Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Super Princess Peach (DS) Review

Welcome to Tuesday here at SuperPhillip Central. I truly appreciate your feedback, so please keep giving it to me by posting a message in the comments section on any and every story you find interesting or have something to add, a question perhaps. Today I'm reviewing a game that was released on my birthday in 2006. It's none other than Super Princess Peach-- the game that held me over for New Super Mario Bros.!

Princess Peach Power!

There's few women in gaming more recognizable than Princess Peach from the Super Mario Bros. series. Sure, there's Samus Aran, but she hides underneath a mask most of the time. On that note, hopefully I didn't spoil the fact that Samus is actually a girl. Nonetheless, tired of her co-stars hogging all of the action, Princess Peach has set out for her own portable adventure. With girl power taking precedence this time around, is this adventure just as peachy as Mario's?

Things have turned flip-side upside down in the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario and that green guy have been plumber-napped by Bowser, and it's up to Peach to save the day for once! She won't be alone, however, as she comes across a talkative and cheery parasol to help out in her journey across eight themed worlds from arctic mountains to active volcanoes. Bowser's plan is to use Vibe Island's Vibe Scepter on the denizens of the island. It's up to Princess Peach to rescue the plumber pair, take back the Vibe Scepter, and kick out Bowser from his vacation retreat.

Mario and Luigi have been captured!
It's up to Princess Peach to rescue them.

As stated, there's eight worlds in total, each with six levels. The sixth being a boss battle against a giant foe from an enlarged Kamek to a wiggler to Gooper Blooper. Before these fights are lame touch screen-driven mini-games where you must reach the boss. These just feel tacked on and gimmicky. As for the bosses, they all have a weakness to one of Peach's various emotions, so experimenting to see what emotion will tackle what boss is all the fun... except the game tells you what emotion to use before the actual boss battle.

Big girls don't cry.
Unless they're facing a mean piranha plant.

Speaking of emotions, Princess Peach is an emotional gal. Not to invoke stereotypes of women, but she can change her emotions like she's changing the time on a clock. However, unlike the untrue stereotype, Peach's emotions can help her out in the grand scheme of the things. There's four emotions to choose from, activated by the touch screen. Each emotion when in play saps energy from Peach's vibe meter. When it runs out, you are unable to use emotions until you fill it back up either by grabbing blue gems or siphoning energy off enemies by sucking them inside the parasol. The four emotions are: joy, rage, gloom, and calm. Joy engulfs Peach inside a miniature twister which attacks enemies and allows her to fly. Rage sets Peach fire in a burning flame as she marches through enemies and burns bridges (literally) with her anger. Gloom tears up poor Princess Peach as she cries. Her tears can water beanstalks to make them grow, and her speed in this form allows her to race through levels at a brisk speed. Finally, calm is probably the most broken emotion. In this state and until she takes damage, her health heals slowly. This makes most boss battles and otherwise more difficult parts of the game less challenging.

Familiar sights abound in Super Princess Peach.

Another problem with the difficulty is that Super Princess Peach does not use a life system. If you fall in a bottomless pit, you lose a half a heart. That's it. If you lose all of your hearts, you have to restart the level. This is so difficult to actually achieve that this will most likely be a non-factor when playing through the majority of Super Princess Peach's levels.

As for the levels, Super Princess Peach has admirable level design. There's nothing that will make you drop your jaw like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but that's alright. There are some cool ideas sprinkled in and creative design such as a rotating room. The levels are pretty easy, and they're divided up by rooms much like Yoshi's Island. Each level has three toads to save. They're hidden in pretty clever locations though you'll get an audible and visual signal when a toad or other secret is in the room you're currently in. Collecting all the toads unlocks new, more challenging bonus levels after the game is completed.

There's also coins to collect throughout Super Princess Peach's worlds. These aren't just for show or to make Peach richer than she already is. No, no. They're used in the game's shop to purchase new moves, health and vibe meter increases, music, mini-games like Toad Jump, and puzzle pieces. There's also a glossary that lists all of the enemies and bosses you've encountered, a place to listen to purchased music, and many more options available.

The graphics are top-notch and very good.

The visuals unlike New Super Mario Bros. are exclusively 2-D, and the game looks great. Peach and company animate beautifully, the worlds are bright, vivid, and colorful, and the game never chugs slowly even with multiple enemies and things going on the screen at the same time. The music, other than the charming gameplay, is one of the best parts of this pretty and pink Princess Peach package. There's multiple memorable tunes and tracks that you'll be humming to as you play through the game.

Overall, Super Princess Peach is a fun, five-hour game with plenty of unlockable content to discover and enemies to bash and absorb. The only main gripe I have with this game is a lack of real challenge. Sure, there's some trouble spots here and there, but it's nothing that can't be conquered after a try or two. With lush visuals, a great soundtrack, and an endearing heroine, Super Princess Peach is one platformer not to be missed.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.5/10]

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