Super Princess Peach
|Super Princess Peach|
North American box art
Super Princess Peach (スーパープリンセスピーチ Sūpā Purinsesu Pīchi) is a platform video game developed by Tose and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld game console. It was released in Japan in October 2005, and worldwide the following year.
It is the first game to feature Princess Peach as the main playable character. In the game, Bowser has kidnapped Mario, Luigi, and Toad instead of Peach and holds them hostage on Vibe Island, but Toad escapes from Vibe Island to the Mushroom Kingdom. In a reversal of the damsel in distress trope, Princess Peach must go through eight worlds on Vibe Island to rescue Mario and Luigi. Despite being praised for its role reversal in the plot, the game was criticized for the nature of how Peach attacked, as well as the simple gameplay. It sold 1.15 million units worldwide.
The game opens with Bowser at a summer villa in Vibe Island, a land that isn't far from the Mushroom Kingdom. When Bowser finds the Vibe Scepter, an object that affects everybody's emotions, rendering them happy, sad, angry, and calm, he sends a Goomba and an army of Hammer Bros. to Princess Peach's castle to capture Mario and Luigi. With all of the Toad servants influenced by the scepter, the Hammer Bros. successfully capture Mario, Luigi, and Toad, but Toad escapes and retreats to the Mushroom Kingdom. Meanwhile, Princess Peach and Toadsworth return to her castle only to discover a note from Bowser saying that he captured Mario and Luigi. Enraged, Peach leaves her castle to rescue Mario and Luigi. Before doing so, Toadsworth, who's reluctant to let Peach go, hands her a talking parasol named Perry.
After completing every world, Perry's flashbacks are revealed. Long, long ago, Perry was a young man who had mysterious powers and was adopted by an old man he came to call "Grandpa". Later, Perry transformed himself into an umbrella and was captured by a wizard and his henchman, but managed to escape by wiggling free from his captors and fell on the road. Sometime later, a traveling merchant found him and sold him to Toadsworth.
Peach and Perry battle through eight worlds, rescuing Toads along the way. After defeating Giant Kamek, the seventh world's boss, they free Luigi from the bubble Kamek captured him in. Peach and Perry arrive at Bowser's Villa, where they battle and defeat Bowser along with the Hammer Bros. Bowser uses the Vibe Scepter to turn into a giant, but Peach defeats him once again by throwing a Bob-omb on him and whacking him out of the villa using Perry. After Bowser's defeat, Peach frees and kisses Mario and in turn, Mario gives Peach a bunch of flowers. The game ends when Mario, Luigi, Peach and the Toads walk back to the Mushroom Kingdom. What became of the Vibe Scepter is unknown.
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Super Princess Peach plays similarly to traditional platformers. There are eight worlds: Ladida Plains, Hoo's Wood, Shriek Mansion, Fury Volcano, Wavy Beach, Gleam Glacier, Giddy Sky, and Bowser's Villa. In each world, there are six levels and one boss battle. Each boss battle requires a short minigame to play. For example, in "Shriek Mansion," Peach is descending with the umbrella, and the player taps the screen to scare away Boos. If the Boos touch her, the player must start over.
Within the levels themselves, there are a number of boxes that will give specific gameplay hints. Three Toads are hidden throughout each level; the boss levels have one Toad to rescue (except World 7's boss where Luigi is captive, and World 8's boss where Mario is held hostage) contained in a bubble. (Mario was contained in a cage.) Each world has 16 Toads to rescue. In order to play the final boss battle, the player must rescue all of the Toads.
After the game is completed, the player can go through the levels again to pick up more unlockable items. Beating a boss will unlock three new levels for the next world; for instance, beating the World 1 boss will unlock three new levels for World 2 and so on. There are a total of 24 extra levels to unlock.
The game features numerous classic Mario series enemies, such as Goombas, Koopa Troopas and Hammer Brothers. In a twist, some of the enemies are also emotionally affected, such as the sad blue Goombas or the Bullet Bills burning red with anger.
On the upper left hand side of the screen, there are two bars: heart gauge (maximum of five hearts) and emotion meter. Whenever Peach falls down a hole, an ocean of lava or gets hit by an enemy, she loses half a heart and respawns at the last checkpoint. When all hearts are gone, she must start over at the beginning of the level. Peach has infinite lives, so the player can continue as much as he/she pleases.
