How do the First Ladies of gaming fair?
Hello and welcome back to GoNintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Character Review Series, where we take a look at the fighters of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s roster and see how well they represent their respective characters.
Today, in celebration of the release of Super Mario Bros. Wonder as well as the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA), we’ll be covering the female lead of the series, Princess Peach Toadstool! As an added bonus we will also be covering Peach’s echo fighter, the tomboyish Princess Daisy, in celebration for her finally being playable in a mainline title.
This will be the first time in this series where we cover an echo fighter. While my intention is to cover echos at the same time as their base fighter, we’ll have to see how feasible that is for later characters.
As always, we suggest you refer back to our first review to get an idea of how we will be grading these movesets. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
The only overt references in Peach’s Neutrals are her Forward Smashes, which can be changed via angling the control stick upon each use of the attack.
These items do a good job of making reference to the main places Peach is playable: Sports and RPG spinoffs.
The rest of her Neutrals are therefore less of clear references and more based on Peach’s more princess-y qualities (for lack of a better phrase).
This isn’t really meant to be a criticism of her portrayal, however; Peach has always been less aggressive than her contemporaries. I’m actually quite happy that they stayed true to her character instead of making her something she’s not, like how Mario was made a super serious fighter. We’ll get into this more in the aesthetics section, but all of the character portrayal problems I have with Mario I do not have for Peach.
There is another aspect of Peach referenced in her Neutrals that some may overlook: her magical capabilities.
It may be difficult to remember, but the original Super Mario Bros. Manual states that one of the reason Bowser kidnaps Peach is because she could use her powers to break the curse he placed over the Mushroom Kingdom.
The only one who can undo the magic spell on the Mushroom People and return them to their normal selves is the Princess Toadstool, the daughter of the Mushroom King. Unfortunately, she is presently in the hands of the great Koopa turtle king.
And before you ask, yes, this was true in the original Japanese release as well.
The only one who can lift the spell on the Mushroom People and bring them back to life is the Mushroom Kingdom’s Princess Peach. She is currently in the clutches of Great Demon King Koopa.
Peach’s magical capabilities are not brought up often, but they are implied to be one of the reasons she can float (As seen in her first playable appearance in Super Mario Bros. 2), a feat she is also able to perform in Smash.
This magic also makes appearances in the Sports and RPGs as well. Peach’s supers across the sports titles usually involve her using her heart magic to some extent.
In Super Mario RPG, Peach played the role of a white mage using magic to heal the party.
In Smash, Peach’s magic is expressed through hearts, rainbows, and twirling ribbons.
The last thing to bring up is Peach’s new grab and throw animations for Smash Ultimate, which now feature Toad.
Toad was always a part of Peach’s moveset thanks to the Neutral Special, but Ultimate seemed to really want to push Toad into being a more active participant in the battlefield.
I have mixed feelings about this. Toads are shown frequently to love Peach and would be willing to do anything for her, the problem is they so often are unable. Peach is kidnapped so regularly it’s kind of hard to imagine the Toads as being capable of defending her.
There’s also the fact that the Toads assisting her removes some of the agency from Peach as a fighter, though one could also argue the Toads prominence in the moveset highlights Peach’s royal status and leadership capabilities. I honestly could go either way on Toad’s boosted importance, and I’m curious to hear what you think.
What Peach’s Neutrals lack in overt reference they make up for in personality. While I can definitely see the claims that she could use some more pulls from the source material (especially given the impending release of her new solo game), it’s impressive she came out as well as she did, considering how the Smash team had so little to work with for years (from the mainline games anyway).
Unfortunately, Daisy’s Neutrals do not fair so well. While some echo fighters have differing stats and even attacks to separate them from their original, Daisy utilizes all of Peach’s attacks verbatim.
While these attacks work great for Peach, they unfortunately do not work as well for the tomboyish Princess.
Take the Forward Smash for example. While the racket and club still definitely fit for Daisy, the frying pan doesn’t make sense on her anymore.
While Daisy is not immune to being girly, she is consistently depicted as spunkier and rougher than her Mushroom Kingdom counterpart. So, while some attacks like the kicks and slaps work for Daisy, Peach’s more delicate attacks don’t work as well.
To be fair, Daisy does seem to have some flower-based abilities as seen in the Mario Sports games, but to deliver them in the same way as Peach feels wrong.
I don’t have an issue with Daisy using magic similar to Peach, but she should do things in her own way.
My biggest complaint with this moveset is the inclusion of Toad for Daisy’s grabs and neutral special.
While I’m torn on Toad’s appearance in Peach’s grabs, I definitely don’t think he should be anywhere near Daisy’s.
