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Nick Burgess
25 Apr, 2006

Super Princess Peach Review

DS Review | Sunshine, lollypops and that’s about it.
What’s this? Has Mario developed an affinity for women’s clothing and rain protection? No, it appears that Nintendo has promoted Peach to heroine status. Move over Samus, Peach is sharing the limelight now, but instead of Nintendo equipping Peach with a futuristic suit and arm cannon, Peach gets a parasol, a talking parasol. Before the piece de resistance, which is due out in June (New Super Mario Bros.), Nintendo have served up at first glance, what appears to be a tantalising, albeit controversial peak at how Nintendo are handling revisiting their classic genre, whilst aiming it at a female audience – and how does it fare? Well, to put it in the words Peach uses once she clears a level “That was easy.”

While Peach was out on her morning walk Bowser and his minions infiltrated Mushroom Kingdom, only this time they kidnapped Mario, Luigi and a hoard of Toads – hey guys, after twenty years it might be time to invest a security system, or at the very least, a drawbridge. Anyway, Peach realises that it’s her time to save the day, grabs her trusty umbrella Perry and heads for the enchanted ‘Vibe Island’ where Bowser is based. The entire game takes place on Vibe Island which luckily comes complete with its own beach, volcano, ice caves, haunted mansion and castle, otherwise we’d be in for a fairly mundane adventure – but alas, we are anyway.

The controls are easily the high point of the title and prove that after ten or so years out of the Super Mario-esque sidescrolling department that Nintendo have still got it. Everything is tight; jumping, landing, pinpoint turning, not to mention that the controls are affected when using emotions e.g. crying makes you run faster. This enhanced control scheme allows Peach to pull off some Sam Fisher stealthiness and slide under tight areas that Mario could only dream of.


Umbrellas are a girl’s best friend?

Peach’s sidekick, the multitalented Perry Parasol is best described as that sibling you are always being compared to; he can attack enemies, absorb them in order to regain vibe power, help Peach glide in midair, can be sat-in whilst his handle glides along ropes and has aquatic abilities including being able to double as a boat and morph into a submarine. There are more abilities that can be picked up and/or bought along the way to enhance Perry further which become necessary for passing certain levels. Peach also has one other great asset – her emotions.

By now, many of you will know how the emotion system works but once more - like every astute woman, Peach has 4 emotions she can call on. There is Joy, which lets Peach float and fly around creating a mini cyclone. Gloom sees Peach having tears pour out of her and also enables her to run really fast. Rage has Peach erupting into flames and increases her weight quite substantially. Her last emotion that can be called on from the touch screen is Calm, which restores Peaches health, ever so slowly. There are restrictions though, a ‘vibe metre’ - located below the health metre - which drains every time Peach accesses her inner emotions, so in theory, players should watch their vibe usage, but really, there are more than enough power-ups and enemies to consume for players to go a little vibe-crazy.

Unfortunately, the emotions are a two-pronged addition to the mix. On one hand, they add new gameplay dynamics to level design and boss fights, on the other – they are an easy way to bypass tedious obstacles. For example, at one point there are a few levels of arrows which Peach needs to rise on - touching the tip will result in losing health. Instead of strategically planning on when and where to jump, players can just fire up the Joy emotion and ascend themselves.

After attuning yourself to the emotions, the game runs like clockwork. A bridge made from logs needs to be burnt, a shrub sticking out of the ground needs to be watered and a windmill needs some wind to get it started - these generic puzzle designs will be giving players serious déjà vu throughout. The same obstacles are used over and over and by the third encounter it becomes more of a menial task rather than a challenge. Also one will begin to notice the conveniently placed boxes in which Toads are hidden. Remember, a whole bunch were stolen from Mushroom Kingdom at the beginning, well they are now littered throughout Vibe Island and players will need to track them all down in order to complete the game. By applying the same thinking to previously found Toads on where and how to find them, gamers will find almost all without exerting more than a blip of brain power.

A lot of enemies will be familiar faces seen in other Super Mario games before, Lakitus, Goombas, Chomps and Koopa Troopas all roam Vibe Island. Some new additions to the enemy banquet (literally, as Perry can consume them) are little cannons that walk around and shoot bombs, a Sad Raven that causes an earthquake when it cries that literally shakes the level and also ‘angry’ version of foes that we are already familiar with. While, majority of the enemies are reused from the old SMB games, being redrawn in this visual style breathes new life into them.


