Super Princess Peach is good, but it doesn't do enough to stand out aside from it's main character.

User Rating: 7.8 | Super Princess Peach DS
Super Princess Peach is a first as far as the Mario series goes. It's the first game in the franchise to star Peach alone in her own platforming adventure, on a quest to save Mario and Luigi no less. It appears that the evil Bowser is once more up to no good, stealing a mysterious scepter known as the Vibe Wand from it's home on Vibe Island and using it to wreak havoc on the Mushroom Kingdom and imprison the two while Peach is out for a stroll. Being given use of a talking parasol named Parry, she sets out to save them by trekking across Vibe Island.

The game is designed as a platformer with some puzzle elements thrown in. Peach's main weapon is Parry, whom she can use as a club or as lift to carry enemies over her head and throw them. Parry also has the ability to swallow enemies, restoring some of Peach's ability to change moods. Peach has four different abilities that she can activate by taking on different moods. When she's sad, Peach cries a river of tears and can run more quickly. When she's angry, she is surrounded by a fireball and can shake the ground when she jumps. When she's happy, she can float or spin around to create a tiny tornado. And when she's calm, she can restore her own health. Every one of these abilities is powered by Peach's "Vibe Meter," which she refills by either consuming enemies with Parry or finding a certain power up. Using these abilities properly is important to solving the game's different puzzles, as most of those require a certain ability to be used at a certain time.

The game is initially divided into eight stages with five levels in each and a boss fight preceded by a mini-game at the end. The mini-games are all minor challenges that require you to use the stylus and touch screen in different ways, like destroying objects by poking them or rolling a boulder. The boss fights themselves aren't usually very difficult, as the game often gives a rather strong hint at how to win them before you take them on. The ease of playing this game is what becomes it‘s biggest problem as a matter of fact. Usually you're told exactly how to solve every single puzzle the moment you come upon it, which defeats much of the purpose of trying to figure them out. This, combined with Peach's rather generous life meter, makes it possible to beat much of the game in just one try. That's a disappointment, because it makes a lot of the game seem to drag on when there's no real challenge to it.

The game has a very colorful look to it, akin to the crayon-colored look of Yoshi's Island for the Super NES. Many of the enemies in this game actually appear quite similar in this game to the way that they did in that game, which may please older fans of the series. Everything has a very bright, happy look to it. Only the top screen is used for actual gameplay through, the bottom screen merely contains a moving close-up of Peach and a touchable menu from which you can change her moods on the fly. The whole game looks quite gorgeous overall, as it suits the lighthearted platforming mood quite well.

The game's sound is alright. Most of the songs are fairly catchy tunes, but they aren't likely to become classic songs any time soon. Every stage sticks to it's own theme, so you'll hear similar songs on every level of each stage. The game also includes a number of voice samples from Peach and other Nintendo characters. Sound isn't really the high point of the presentation, but it does the job nicely.

Super Princess Peach does it's best to last as long as possible. To truly beat the game, Peach has to find three captured Toads on every stage so that she can access the final boss. Furthermore, after you finish the game once, three more levels open up in every level. There are three different unlockables mini-games that require use of the stylus and the DS microphone for you to play with, as well as a sound test room. There's also a set of jigsaw puzzles for you to solve, one for each stage. Aside from the new levels, most of these are minor diversions that are easy to blow through and get old rather quickly. It's nice that they're there, but they don't really add that much to the game.

Super Princess Peach is an honorable attempt at making Peach a platform star on her own. It's enough fun to make it worth a look, but it's really too easy to make it recommendable to anyone. The people who will get the most out of this game are probably people who are already fans of the Mario series, so that limits it's audience somewhat. Anyone who is a fan will probably enjoy this, but aside from it's star it isn't really a standout game.
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