Toads have never been shown to be Daisy’s servants. Granted, we don’t know much about Daisy’s home kingdom of Sarasaland (except for what we see in Super Mario Land) but Toads don’t make a single appearance in that game, so we can safely assume they wouldn’t be her servants.
My bigger annoyance though is robbing Daisy from being allowed to pummel and toss her enemies around. While you could make the argument that the grabs and throws might be too violent for Peach’s disposition, they certainly are well within Daisy’s wheelhouse.
It’s so unfortunate that the game where they finally decide to add Daisy is also the game where Peach’s grabs became Toad-reliant. While Peach’s attacks did the Mushroom Monarch plenty of justice, Daisy’s rough and tumble personality was unfortunately lost in translation.
Getting into the Special attacks now. Let’s start with the neutral.
Her Neutral Special summons out Toad to block incoming attacks and counter with a cloud of spores. Interestingly, this is one of the few times Toads are depicted as being able to shoot spores.
This attack received a visual overhaul for Ultimate. In previous Smash titles, Peach pulled the Toad out from her dress and used the poor fungi as a shroom shield, now Toad gladly jumps in to protect his princess. This helps highlight how much respect the Toads have for Peach, while not taking too much attention from her like the grabs and throws do.
Peach’s Down Special is a more overt reference that pulls from her first playable appearance in Super Mario Bros. 2 (USA): Peach reaches down and plucks an item from the ground. Typically, the item pulled is a turnip with a wide variety of faces that can be thrown to deal damage, but Peach can also pull a Bob-omb, beam sword, or Mr. Saturn from the ground.
This is based on the main mechanic of Doki Doki Panic aka Mario 2, plucking turnips from the ground to attack enemies and sometimes being treated to a random surprise. It’s a fun attack that pulls from Peach’s history and adds a random element to Peach’s playstyle.
While most wouldn’t think much of the parasol, there is a lot of interesting history behind it.
Speaking of interesting history, that brings us to Peach’s Side Special: Peach Bomber.
This attack features Peach launching herself rear-forward towards the enemy. If she connects, a massive explosion of hearts will send them flying.
This move seems to be a reference to a similar attack from Street Fighter’s R. Mika, fittingly named the flying peach. That may seem odd, but Smash is no stranger to referencing other fighting games even when it doesn’t make sense (looking at you Akuma Yoshi).
The idea of the move is pretty straightforward: peaches look like butts and the characters name is Peach, so they gave her a butt attack. While there’s no reference to the Mario series in this move, I can’t help but like it. Peach Bomber occupies a similar space in my mind as Falcon Punch or Jigglypuff’s rest – attacks that really don’t make sense as references to source material, but are iconic in their own right.
Peach’s Final Smash is an original attack, Peach Blossom. Peach dances and puts all her enemies to sleep while summoning giant Peaches to fall from the sky, which she can also eat to regain health. While this attack was made up for Smash Bros., it seems to once again take inspiration from Mario RPG where Peach had sleeping and healing spells.
While this was an alright final Smash for Brawl, by the time Ultimate came around it really should have gotten replaced with a more clear-cut reference.
I’ll be honest, when I started writing this, I was expecting to grade Peach’s specials more harshly but, after researching, I have a new found appreciation for them. They are unconventional attacks for an unconventional fighter and I really like them.
The same once again can’t be said for poor Daisy. All of her specials are exactly the same as Peach’s and the only one that really works for her is the Side Special and possibly the Down Special.
The Final Smash, Daisy Blossom, is another unfortunate copy. It’s just a reskin of Peach Blossom but with edible daisies instead of Peaches (are edible daisies even a thing?). One of the reasons I buy this attack for Peach is it’s very non-aggressive; Peach isn’t the type to pummel her enemies with a flashy attack, she’d opt to play more defensively. Playing defensively simply does not fly for Daisy’s fiery personality.
Peach was the first character in a genre of Smash Bros. fighters that I like to call the “accidental fighter.” This refers to characters who don’t necessarily attack, but more so perform actions that just so happen to hurt their opponents.
While Peach does have a few outright attacks like kicks and slaps, she also has moves like her parasol and ribbon attacks that seem more like Peach is just playing around and accidentally hurting people. While characters like Villager and Isabelle would take this idea further, Peach stands unique in the roster for pioneering this non-aggressive playstyle.
Her non-aggressiveness is only surface level, however, as anyone who’s watched or fought a competitive Peach knows she’s a force to be reckoned with. A character who consistently performs well throughout the series due in part to her good ariel movement and interesting mix-ups provided by the turnips and their randomness.
Speaking of her good ariel movement, Peach (and by extension Daisy) are the only characters on the whole roster to have the float ability, which adds to their utility. Arguably, they shouldn’t be the only characters to have access to this technique (Mewtwo, Ganondorf ext.) but as of now that is the case.