The emotion meter corresponds to the four vibe powers she has. The emotions at Vibe Island affect everybody, even some enemies, but Peach can change her emotions at will. The four emotions are joy, gloom, rage, and calm. When the player taps on each mood, it will activate a different ability, which typically helps solve puzzles or defeat enemies.
- Joy (Yellow Heart) - Peach becomes very happy as if walking on air, which allows her to slowly ascend in a small tornado, gust fogs and clouds, turn windmills, push down fountains, hit blocks above her and blow enemies away. With this power, she can float in the wind in some stages. She can also use it to break open flying bags that contain mostly coins and sometimes hearts and vibe crystals, splash bits of Blooper's ink thrown in the air, spin Kamek's head and slow down her falls as an easy use. However, some areas feature spores that stop her flying abilities, requiring more traditional platform methods to reach, but she can go up platforms that are vertically close.
- Gloom (Blue Heart) - Peach will cry, causing a cartoonish amount of tears to steadily stream out in both directions around her as she dashes forward. The stream of tears that gets scattered while she is crying can also be used to water certain obstacles, such as helping a small sprout grow into a long tall plant which she can use to climb and reach higher places. When the tears hit the ground, ceiling or walls, sparkles appear beneath, above or next to them. This power can defeat the Nipper Plants and Cheep-Cheeps, extinguish flames, strike all blocks at once, wash away Blooper's ink on the ground, push heavy chained balls and inflicted enemies.
- Rage (Red Heart) - Peach will become enraged causing her to catch fire with a big blaze, making her invincible, burn enemies and other objects, and able to cause earthquakes whenever she lands. However, she cannot run very fast and will not be able to jump far. This power can scare away the Boos, fishing Lakitu ghosts and flocks of bats, push down switches and stone monsters, melt snowmen and ice, light up lanterns with illumination in dark places and break open flying bags.
- Calm (Green Heart) - Peach will calm down, become delighted and encased in a clear bubble while giggling. This restores health. She'll lose the bubble if hit by anything hazardous, thus stopping the healing process. She can still move and attack whenever she is under this power.
Each use will drain the player's vibe meter. The bar can be restored by capturing blue turquoise jewels or absorbing enemies.
Unlike Mario, jumping on enemies does not defeat them; Peach must use Perry the Parasol to hit them. The player can press "B" to immediately sweep them aside or "X" to put them on top of the umbrella. Once an enemy is on top of the umbrella, the player may press "X" again to put the enemy down, "B" to throw the enemy, or down on the D-pad to absorb the enemy, which refills part of the emotion meter.
As the game progresses, Perry the Parasol gains new abilities. The "Subrella" allows Peach to travel underwater. The player blows into the microphone to blow bubbles to defeat the undersea enemies and break blocks. The "Slidebrella" turns Perry upside down and uses his handle like a hook. It is used in areas with a maze of high-flying wires. The "Bowlbrella" puts Peach in the umbrella and allows her to navigate through the water's surface.
In addition, the game features a shop where players can buy items, using coins as currency. The player can buy increment upgrades to expand the heart gauge or the emotion meter, as well as three new abilities. The "Floatbrella" allows Peach to stay afloat for a few seconds. "Poundbrella" shakes the ground and stuns any enemies nearby. "Chargebrella" creates a small charge that will stun the closest enemy. She can also extend her health and vibe meters, as well as earn coins from attacking enemies.
The game's bonuses include a glossary, puzzles, mini games, a music room, and replays of Perry's dreams. There are three mini games within the game and the levels are unlocked as the player finds more mini game pieces in the levels. All of the mini games has the player control Toad in a variety of activities (such as a platforming mode).
The game's lack of difficulty was intensely criticized. Gaming website GameSpy noted that the number of shop items and the "Joy" vibe made it "quite hard to die". Another web site, IGN, was more critical, criticizing Nintendo for "going out of its way" to "spoon-feed" the player full of tips and information. Reviewer Ryan Davis from GameSpot similarly wrote that the game was "way too easy for the average platformer player." X-Play's Morgan Webb gave it a 4/5, commenting that the game was very easy to play and should be played by first timers to platform games.
The nature of the vibes and Nintendo's marketing campaign were also noted in some reviews. Davis accused Nintendo of putting "weird sexist undercurrents" into the game, while GameSpy's Bryn Williams wondered if Nintendo was trying to say that all females were "emo". Craig Harris from IGN said that the copy that Nintendo sent to him came in a box scented with perfume.
As of July 25, 2007, Super Princess Peach has sold 1.15 million copies worldwide.
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