After years of kidnapping Peach, only to have her rescued by Mario, Bowser has finally seen sense and kidnapped Mario instead. Unfortunately for him, Peach has more power than Bowser ever realized.
Super Princess Peach is similar to Monster World IV - the Wonderboy title never released outside of Japan – in which you played as Wonderboy’s girlfriend. In SPP, Mario has been kidnapped and it’s up to Peach to save him. So she sets off with a magic umbrella in hand to rescue her plumber. This is a throwback to classic Mario games, with bright 2D graphics and platform gameplay – with a few innovations to keep it interesting.
Apart from the basic melee attacks like butt-stomp and striking, Peach has four abilities you can activate with the touch screen, each essential for accessing different areas and regenerating health when hearts are scarce. However, each of these uses ‘vibe power’ that can be regained by picking up power crystals or monsters and absorbing them with the umbrella.
Being set in the mushroom kingdom, Nintendo has re-used the classic Mario monsters. Goombas and Piranha plants are present in their various forms, as well as some new creatures that can be picked up and hurled at each other or absorbed for the vibe power.
As expected from a new Mario game, level design is top-notch, featuring secret rooms filled with coins ready to be found through pipes, and clever puzzle designs at the beginning of boss levels. This time around, collected coins are used for purchasing upgrades such as new attacks, more health and music for the music room menu – yes, they actually make you ‘buy’ the music most games would have available from the start.
It’s classic platform gameplay all the way, this time with more variety in the moves thanks to melee upgrades and the innovative vibe attacks. Peach proves there is still life left in 2D platformers 20 years on from the original Super Mario Bros.