Reviews// Super Princess Peach (DS)

The Nintendo DS - a girly, pink toy?

Posted 31 Jul 2006 16:11 by
Lets accept it, the DS is a girl's console. At least that's the impression Nintendo seemingly attempts to convey through its television adverts. There's the Nintendogs one, showing a posh lady giving instructions on how to care for her pups to some bell boy - all interspersed with footage of various fluff balls chasing their tales. The Animal Crossing one has a young lady flicking on her router on the way to the garden… sorry, we need to digress here. They're not trying to tell us there are girls out there confident with routers? IP addresses? DNS Servers? Port Forwarding?

On anecdotal evidence alone (always the barometer of factual accuracy!) women are as likely to successfully set up a router as a man giving good relationship advice. Now we've got the lazy stereotypes out of our systems, where were we? Ah yes, the DS, a girls console. In the good old days of gaming, women got captured and men were heroes. Everyone knew their place and was happy - much like before women got the vote, and could feed a man a hearty dinner that wasn't zapped in a microwave.

For those that haven't cottoned on, our misogyny is very much tongue-in-cheek. Honest, love! Nintendo's genius with the DS is opening it up to the widest demographic of any console thus far. The risk was opening up new markets at the expense of alienating the 'classic' under 30 males. Thankfully for Ninty, this hasn't happened. Perhaps a sign that modern, young men are becoming all touchy-feely and metrosexual? Nah, of course not, Ninty have just become masters of catering for all tastes.

As most of you without lobotomies would've deduced, Super Princess Peach (SPP) reverses the roles for Peach and Mario. Mario now being Bowser's hapless captive, and Peach the bold hero(ine) coming to the rescue. It's a clever mechanism; Ninty can recycle current IP, whilst not needing to increment the famous Super Mario Bros series. Of course, we've had Peach at our disposal before in a platform game, as a selectable character in Super Mario Bros 2 - a game considered by many fans not to be a true Mario game, since it was basically a US remake of the Japanese game Doki Doki Panic.

So, is making Peach the protagonist another example of Ninty's genius at opening the games market to girls? Well, you could hardly call Mario macho. Sure, he's got a moustache, but he's more Village People than Spaghetti Western mercenary. So you'd think the innocent, vibrant worlds of Mushroom Kingdom in previous Mario games would appeal to both sexes already? Regardless of the change in roles, the most apparent difference is its twee nature. Mario platformers have always been cartoony and light-hearted, but they're a gritty, urban, gangsta-shooter in comparison to SPP - but more on the importance of this later.

Ah yes, there's a story. Near the Mushroom Kingdom is a place called Vibe Island, where a magical device called the Vibe Sceptre is hidden - which has the power to control emotions. Naturally, Bowser enlists his minions to bag it for him, in order to capture the inhabitants of Peach's palace, where Mario, Luigi and several toads just happen to be staying. Luckily for Peach, and her trusty umbrella Perry (yeah, first we've heard of him too), they were out walking when Bowser sprung his attack. Of course, they deduce Bowser is up to his old kidnapping tricks again, and so take it upon themselves to rescue their mates.
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I'll Eat Your Soul 10 Aug 2006 15:21
I was thoroughly surprised by this game. My fiancée bought it for me as I was too embarassed to do so myself and it's a solid, fun, challenging game.

I personally find the challenge more evenly balanced than New Super Mario Bros. - had it some of that title's graphical flair and a more toned down colour palette, I would go as far as saying it's the better of the two games.
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