Talk about role reversal. Back in the day Mario stole the golden axe to dunk Bowser in a pit of orange lava. Then suspender armored hero took an entire kingdom back from his evil twin Wario. In the between saving the Mushroom Kingdom from destruction he’s mastered golf, refereed tennis matches, befriended a dinosaur and even learned the six step. You would think Mario would be in enough shape to avoid an attack from the Hammer Brothers. Call it a stroke of bad luck, but Mario needs to be rescued. With Luigi off in a mansion and Yoshi trapped in storybook land it is up to Princess Peach to save Mario.
The first and last time we’ve seen Princess Peach in a platformer was Super Mario Brothers 2 (aka Super Mario USA in Japan). So maybe it shouldn’t come to much surprise that Super Princess Peach has more in common with the turnip throwing than Super Mario World. In Peach’s quest she’s accompanied by a smiling yellow umbrella called Kassaa. Kassaa can be used to whack goombas on the head or smash overhead blocks. Pressing X makes Kassaa scoop up nearby objects, like Koopa shells that can be thrown back. Kassaa can gain new skills if you purchase them at Toad’s shop. Two hundred coins buys you the ability to glide gently to the ground by holding A. Racking up coins is easy. Like in other Mario games, they’re scattered on the ground. Purses in the sky are also known to carry coins. But if you want to rake in the big bucks get a star in the roulette game at the end of the stage. You get 50 coins if you happen to grab the star, 10 for a mushroom and a measly one if you happen to snag the turnip.
Even with out Kassaa Peach can hold her own ground by using the powers of her emotions (yes, her emotions). On the bottom screen there are four different hearts. By touching the top left heart that’s smiling joyously you’ll put Peach in bliss state. This gives Peach the ability to fly if you hold A. Touch the top right heart and Peach will move into a rage. In this state she’ll have an aura of fire around her, which is perfect for burning bridges or goombas foolish enough to run into her. The bottom left heart draws upon Peach’s sadness. In this state she endlessly cries, but her tears can be used to grow beanstalks. In reality the emotion system is a cleverly disguised elemental system. Anger equals fire, sadness is water and joy acts like wind. Each stage is intelligently designed to make use of her powers. If you want to seek out a hidden area maybe you need to float in the sky to a hidden warp pipe. Remember Petey Piranha who Mario blasted with his water backpack in Super Mario Sunshine? He’s in Super Princess Peach, but since Peach doesn’t have a water cannon she’ll need to use her tears.
If you’re thinking a little bit, it becomes obvious what powers you’ll need to draw upon in each puzzle. This makes Super Princess Peach easier to take on than the pit jumping challenges normally seen in platformer games. In fact Super Princess Peach ditches most of the conventional 2D platformer mechanics. There’s much less running and more exploration of the area. You’ll want to scout out each passage in hopes of finding one of the captured toadstools. Or players will want to seek out every hidden jigsaw puzzle piece in a level. So, where there seems to be a lack of challenge compared to the NES Mario games, Super Princess Peach is more about collecting every hidden widget like in Super Mario 64.
The game looks and feels like every Mario title before it. Each world is brightly colored and has a style similar to Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. Goombas still look like goombas and Koopa troopas haven’t changed much after all of these years. Because of this Super Princess Peach isn’t going to be used to show off the DS’ power. Instead it is a throwback to the classic Mario games. Nostalgia is priceless isn’t it? The in game sound is also of the genre. Happy tunes suit the storybook styled world.
As a complete game Super Princess Peach is aimed at all you Nintendophiles out there. If you love 2D platformers Super Princess Peach is a must have. Few side scrolling platformers are even made today. Leave it to Nintendo, the inventor of the genre, to revive it with Peach.
Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 2
The game itself is easy enough to understand once you fiddle with the controls. Running, jumping and throwing spinies is easy to do. Where gamers can come in to trouble is purchasing abilities for Kassaa. Since the ability names and what they do are in kana you might not know what you’re buying without a FAQ to help you out.
Nintendo of America has not announced Super Princess Peach, but there is little doubt that they will release it in the US.
+ Pros: A tightly controlled 2D platformer, with an emphasis on exploration.
- Cons: Probably to simple and easy to beat.
Overall: Super Princess Peach will be enjoyed most by those gamers who tackled Nintendo’s platformers in the pre-64 days. There’s a lot to collect and for once you get to save Mario.
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