That’s what makes Peach so interesting in Smash; her attacks and general appearance don’t necessarily suggest she’d be a decent fighter, but underestimating her can prove to be deadly. That’s the trait that I really love about Peach – what she lacks in raw power she makes up for in lowering the enemies guard and elegantly dancing around them.
This unfortunately means that since Daisy is just a copy of Peach, she doesn’t stand out at all from her original. In fairness, the Peach/Daisy archetype is pretty unique in Smash, so it could be worse but it also could’ve been better.
I’ll give some points considering that she was an echo fighter with less effort put in than other fighters, but I still feel like more could have been done to make her stand out.
We’re talking about Peach and Daisy together for this one because they both get very high marks.
While Daisy’s personality doesn’t get to shine through her attacks, we get to see it on full display with her taunts and various other animations.
The same can also be said for Peach. One thing I particularly love about her portrayal is the almost… bratty quality Peach has in Smash, particularly with her infamous “Did I Win?” quote.
Speaking of voicework, both the princess sound like themselves thanks to the talents of Samantha Kelly as Peach and Deanna Mustard as Daisy – though the latter utilizes recycled voice clips.
It’s nice to have both princesses get high marks this time around.
Writing this review has given me a new appreciation for Peach in Smash Bros. I feel like I tend to not give older Smash character designs the proper credit they deserve (considering how much goes into modern additions to the series), but Peach has reminded me that sometimes a good understanding of a character’s fundamentals is all you need for a good design.
Taking the floating ability from Peach’s first ever playable appearance and building her playstyle around that is a simple solution but ultimately very effective. Using her incredible air control to duke it out in the skies is very befitting of a platformer princess.
This elegance and grace on the battlefield perfectly encompasses Princess Peach’s character.While Mario lost something in his translation, Peach remains perfectly intact.
I have some minor nitpicks here and there, but ultimately Peach’s design is all-in-all very well done.
It’s hard to grade Daisy in this category. Her playstyle doesn’t fit her character, but I wouldn’t say it’s bad at all. It’s the same great moveset that made Peach so beloved, it just doesn’t make as much sense when Daisy does it.
Considering Daisy’s status as an echo fighter, this seems all but inevitable. Sakurai has stated in the past that these echoes fighters were made to have more characters in the roster but with less effort than a real fighter. In other words, they’re just fan service.
That being said, some echoes like Ken and Chrom received a decent number of extra touches to make them stand out from their counterpart, and I can’t help but wonder why Daisy and others like her couldn’t have received a similar treatment.
It would’ve been interesting to see a character with some of Peach’s abilities but with more aggressive attacks, but I also understand that the point of the echoes was to not stray too far from the original fighter.
I understand that there was limited time and resources, but I still would’ve liked to see Daisy get something to make her stand out.
Peach’s final score is 43/50 or 86% while Daisy’s score is 30/50 or 60%.
These are both good characters at their core who just need some extra love to push them to their full potential.
Moving on to moveset changes, I think it’d make sense to pull from games where Peach had a starring role, starting with the Nintendo DS’s Super Princess Peach.
While this game’s interpretation of a playable Peach has been heavily scrutinized, one idea that I think is worth pursuing is using the parasol more in Peach’s attacks. Aside from the controversial Vibe mechanic, Perry the Parasol is the main gameplay feature of the game, so Peach using her parasol to smack her foes around would make sense.
It would even tie back into the Parasol’s original game, Super Mario RPG, where the parasol was in fact one of Peach’s weapon types.
They could even go the extra step and add in her fan from Mario RPG as well, especially considering the fan item was removed from the Smash series.
If Sakurai wanted to think outside of the box and take inspiration from another series, he could borrow some moves from the parasol copy ability from Kirby, too.
It might sound out there, but Smash’s mechanics were inspired by Sakurai’s work on Kirby Super Star.
Honestly, though, the main reason I want to include the parasol in Peach’s moveset is so we can incorporate a similar idea in Daisy’s echo fighter moveset – but more on that later.
While we’re pulling from Peach’s starring roles, the next Smash should definitely take some inspiration from Princess Peach Showtime! Even though Super Princess Peach came first, Showtime really seems to be getting the attention from Nintendo as THE Princess Peach game, so it undoubtedly should be referenced.
While I know a popular idea would be to let her use the sword from swordfighter Peach, I’m personally not that big a fan. In my opinion, Peach has more interesting things to offer than being another sword in Smash Bros. The swordfighter outfit, as well as the others featured in the game, should definitely be included as alt costumes though.
