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Super Princess Peach Review

Mario morphs into Peach with interesting results

A warning before we begin: don't expect Super Princess Peach to be the next Mario World. Using the 'Super' prefix might suggest that this is in some way comparable with classic SNES outings like Yoshi's Island, but in fact this pared-down, simplistic and obvious take on Nintendo's own classic platformers doesn't come close to replicating the joy of its predecessors. Still, being half as good as Yoshi's Island is no disgrace, and when you get past the slightly nauseating stench of perfume and flowers and lovely pink dresses in this heavy-handedly targeted 'girl's game', you'll still find some real Nintendo magic.

Let's get the disappointing stuff out of the way, starting with the use of the dual screen technology - or, rather, lack of it. Super Princess Peach is lazy, basically. While the game plays out on the top screen, the bottom is reserved for Peach's four 'vibes', her moods - and subsequent abilities - that you can activate via the stylus if you have enough juice in your bar (see the Screen Time box on the right to find out more). It's low key, underwhelming and really just a gimmick. With nothing assigned to the shoulder buttons either, you get the feeling this is a game shoehorned onto the DS rather than developed specifically for it.

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Another complaint is that it's easy. Really easy. Saying it limps into double figures in terms of playing hours would be five hours too generous. This is defiantly feminine in its outlook, ramming pink-drenched platforming in your eyes from the get-go. Whether that, as Nintendo presumably hopes, will appeal to the same ladies who went out and bought, say, Nintendogs, remains to be seen, but the lack of longevity is a problem whichever way you shake it. Yes, this conforms to Miyamoto's long-talked-of wish for simpler, shorter games, but we'd imagine there'll be disappointment across the board at the lack of challenge here, whatever your gender, however good at games you are.

And yet, despite a lack of lifespan and touch screening, it works - really well. Sticking like glue to the patented Nintendo platforming masterplan means Super Princess Peach is constantly playable, typically compelling and immensely rewarding. It's also got a kind of dewy-eyed retro joy going on, as it dips into the back catalogue to bring out Toads, Goombas, Piranha Plants, Warp Pipes and Koopa Troopas. Strip away the Nintendo universe and you'd be left with a decent little adventure; add the best set of characters in videogames and suddenly this becomes something much more.

The Mario formula is evident everywhere, from the level design to the acres of hidden areas to the end-of-level bosses, but Peach does throw a couple of new additions into the mix. One is her umbrella, Perry (stick with us), who offers protection against some foes, and - best of all - allows Peach to sail across water. Perry (and Peach) can be 'upgraded' too, in the game's Toad-run shop; as you accrue more gold coins, there's plenty of things to spend your cash on, though most are normally parallel to Peach's Vibe powers.

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Elastic Fantastic

We'd be bending the truth if we said Super Princess Peach was surprising, especially given its only partial interest in the dual screen and the fact it sticks so closely to its forebears, and yet the main game will occasionally come up with something unexpected. Like when you're asked to get Peach to the top of a level using 'elastic' catapult-style platforms. The rub is, each platform is operated with the stylus, and you have to plot Peach's course around enemies via a waypoint. It's beautifully simple and great fun - it's just a shame that it lasts for about 30 seconds. But then that's Super Princess Peach in a nutshell: packed with moments that aren't fully exploited. Still, while it might not be

the best platformer ever made - hell, it's not even the best platformer on the DS - if there's one thing Super Princess Peach does do, it's keep you enthralled until the all-too-sudden end.


6 comments so far...
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  1. mj scorpz Saturday 31st May 2008 at 04:12

    Im thinking of getting this game, but the only thing stopping me is the fact that its a girls game and people will my mum and dad :lol:

  2. Quantum Raven Saturday 11th Oct 2008 at 08:53

    I really fancy Princess Peach so I'll probably be getting this game, I'd give it between 90-100%

  3. seganintendo Sunday 2nd Nov 2008 at 01:49

    I've just gotten this. I rented it (thank you lovefilm - not an endoresment lol) as I knew it would be an easier game than the likes of Mario World. And it is, although a couple of bosses can be pains until you get the hang of their attack patterns, but it is worth playing. I'm about 4 hours in and in the final world. But there's typical Nintendo elements in there such as finding hidden Toads and other things.

    I'd reccommend it but only as a rental.

  4. Kool_Koopa Sunday 7th Dec 2008 at 12:52

    I'm happy that Peach has finally got her own game but I'm sad because people don't like it. I don't think it's a "girls' game" because if we had taken out all that pink then it would be just a normal Mario game. I had rented it from my friend (she really gave it to me to complete it) and I don't think I'm going to buy it and other thing that worries me is... graphics. They are awful. Why they can't be just the same as New Super Mario Bros?

  5. Nintendo Boy Wednesday 11th Nov 2009 at 14:50

    My sister is addicted to it, and i must admit i played it once, and it's not actually that bad.

  6. Quantum Raven Sunday 20th Jun 2010 at 18:58

    I think this game deserves a Gold Award, I can't believe you said this is a girls game because that's a blatant lie! I happen to know that some male gamers play this game and I'm a 20 year old male gamer and think that this is one of the best DS games ever made! With the role-reversal plot, the briallantly styled levels and the excellent music plus the unique feature of changing Peach's emotions to activate special elemental powers makes this easly one of the best games for DS and also one of the best games of all time! I'd give it 90-100%

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