My umbrella tells me to burn things.

One of the more intuitive examples that give an indication of the way gaming is being reshaped with the Nintendo DS is when Perry turns into a submarine and your emotions can’t be used. So how do you attack enemies? Blow into the microphone and bubbles shoot out the front of the sub. Navigating a circular sub, whilst trying to keep afloat and blow into the DS’s mic at the same time is one of the rare moments where this game shines.

As mentioned before, it’s no guess what the target audience for this game is as it reeks of stereotyping. Shopping, lots of joyous laughing and clapping, the frolic-like spinning whenever a Toad is rescued after a boss battle and of course the erratic emotions that Peach displays really shoots the ‘camp’ metre off the charts – maybe Nintendo felt that Super Princess Peach would be more accepted into mainstream gaming if they made it blatantly obvious that Peach was a girl - although why they chose an umbrella as her sidekick over something more universally girly is a little confusing - guess a handbag wasn’t versatile enough (this is, of course, rejecting the theory that Nintendo used the parasol that we have seen Peach with in the past, as it has never spoken before). Nevertheless, these aesthetic changes to the usual Super Mario Bros. dynamic shouldn’t have any bearing on your overall opinion of this game.

The graphics of Super Princess Peach are probably the most controversial aspect that the game has encountered from gamers and critics alike. When the game was announced and the first batch of screenshots emerged, the universal reaction was “Is this a GameBoy Advance game?” Some can argue that this game still belongs on the GBA due to its simplistic, sprite based graphics, but after a while you’ll begin to realise that the fluid and somewhat detailed animation could never be achieved on the GameBoy Advance system. Still, the DS is capable of so much more, so one must wonder if this was a case of second-rate graphics for a second-rate game – whichever way you look at it, the visuals compliment the game. To suit the games mood, the music is a lot groovier than gamers would normally find in a ‘Super’ anything game. While the music matches each level (i.e.: spooky theme for haunted levels), there seems to be an upbeat samba/Jamaican sound featured in majority of background music, which can be a little off-putting at times.

Players with a background in SMB games will be able to blitz through levels in around thirty minutes to an hour, depending on how much time you spend looking for Toads, and finding all the extras, which could be a while, as there is no time limit in the levels. Enemies are scarce throughout levels, and the ones that are there pose no real threat. On the rare chance that players do run into a constant stream of enemies, chances are that it will be whilst sliding down an embankment – where they will all be disposed of quickly and efficiently. It’s unlikely that you will ever meet your demise at the hands of a boss - the amount of power ups and relenting attack from bosses won’t be putting you in any serious danger of dying. Taking all of this into account, the game will take around eight to twelve hours to complete, including playing around with the mini games and other extras.

Once the main game is over, Peach and Perry will be practically indestructible – by the end, players should have maxed out the purchasable health additions, vibe metre length and abilities of both Peach and Perry – so if it wasn’t easy enough before, it sure as heck is now. The only time gamers will go back will be to find the Toads they missed on the way. The minigames give some extra life to the game but the novelty will soon wear off. There are also some bonus stages that are unlocked once the main game is complete, but these are just more no-brainers that won’t take long to complete.


I’m flying Mario, I’m flying.

The question on everyone’s lips is “Is this game up to scratch with the Super Mario Bros. games?” The short answer is “No”. Unfortunately, what this game fails to do is engage the player. Whilst the hardest of the core Nintendo fans will be searching every nook and cranny for a whiff of nostalgia, it is neither compelling, interesting nor very fun. Everything is laid out for you and it’s too convenient. When a player can zip through a stage in nine seconds on the first play through – why bother even including it in the game? The levels are built around the glaringly obvious use of emotions and as a result, are far too simple and lose that ‘Super’ atmosphere.

It is becoming clear that games that have ventured away from Mushroom Kingdom just aren’t up to the usual par. Super Mario Sunshine and Super Princess Peach have two things in common, both have extremely tight and advanced controls over their predecessors, yet both struggled in execution of gameplay and the adventure (although, this could be debated). It’s not presumptuous to say that Super Princess Peach is too much of a culture shock for would-be fans, due to the extreme makeover that this title has encountered.

