In Princess Peach: Showtime! for Nintendo Switch, players take control of the titular heroine as she works to rescue a theater full of Theets from Grape and the Sour Bunch. Clever, theatrical and above all fun, the game’s cinematic action makes it a wholly enjoyable sister game to the Luigi’s Mansion series.

Princess Peach: Showtime! key art

Peach vs. the Sour Bunch

Showtime begins when Peach is invited to the Sparkle Theater. However, things quickly go awry, as the whole theater is taken over by the Sour Bunch. The star performers are captured and the many shows playing are corrupted. To set things right, Peach must team up with Stella, the theater’s guardian, get onstage herself and assume various transformations by changing up her costume. As touted by the game’s advertising, these include roles like detective, pastry chef and swordfighter.

Swordfighter Peach in rehersal

As far as the gameplay goes, the controls are very straightforward. In addition to navigating with the control stick, there is a “jump” button and an “action” button. These two buttons can be swapped. However, thanks to the various personas Peach takes on via the costumes, the “action” in question varies wildly from one performance to the next.

The game’s aesthetic is innovative and well-done. Every level takes the form of a series of sets, and players guide Peach from stage left to stage right. And in almost every case, each performance culminates in a thrilling climax, often a chase scene or boss battle. Plus, its worth noting that while it’s obvious that the sets are meant to represent an onstage performance, the action remains within the plays “fourth wall.” For example, even though it’s a “fake old west town” and the horses are held up by strings, Cowgirl Peach remains “in-character” throughout.

Obviously geared towards all ages, Showtime isn’t too difficult. However, it isn’t without its challenges, either. And furthermore, the game goes out of its way to make sure its accessible to a wider swath of players by proffering a heart-increasing charm to the player shortly after they’ve entered the lobby.

Theater Merch Table

Let me be clear: this isn’t to say that the game is without its challenges. For one thing, while making it through the levels isn’t so difficult, collecting 100% of the items is more difficult. Additionally, clearing all four plays on one of the theater floors creates the option to take part in a “rehersal,” which puts Peach back in a costume and sets a difficult timed goal to achieve. This sort of reminded me of the Pit of 100 Trials from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door on Nintendo GameCube, a play mode into which I sank many, many hours.

But no matter how often I am defeated, I am always willing to get back on the saddle (in the case of Cowgirl Peach, quite literally). This is in part because of the game’s fun and engaging aesthetic, but it’s also because the game’s primary unlockable are my favorite video game reward: alternate outfits!

Some of Peach's alternate costumes in Showtime!

Peach has an extensive wardrobe to unlock in this game, with modified versions of her dress that bring new patterns and colors to the table. In addition, Stella also has a collection of alternate-colored ribbons, so your diminutive sidekick and get in on the dress-up fun, too. These alternate costumes can be unlocked by finding and rescuing a certain Theet in each play, by exchanging collected coins at the merch table in the theater lobby and by achieving a gold medal in the previously mentioned rehearsals.

Princess Peach: Showtime!

Peach in a boss battle in Showtime!

Like Luigi’s Mansion before it, Showtime takes one of Mario’s supporting characters and gives her a chance in the spotlight. Bright, fun and engaging, Showtime is sure to win over many fans well before the encore. And while unlocking all of the alternate costumes will take me quite a few more gaming hours, I do hope that a few years down the line, we get a sequel to this unique and memorable game.

Princess Peach: Showtime! is available now.

Reviewed in TV mode with Pro Controller. Review code provided by Nintendo.