Princess Peach: Showtime review: "A charming little morsel of a game"

Princess Peach Showtime
(Image: © Nintendo)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Princess Peach: Showtime fills its short runtime with a tremendous variety of levels and transformations, elevating each with charming details and a surprising amount of spectacle. Its only real limitation is its own lack of ambition, leaving this a memorable adventure, but not one for the ages.


  • +

    Fantastic variety and spectacle between levels

  • +

    Tightly packed with charming details

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    No filler


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    Little depth

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    Frustrating limitations to stage replays

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If you count all her appearances in karting events, sports games, and ensemble rosters, Princess Peach has probably been a playable character more often than she's been a damsel in distress. But it doesn't really feel like it, does it? Outside of one very infamous attempt in Super Princess Peach, the first lady of Nintendo has never gotten to be the leading lady, even as Mario has gotten to be everything from doctor to ape-kidnapping supervillain.

Fast Facts

Release date: March 22, 2024
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: In-house
Publisher: Nintendo

With Princess Peach: Showtime, it feels like Nintendo is making up for lost time. With a spirit that feels straight out of the marketing campaign for Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie, Peach is now everything – a sword fighter, a pastry chef, a detective, and a whole lot more. Showtime has a light touch of everything, too, with platforming, brawling, and unlikely as it might sound, Uncharted-style action set pieces with spectacle to spare.

The result is a tremendously varied, charming little morsel of a game that can offer a surprising amount of challenge for those willing to seek it out. If there's anything holding Princess Peach: Showtime back, it's that it never really tries to be much more than video game candy – it's satisfyingly sweet while it lasts, but there's not much depth to the flavor.

All the world's a stage

Princess Peach Showtime

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Princess Peach: Showtime takes place on a series of literal stages, populated by what amounts to an entire race of theater kids. The stars of each play have been kidnapped by a group of baddies called the Sour Bunch, and it's up to Peach to take over those leading roles and make sure the show goes on. You'll end up in, say, Western play where Peach is transformed into a cowgirl roping up a gang of bank robbers, or an undersea musical where she's a mermaid singing to command schools of fish.

Most stages are 3D areas with a little bit of depth, but which mostly scroll from left to right – a bit like a classic brawler in the Streets of Rage or Double Dragon style. Whichever transformation Peach has taken on, she can usually jump with one button and take some kind of attack or other action with a second. It's a simple framework, but within those limitations each transformation manages to feel distinct without the whole experience turning into a gimmicky minigame collection.

Each transformation has three separate levels to play through, and they all follow through the classic Nintendo design system of introducing a gameplay idea, slowly making it more complicated, and then giving you a final challenge to test your mastery of it. In, say, the Swordfighter Peach levels – probably the most combat-focused of the lot – you'll first deal with small waves of enemies and light platforming challenges until, eventually, you're tested by a big boss encounter where you've got to make the most of a Bayonetta-style dodge move that's unique among the rest of the experience.

An impressive production

Princess Peach Showtime

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Princess Peach: Showtime's real strength is its variety and spectacle. Sneaking through tall grass in the (very light, very forgiving) stealth sections of Ninja Peach feels very different from beating up waves of bad guys as Kung Fu Peach. In one stage, you might be solving a mystery in the vein of a classic point-and-click adventure game, while in another you might be hurriedly baking enough cookies to hold an army of sweets-hungry zombies at bay.

Joyous little details and bits of animation help sell the charm, too, from the way Peach will grab her skirt to avoid trampling over it to the way she'll do a little jig around other dancing characters. Each transformation feels subtly different thanks to details like this, too. Sprinting along city walls in ninja form feels speedy and purposeful, while slicing the ice in figure skater form feels smooth and graceful. The whole stagecraft aesthetic is beautifully executed too, with fun little additions like flames made out of painted wood, or the horses that gallop across the screen as marionettes.

Maybe my favorite part is a Western stage where a giant train whips through a town, wrecking shops and saloons while you ride on horseback across rooftops as they're being destroyed. Occasionally, Princess Peach: Showtime dips into bits of spectacle that would feel more at home in a big first-party PlayStation game than a Nintendo title, but they're highlights every time they show up – and provide the closest thing to challenge you'll find in any of the main stages.

Not much of an encore

Princess Peach Showtime

(Image credit: Nintendo)

If you just want to reach the credits, you'll find Princess Peach: Showtime pretty forgiving and breezy, which is pretty much in line with how Nintendo difficulty curves have worked for generations. If you want a challenge, you'll need to be thorough in looking for optional collectables, which alternately require you to solve some decently well-hidden environmental puzzles or perfectly executing a tightly-timed action sequence. Going for these collectables is usually more fun than frustrating, but Showtime's lack of a scene select feature can make going for particularly tough objectives infuriating now and then. Once you've passed something by, you've usually gotta start the whole level over to get a second chance.

Princess Peach: Showtime is ultimately a stage show, and it's limited by design. That's not a bad thing, necessarily, but it does mean the heights it can reach are limited by the length of the curtains it's drawn back. In days gone by, Showtime would've been a perfect weekend rental for the GameCube. Showtime is completely entertaining from top to bottom, but while it has enough variety to avoid ever becoming boring, it doesn't have the depth for much lasting appeal.

But hey, in a world where video games are demanding more and more of my time and energy, there's something to be said for an experience that cuts the filler to deliver polished charm in spades. Princess Peach: Showtime may not be an all-encompassing production, but the entire troupe has given its all to make sure the crowd goes home happy.


Princess Peach: Showtime was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, with a code provided by the publisher.

More info

Available platformsNintendo Switch
Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.