Even when one can look past the sugar-coated glaze, you cannot look past the somewhat plain and lacklustre level design, generic puzzles and that it is difficulty-deficient. The game has suffered a loss on every level (save for control) in favour of glamorizing it to lure a target audience. If you take everything into consideration and compare the twenty four levels (plus bonus levels) present in Super Princess Peach to the eighty levels in the upcoming New Super Mario Bros.. title – this is truly only a dainty appetiser.
The Score
Feel free to shimmy past this one in the games section and hold out for New Super Mario Bros. Only worth a purchase if you need a platforming fix.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Super Princess Peach Content

Super Princess Peach Preview
16 Mar, 2006 She has a parasol – and she’s not afraid to use it.
Super Princess Peach screens
06 Feb, 2006 It’s Peach’s time to shine.
New New Super Mario Bros screens
12 Apr, 2006 Nintendo gives Super Mario junkies another fix.
29 Comments
7 years ago
I for one will be waiting for NSMB. I think I can safely give this one a miss.

Oh and am I right that there is no PALGN review of Super Mario Sunshine?
7 years ago
Quote
Oh and am I right that there is no PALGN review of Super Mario Sunshine?
Yeah, we uh...never got around to it.
7 years ago
^same as Mario and Luigi Partners in Time? or did I miss that one?
7 years ago
^no they didn't. but you can't expect them to review every damn game. it's not really worth reviewing sunshine because it's so old. wouldn't mind reading one about parters in time though, now that Cro mentions it. i havent been persuaded into getting this one at all.
7 years ago
Mario and Luigi Partners in Time is about the only big DS game I've yet to buy. I never got round to finishing the GBA version so it's kinda hard to justify buying this one at full price so i'm waiting until i can get it cheap somewhere. I'll happily review it when I do.
7 years ago
Shouldn't companies be giving you guys games or something?
7 years ago
Alot of them do, Nintendo don't. I don't think we've ever got anything from them in terms of review code icon_sad.gif
7 years ago
They're not far from me, want me to go rough them up for you?
7 years ago
^Good idea, been meaning to that for a while icon_wink.gif icon_lol.gif
7 years ago
Yea exactly....if you don't get given copies to review why bother? And i'm not being sarcastic.....I mean if the developers/publishers aren't gonna bother promoting their own efforts then why should you? It's this lax attitude that is stealing Nintendo's fan base away from them.
7 years ago
Sin Ogaris wrote
They're not far from me, want me to go rough them up for you?
Yeah im near them actually too, where are you located? We can do it together.
7 years ago
Just southeast of the city, but I go to uni out at Deakin which is only about 10 mins or so from NoA. They're a bit behind the times, they still give stuff to you in some 2003 (I think) Pokemon tour bag thing.
7 years ago
hahaha, i go to Deakin as well. icon_smile.gif
7 years ago
I could be wrong but isn't PALGN Australia's foremost game news and review site?

Surely Nintendo can send you guys a review copy of each game they release. It's not much of an ask considering how many people here look to your reviews before purchasing their games.
7 years ago
Nintendo don't support any websites. But feel free to give them a call (on (03) 9730 9822) or mail them (PO BOX 804 FERNTREE GULLY VIC 3156) and plead our case!
7 years ago
---I could be wrong but isn't PALGN Australia's foremost game news and review site? ---

You weren't paid to say that were u? lol.Sounds suss.
7 years ago
Jibbs wrote
---I could be wrong but isn't PALGN Australia's foremost game news and review site? ---

You weren't paid to say that were u? lol.Sounds suss.
Sounds suss, but it's true so all good icon_smile.gif

Chrono Blue wrote
I could be wrong but isn't PALGN Australia's foremost game news and review site?

Surely Nintendo can send you guys a review copy of each game they release. It's not much of an ask considering how many people here look to your reviews before purchasing their games.
Nintendo don't send out review material for any websites. It's a blanket agreement so anyone thinking they are just against us should just be made aware of this.
7 years ago
Really? Not even to the big sites in the US? IGN (rinses out mouth with soap) and Gamespot for example?

What about Hyper?

