Preview: Super Princess Peach (Nintendo DS)

Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo / Genre: Platformer / Release Date: 02-27-06

The Mario universe has always been the one Nintendo prides itself on. That red plumber is mascot of the entire company, and the star of countless games. In fact not only as Mario been the star of stars in the gaming world, but he has also given the rub to countless other Nintendo mascots, and as a result of that have gone on to fame as well. Luigi, Yoshi, Bowser, Wario, Waluigi, Donkey Kong, and countless others have all basked in Mario’s success, and in many cases gotten there own games as a result. However; despite all their success, there has been one character that really hasn’t been the star she should be. Her role has always been as a supporting member in the Mario Kart series (and games of a similar vein), or she has simply been nothing more than the damsel in distress. Well all that’s over. Nintendo is having a coming out party for Peach to celebrate her status as a Nintendo Icon, and it comes to us all on the Nintendo DS. Super Princess Peach has many a gamer excited, including this one. Why? Simply put Nintendo is going to take us back to gaming as it was done when I was a kid. Retro-gamers will; hopefully, be delighted in the product that Super Princess Peach delivers to us. So let’s get ourselves fancied up, and escort the lady in question, as we explore what her game will be all about.

The first thing we need to realize here, is that this is a game that is really going for a throwback feel to it. While we all know that the DS is perfectly capable of three-dimensional graphics (ie: Super Mario 64), that isn’t what this is all about. It’s beautiful, 2-D sprite goodness! Everything is crisp, colorful, and lush, and you take a look at the worlds Super Princess Peach beings to you. Those of you who are all about the flash, and not about the substance, hopefully will not simply ignore this title for that reason alone. Despite the presence of 2-D the early looks of the game are quite stunning and do a great service to how 2-D gaming should be done on a system like the Nintendo DS. The “cut-scenes” (basically just small storyline progressions) also look very well done from screenshots, and really stay true to the classic Mario universe. By that I mean, expect to see a lot of familiar elements in Super Princess Peach, especially in the enemies department where a lot of the classic baddies will make a return. The entire look of Super Princess Peach really just screams retro, and in some ways makes me think Nintendo is simply preparing us for one of the big NDS games promised to us all along: A brand new Super Mario Brothers game.

Now in terms of the sound, very little is known about the soundtrack of Super Princess Peach. However, you can expect the voice actor who does Peach in other games to make a return. Other Mario tunes may also make some cameos, along with the new music this game is sure to bring to the table. What may surprise some gamers out there is that this game is actually very story driven with a surprising amount of text conversations (much like the Superstar Saga games have been). Whether or not the comedy from those games makes the jump as well is something that remains to be seen, but we can only hope. The plot seems to center upon Mario and Luigi being captured by yet another one of Bowser’s plots and this time Peach has to do a little role reversal, and for once do the rescuing instead of being the one rescued.

The details that have emerged with the gameplay of Super Princess Peach are the most intriguing aspects of the new DS title. Certainly Peach will have a vast arsenal of moves at her disposal to save the day. Already known is that in addition to the routine moves of jumping, running, etc. Peach will make use of her umbrella in several ways (ala Super Smash Bros Melee) and also will be able to purchase new abilities and moves with coins that she collects. An example of this would be purchasing the flying/floating technique made famous in Super Mario Bro. 2. But throughout this entire preview there has yet to be one single mention of the touch screen and just how Super Princess Peach will be taking advantage of it. Here’s the deal: Peach has four separate emotions that will be used throughout the game. On the touch screen will be areas to tap for certain emotions. The four emotions are happiness, sadness, anger, and a blissful like state. They all run off of energy stored in Peach’s emotion bar. Every time you decide to use one of these emotions, obviously, you lose a little bit of your energy from the emotion bar. Now, fret not, because Super Princess Peach allows for ways to replenish the emotion bar. Blue crystals litter the levels you will go through, and collecting them will get your energy back. As for the four emotions themselves, each one performs a separate function: Happiness gives you your life energy back, anger gives you the use of a giant fireball like object that hovers by you, sadness lets Peach let loose with rivers of tears that will presumably defeat some enemies for you, and the blissful state will give Peach some hover time in the air. The touch screen will also be used for certain puzzles and bosses as the game goes onwards. The puzzles will range in difficultly, and will include all kinds of different situations. Interestingly enough the DS is certainly proving to be a breeding ground for touch screen driven puzzle games. Trace Memory certainly has shown as much, and with Resident Evil: Deadly Silence, and now Super Princess Peach getting into the mix the puzzle aspects of DS games seem to be catching on with many developers across several different genres.

Overall, Super Princess Peach seems like a very solid platformer to add to your DS collection. Appealing to gamers of all ages and genders will be a big plus for the Big N and it continues to try and expand its consumer base with the DS handheld. Super Princess Peach is due out on February the 27th. As of now no multi-player features have been announced in conjunction with Super Princess Peach. For news on that, or anything else about this title, make sure to stay with Inside Pulse games for all the latest information.