Super Princess Peach
Our man in Japan grabs a hold of Princess Peach and won't let her go? Has he gone mad? No, he's just playing DS...
Genuinely new 2D Mario platformers have become as rare as truffles in recent years. Technically, Super Princess Peach isn't a Super Mario game, of course, but it's as good as one. And Mario is there, albeit incarcerated and awaiting rescue from Peach. (Oh, the irony!)
No need to worry, though, because Princess Peach -- as she last showed us way back in her starring role in Super Mario Bros. 2 -- has the moves. From initial impressions it's safe to say that this is a peach of a game. (Shoot me.)
The visual style of Super Princess Peach pitches the game into the same area as Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island: lovely bold tones and pop-up book quirks. The world map is particularly reminiscent of SMW. It really is a candy store feast of a looker, the kind of psychedelia that only Nintendo is prepared to release.
As lovely as it looks, though, it seems to me that Super Princess Peach could quite easily have been a Game Boy Advance title. The game's only notable use of the touchscreen so far has been to provide a quick selection of Peach's feelings. Happy, sad, angry and peaceful heart symbols are displayed on the touchscreen, surrounding a frontal drawing of Peach which serves to show you at a glance what sort of mood the Princess is in.
My gripe is that this is an unnecessary use of the touchscreen, but let me renege on that a wee bit because hey, it happens to work quite well. The four emotions empower Peach in a variety of useful ways, with, for example, a high-speed dash or a fiery furnace of invincibility. These special moves can be combined with Peach's ever useful umbrella. She's practically Mary Poppins here: she can fly, float and sail (yes, on water) using her sturdy parasol. Disposable brolly this ain't.
There's no multiplayer action here, which is unusual for a DS game, but as a straight single-player platform adventure it's vintage Nintendo. Provided that male players have no issues with their masculinity, and assuming that all the girls will be down at the front of the queue, Super Princess Peach is bound to be a big success. Kitsch, yes, but also fun, fun, fun.