And no I wasn't paid - it's just my view is all, take it or leave it.
7 years ago
Chris wrote
Mario and Luigi Partners in Time is about the only big DS game I've yet to buy. I never got round to finishing the GBA version so it's kinda hard to justify buying this one at full price so i'm waiting until i can get it cheap somewhere. I'll happily review it when I do.
I was in the same boat with Mario & Luigi RPG on GBA. I struggled to finish it, simply because I got so bored with it.
7 years ago
I always thought that like 90% of games were bought by the staffers and reviewed themselves. then a few games get given by whoever. how many games would you guys estimate are actually bought by the reviewers themselves?
7 years ago
Quote
Really? Not even to the big sites in the US? IGN (rinses out mouth with soap) and Gamespot for example?

What about Hyper?
Nintendo of America supports websites, Nintendo Australia does not. They do support Hyper, because Hyper is a magazine. They support just about all media but web-based, which is really silly.

Quote
I always thought that like 90% of games were bought by the staffers and reviewed themselves. then a few games get given by whoever. how many games would you guys estimate are actually bought by the reviewers themselves?
That's the way it was when I was editor, due mainly to lack of traffic, but I wasn't especially good at PR either (not pushy enough icon_razz.gif). I think we got about 7 games sent to us that year out of about 120 reviews.
7 years ago
what about now, matt?
7 years ago
I got excited when I saw the post count above 20 for this thread. I thought someone had finally dissed the review and that there was a great debate going on regarding Super Princess Peach. Alas, it isn't so.

This is one of my favourite DS games and one of my overall favourite games played in the last long while. It is old school Mario Bros platforming at its finest, and anyone old enough to really appreciate that comment will be in for a hell of a great time. Pure Nintendo fun from start to finish. Let me paste part of a discussion from another thread a couple months back:


theory wrote
DancesInUnderwear wrote
theory wrote
I just beat Bowser in Super Princess Peach...
How is it? I've heard its way too easy, but does it still retain that classic Mario feel? I definately want it, but with all the other DS titles coming our way, is it worth it? (not that I have the money to pick it up now, anyway... icon_sad.gif )
Yes. Get it. Now. Seriously, I've had so much fun playing this game (and still am). Don't read my spoiler if you're thinking of getting it, just know that there's a lot more game time in there than some say (and lots of stuff to go back and collect etc). I'm sick of people saying it's too easy... break out Super Mario World or Super Mario Bros 1, 2, 3 and let me know if you have difficulty beating them. They are generally easy games that cater to all age groups. Another thing is, people that grew up with Nintendo platformers will be in their 20's or 30's now, and their gaming skill would have increased exponentially. However, I think this game will be a bit tricky for casual gamers and especially children. The feel is so reminiscent of the old Mario platformers, with lots of familiar characters/situations. I personally classify it a true Mario platformer. Who cares if you're controlling Princess Peach instead, didn't we all use her in Super Mario Bros 2? I know I did. This game is the perfect lead up to New Super Mario Bros. Oh, anyone that wants to call the game girly is flat out stupid. Peach's emotions, which you can use as powers, are so greatly implemented throughout the game. They are a great help in lots of situations and add lots of variety to the gameplay. In closing, if you like Nintendo platformers, you need to add this to your collection.
theory wrote
I can't remember the last time I played the same game right through twice in a row. Super Princess Peach is really that fun.
Sorry to say, I have never disagreed more with any review at PALGN.
7 years ago
Mitchacho wrote
what about now, matt?
I haven't purchased a game for well over four months now. I've only recently went out to purchase Tomb Raider: Legends and Dragon Quest. I think we've become very lucky with publishers enjoying our site and wanting to help us out, as well as Luke's constant nagging. But we aren't at that stage where publishers will send out multiple copies to satisfy the needs of all staff members, strictly review purposes at the moment.

Look back two years ago and we would get nothing. The site's activity was slow, ability was poor and we weren't getting any income. Now though, we've taken a huge turn in the other direction. In a direction that we can only continue to expand in, and buying that office in Sydney certainly will help us too... icon_wink.gif

I think people understand how annoying Nintendo of Australia are to the mainstream gamers, it's a lot worse when trying to handle their code. Like Matt said, I think it's a stupid decision, just hurting their coverage, but I think that's probably our main goal at the moment - to get Nintendo code. Once we've secured that then I think we've broken new ground with the Australian video-game journalism.
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    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

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