Super Princess Peach seems to be the perfect game to play on a pink DS Lite. I mean, after all, it is a PRINCESS that is the hero (heroine) of the story. And Princess Peach is your typical girly-girl with her long flowing blonde hair and pink dress. And in the story, it is Mario, Luigi and the Mushroom Castle Toads that have been captured by Bowser, rather than Peach needing the rescue. What more could an 8 year old girl ask for in a side scroller game? The answer turned out to be not much. And her 30-something year old mom has liked the game even more. (I love it when I can get away with buying a game “for the kids” and then send them off to school.)
So, a bit about the storyline of the game. Bowser has captured Mario and his friends. Princess Peach was out for a walk when this happened, so she was safe this time. So, like any good heroine, Peach grabs her trusty, and magical, umbrella Perry, and sets off to rescue Mario and his pals. Not the deepest of storylines, but a storyline isn't really why you'd be playing this game anyway.
As I mentioned, the game is a side scroller, which means you move Peach through various scenes collecting stuff, fighting bad guys, and making your way past obstacles. Most of the challenge comes from “button mashing” fast enough and at the right time, again, typical of a side scroller. But Super Princess Peach is a bit different from at least the other side scroller's I've experienced. By using the touchpad features of the DS, you change Princess Peach's “vibe” (think attitude), thus giving her special abilities. Peach has a vibe guage that is filled by grabbing crystals or defeating enemies and absorbing them. When her vibe guage is full, she can use one of her special abilities. And this is where things get a bit different as far as I'm concerned. You have to figure out sometimes what vibe Peach should be using in different situations. For example if Peach is feeling gloomy, the blue heart, she'll start crying, bawling really, with waterworks that could flood a small town. Of course, if you line Peach up just right she'll put out fires or make flowers grow with those tears. On the other hand, a rage filled Peach can start fires and melt ice. Don't mess with an angry princess, in other words! Peach can also feel joy or just a nice peaceful calm, but I'll leave it to you to figure out when and why she'd use those feelings.
The game isn't easy for someone who isn't used to a side-scroller game, but it isn't impossible by any means. There are times when I get a bit frustrated with the game, and times when my daughter will hand it over to me out of her own frustration, but so far there hasn't been anywhere that I absolutely cannot get passed. While your goal in each stage is to rescue all the toads, you don't have to rescue all the toads to clear the stage. All you have to do to clear the stage is get past all the challenges and obstacles in your way. Sometimes this means completing a little puzzle, sometimes it just means wacking all the bad guys with your umbrellas. The puzzles so far are simple to figure out. For example, in one level you have to find the pattern in the mushrooms and repeat it in the flowers on the next scene, where the pattern gets slightly more complex with each scene. If you can't recall the pattern, you just go back and check the mushrooms again. As I said, not too hard, but it is a little out of the ordinary from what I'm used to in this sort of game.
To put it simply, if you're looking for a side-scrolling adventure game to play on a pink DS Lite, then you have got to pick up Super Princess Peach. If you're looking for a side-scrolling adventure game to play on any other color DS, then you'll probably still enjoy this game, but in our house the pink one seems to work best with the game. Having a heroine rather than a hero, and a game that is pretty well balanced to be challenging without being overly frustrating, makes this a hit for us. Too many adventure games for handhelds are completely dependent on how fast you can hit multiple buttons and dance your fingers over the controls. There is some of that in this game, of course, but the timing doesn't have to be so precise that there isn't a bit of “wiggle room”. In other words, it is just right for someone who is less than experienced with these type games, whether they are young like my daughter, or just new to the game type like myself.
The “glory days” of computer gaming for me were when games like Spectre Supreme, Pirate’s Gold, the Might and Magic series, the original Prince of Persia… those sorts of games were coming out on a regular basis. Back then I owned a Macintosh and was a die hard Mac fan. I was one of the first in my area to buy an iMac and on it learned the joy of playing games on the internet like daily crossword puzzle and “mind bender” type puzzles. My first online RPG was given to me for Christmas the year EQ was released, and I was hooked from day one. I played EQ for about a year. I started playing DaoC during late alpha testing, and was hooked on it.. well, to be honest I still am. I’ve tried pretty much every MMORPG I can get my hands on, from big names like EQ, to more obscure ones such as Underlight. I’ve been writing for IMGS since the first DaoC guide, and find I love the challenge of learning a game and presenting what I’ve learned (and sometimes my opinions), to other players.
I’m not a very strong player as far as learning PvE or quick reaction times, so I tend to stay away from games where I’m pitted against someone else in a way that requires physical (rather than mental) response. I still enjoy story and puzzle games, and in a way that’s how I still approach online games. I would much rather spend hours working through a quest than 5 minutes in combat against another player. I still get lost in simulation type games, obsessing over them until I’ve gotten them beaten. And I like being able to sit down at the computer when I’ve got less than half an hour and playing through a few levels of a puzzle game. I tend not to like first-person shooter type games, or anything with person to person violence, so I steer away from them unless they are fantasy based settings. All in all, I enjoy computer gaming so much that my life feels incomplete somehow when my computer is down.