Nintendo's New Princess Peach Game Should Be the Start of More Adventures Like This

If Nintendo has a longer wait till a new handheld arrives, new games like this one are needed to tide us over.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
3 min read
A Princess Peach with a mask and hat on gestures to us in a screenshot from a video game

Princess Peach takes on new forms, with some surprises.


Nintendo's game catalog for the aging Nintendo Switch is a little up in the air this year: No big Zelda sequel like last year, and nothing big really that we know of for the rest of 2024. A new Nintendo Switch is expected sometime in the next year: maybe in 2024, maybe in 2025. In the meantime, Princess Peach: Showtime may be one of the biggest new games the system has this spring.

Nintendo made a Princess Peach game before, all the way back on the Nintendo DS. Super Princess Peach wasn't particularly good, but it at least made Peach the star instead of a side player. Peach has been a playable character in Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart, and in games like Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Showtime is a full Peach adventure, with an immersive theater theme. After playing through a number of its levels, I'm not particularly in love with it...but I also think it's fun for younger kids with a play style that reminds me of previous Switch games like Yoshi's Crafted World, Paper Mario games, and even Kirby and the Forgotten Land.

I wasn't sure what to make of this game at first, but it's drawn me in the more I've played it. Nintendo knows how to structure a video game and thread in just the right amount of mystery challenges. Peach's adventures all take place in the Sparkle Theater, a venue where some performance has been hijacked and gone awry. I didn't really follow what the story was about -- instead, I just followed how each theater space became its own immersive level-world with set-like 2D props and scenery. It's a little bit like Paper Mario games in that regard. 

Princess Peach has magical powers that can transform enemies or some nearby objects, and gets specific sub-identities for some levels almost like Kirby does. There's Detective Peach (who uses a magnifying glass to find clues), Patisserie Peach (who puts cake decorations on giant pastries), Mermaid Peach (who sings to control schools of fish to solve puzzles), Mighty Peach (who looks like Metroid's Samus, and can power-lift cars and trucks), and more. It's fun to see these genre-themed levels take on different forms to fit Peach's different abilities, and it makes Showtime feel unpredictable in ways that can be rare for classic Nintendo games. 

Princess Peach approaching a fort on a stage set, in a level from a video game

The level designs have a stage-set look, which makes everything seem like moments in a magic theater show.


There's some secret-hunting, too, which involves finding little sparkling crystals studded throughout each level. That type of secret-finding gameplay reminds me of the pace that Kirby and the Forgotten Land charmed me with, but Princess Peach: Showtime feels a little less complicated. For younger kids, that might be helpful. It's great to see level concepts keep changing, something that Super Mario Wonder also played with. Bring on the unexpected!

I do like Peach as an identity-shifting superhero who jumps genres in an immersive theater universe. That concept's instantly appealing, for sure. Yet I can't help think of a far better game I played last year, called Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, which came out right around the same time as Princess Peach: Showtime and was also a brand-new game based on a familiar character. I'd recommend Bayonetta Origins over Princess Peach, but Peach's target audience is no doubt younger, too. 

Consider Showtime a Disney-like princess journey adventure, however, and maybe you'll find it to be exactly what you're looking for. Nintendo needs to dream up new ideas now and again instead of delivering ports of older games; for now, this may be the last one of those in 2024 for a while.