’t even rescuing Mario or dealing with any of his plumber vs. lizard crap. Instead, this is her adventure, focussed firmly on her, and it allows her time to breathe and shine as the protagonist she deserves to be. Somewhere, in between chess games, Anya Taylor-Joy is smiling.

“Princess Peach: Showtime! is banking on its charm and personality more than anything else, which it has in spades.”

The gameplay is kept simple, even with the various transformations that take place in Peach’s wardrobe. With just jump, action and pose buttons at your disposal, this an easy game to pick up and play. I’d almost go as far to say cozy and chill; early on, you have the option to increase your already-generous heart count to make sure you don’t have to hit a game over screen… which, really, just amounts to you being knocked back to a recent checkpoint with full hearts again. Enemies move towards Peach pretty slowly when you have to deal with them, and threats are mostly unthreatening. Some boss battles are tricky, but I never felt truly at risk. If you’re looking for a challenge, you won’t find one here.

And really, that’s completely fine, Princess Peach: Showtime! is banking on its charm and personality more than anything else, which it has in spades. It’s thrilling to discover each new outfit, not just for the farshun darling, but for the new abilities and overall whimsy each stage is going to unlock. When you transform into a Ninja, a Cowgirl, or a Patissiere, it’s not just an awkward Peach trying to fit in and play the part. She is committed. The way she moves, her animations and her general demeanour shift to match the character she is playing, and the stage is truly set for some memorable scenes.

Now, let’s talk about those outfits. They’re all on point. Dashing Thief Peach that is giving elevated Zorro energy? Detective Peach with her cute Sherlock Holmes moments? The Figure Skater Peach that looks like it could be earning gold at the Winter Olympics? Nintendo understood the assignment. If this was RuPaul, I’d be Tooting all of these lewks, without question. But I digress; the costume changes not only serve a visual purpose that will have you living, but they provide functional abilities that give each level a different feeling entirely.

Swordfighter Peach is perhaps one of the simplest, with her ability to fend off foes with slashes, dodges and counterattacks, but those counterattacks are given that sexy slow-motion treatment you get from pulling off a parry in a From Software title, so they’re fun to nail anyway. Kung Fu Peach (not to be confused with Kung Fu Panda) and Mighty Peach (Peach in Space) are also both combat-focused, but the worlds they are a part of are fully committed to the bit, referencing old-school Kung Fu movies and cute sci-fi with aliens and spaceships

It’s the outfits that give truly different mechanics that I found the most interesting. Detective Peach(achu) will have our girl questioning locals, uncovering clues and trying to solve cases, like finding a painting that’s gone missing. These are light puzzles at best, with not much penalty for getting it wrong, but the pace allows for a bit more storytelling and some cute “a-ha!” moments for our plucky Holmes wannabe. Ninja Peach offers a nice take on stealth, using props, leaping from wall to wall and avoiding line-of-sight, and it’s the visual touches here that really stand out. Peach uses a sheet to blend in with walls and breathes through a piece of bamboo when moving underwater. There’s no shortage of visual flourishes in Showtime!, that’s for certain.

Dashing Thief Peach has you hacking and doing some more sneaking, while Cowgirl Peach will test your lasso skills, as you ride on horseback, jump on moving trains and fight in saloons, Western style. It’s all very referential to classic genres, and the “theatre” nature of it all is on full display. Props are dangled from literal string, as cardboard stage pieces literally fall over.

Objects and items all have a hand-made quality to them, something Nintendo has really mastered visually over the years with Yoshi’s Woolly/Crafted World and Paper Mario in particular. An invisible crowd claps and cheers during key moments, as curtains get closed to finish scenes, adding to the overall vibe. It’s a shame that constant frame-rate issues (in docked and handheld) hold it back. It’s not pushing boundaries in a way that Tears of the Kingdom did, so I’m not sure why it stutters as often as it does. At first, I thought it was a stylistic choice, but sometimes the performance just doesn’t hold up, which is odd.

For all its charm, and there really is a tonne of it, some of the outfits do fall a little bit flat. Patissiere Peach simply has her baking cookies and decorating cakes, both activities feeling like Mario Party minigames without much payoff. Figure Skater Peach might look wonderful as she’s twirling and jumping around the ice, but this also feels minigame-esque, pushing buttons as she glides over coloured zones to trigger each move. Mermaid Peach includes literal music sections where you have to sing along with fish, although it does also have some light puzzle opportunities of controlling them with your voice to add a little more depth. I found these diversions to be charming enough but two-dimensional compared with some of their counterparts. Not every costume is made equal, it seems.

Every outfit gets three stages, with the final of those resulting in you rescuing a Sparkla from that world. When each stage takes anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes, it simply means that there isn’t a lot of time spent with each costume, which some may find disappointing if they have favourites. How they unlock in seemingly random order through the theatre’s many floors and doors does at least mean there is a lot of variety as you bounce between them, so I certainly never felt bored. With a single action button linking each outfit, it avoids teaching you difficult ideas only for you to forget them when you move on, and that simplicity carries Princess Peach: Showtime! right until its final curtain call.

There are also boss battles where Grape throws tougher foes at you, and they fall under the usual Mario style of “hit them three times in their weak spot and you win”. Even the visuals of these bosses are cleverly tied to the theatre, though, like a lion with a giant spotlight in its mouth, so they maintain a strong visual identity that makes Princess Peach: Showtime! feel like its own thing. Each of the levels also has a bunch of Sparkle Gems to find, and you’ll rarely be able to find all of them on your first run; this is classic for any of Nintendo’s character-centric titles, but it’s a satisfying rhythm to collecting and uncovering secrets that they continue to excel at after all these years.




  • Outfits are fabulous and fun to play with
  • A charming world with varied stages to explore
  • Each outfit has its own mechanic, which adds variety
  • Princess Peach feels right as a protagonist


  • Some frame-rate troubles throughout
  • Not all outfits are as memorable as others

Princess Peach: Showtime! finally gives our first Nintendo Diva the spotlight she has long deserved, and almost shockingly, once again brings us a Nintendo experience that feels both comfortably familiar and thrillingly different. Despite some weird frame-rate issues and a few costume changes that are less memorable than others, the amount of charm and satisfying simplicity oozing out of Princess Peach: Showtime! makes it a stage performance worthy of applause and adoration. Let’s hope this first true starring role for Peach isn’t her last.