Obviously, at the time of writing, Princess Peach Showtime! isn’t out yet, so we don’t know the full range of abilities Peach will have, but an obvious inclusion would be the new ribbon attacks she gains from her partner Stella.
Peach has some ribbon-based attacks already, so it’d be relatively easy to recolor them to match Stella’s light blue ribbons and maybe even give Peach some new ribbon attacks as well.
The last change I’d like to see would be to Peach’s Final Smash. And while I’m sure Showtime will give us an obvious choice, I would like to suggest Peach Beam from the original Paper Mario.
Peach Beam was essentially the attack needed to defeat Bowser; Peach’s heartfelt wishes combined with the power of the Star Spirits are strong enough to dispel Bowser’s invincibility allowing Mario to save the day. The attack doesn’t do any actual damage in the original game, so that’d have to be changed for Smash.
While many would probably wish for Daisy to not be an echo fighter so she can have a more original moveset, I personally think that if Daisy wasn’t an echo she wouldn’t have been considered for the roster to begin with. So, with all that in mind, I’m only going to offer Improvements that would make Daisy a better echo fighter rather than completely de-cloning her.
The first thing would be to change her stats so they’d different from Peach. Daisy would lose her ability to float in exchange for faster ground and fall speed, which would offer a more aggressive take on Peach’s playstyle.
We know from the likes of Ken and Chrom that echo fighters can have altered stats and moves, so this feels perfectly feasible.
Another way we could make Daisy be more aggressive while staying true to the spirit of echo fighters is borrowing moves from Melee Peach. In Melee, Peach actually had way more aggressive attacks that would slowly be replaced with her more in-character attacks as the series went on, but these would be perfect for Daisy!
I mentioned earlier that one of the reasons I wanted to see Peach fight with her parasol more was so we could do something similar for Daisy: instead of a parasol, she would instead use a baseball bat.
Speaking of the sports games, I’m sure many would suggest making her new Final Smash based on one of the supers from those games, but I think an equally interesting idea would be to reference her original game, Super Mario Land.
Super Mario Land is such an oddball game in the Mario series that it’s easy to see why no ideas for moves were pulled from it.
Speaking personally, I wanted to work in a Mario Land reference by giving her the Superball for a new Neutral Special, but it felt too far out of the scope of an echo fighter.
Since the Final Smashes are allowed to go big and crazy, it felt like the best place for it.
While Smash Ultimate moved away from controllable Final Smashes, it’s possible they could return to the idea in a future title.
The biggest change to Daisy would come with her Specials, and I think a great source of inspiration would be the recently released Super Mario Bros. Wonder.
Not only does this game actually mark the first mainline playable appearance for Daisy (unless you count Super Mario Run), it also features Flower shaped badges that tie into Daisy’s abilities almost too perfectly.
Of course, in order to talk about my ideas for Daisy, I will need to spoil some of the badges in Super Mario Bros. Wonder – so if you’re trying to stay spoiler free, I suggest skipping ahead to the article’s end.
My first suggestion is to revamp her Neutral Special with the Grappling Vine Badge. It would function similarly to the other tethers in Smash already and allow Daisy to close in on her opponents quicker, as well as aid in her recovery now that she can no longer float.
It’s also just a super fitting attack given Daisy’s use of plants and flowers in her special attacks in Mario Sports games.
Since tethers are something that already exist for multiple characters, I feel this move would be easier to program than a completely original attack like the Superball.
This new move called the Daisy Cyclone would feature Daisy spinning upwards as a cyclone of Daisies and orange flower petals surround her. It would take her higher than the parasol could to once again make up for her losing floating.
I think the best comparison, oddly enough, is how it would be Daisy’s take on Wario’s Corkscrew Up Special.
It honestly works even better on Daisy because Wario’s Corkscrew isn’t inspired by anything to my knowledge (but that’s a story for when we eventually get to Wario).
Lastly, while I shared my distaste for Daisy using the turnip Down Special, I don’t think I’ll change it for this hypothetical moveset. While I was able to justify replacing two of her specials, I feel replacing anymore would be stepping too far out of echo fighter territory for my liking.
If you read this far, I’m curious what you think. Do you think these changes to Daisy make her stray too far out of the realm of an echo fighter? Keep in mind that characters like Chrom and Ken have similar flourishes. Even if these ideas are stepping over boundaries, I feel they could help Daisy to feel more like herself.
Thank you once again for reading this review! Please let us know your thoughts on Princess Peach and Daisy in Smash Bros. in the comments. Also, be sure to let us know of any other characters you’d want to see us cover. I can’t guarantee they’ll be next, but it would be nice to know where the audience’s interests lie.
A recently graduated creative writer hoping to work his way into the greater gaming sphere.