Google knows you, and my browser has been filled lately with advertisement for Nippon Marathon. What Google doesn’t know is that I purchased the game on day one and I am loving it.
I mentioned the advert because the game is marketed as “Takeshi castle meets Micromachines” which is somewhat true, but with the huge difference that Nippon Marathon is much more fun than Micro Machine. That’s because the learning curve in Nippon Marathon is practically zero, and you don’t need to be any good to obtain great amounts of fun playing it.
In Nippon Marathon you impersonate an idiot of your choice, running with other 3 wacky characters such as a dog herectus, a man dressed as a lobster or the self-explaing Handsome Hazuki. Moving and jumping around is way easier than driving a tiny car over a fast course, so it’s quite easy for anyone to have a chance, making it a great multiplayer game suitable for families, girlfriends and your inept friends.
Each course is filled with crazy obstacles such as salmon, salary men and dogs especially, which eventually will make you fall and be left behind. When this happens, the referee whistle will eliminate you and once a section is won by somebody, all the characters will line up again ready to sprint from the last checkpoint.
In order to win, it is more imporant to survive than winning the section. If you place fourth in a section you will lose two stars (starts get you winning points at the end of the race) while if you win you only gain one. This works well because it turns every round in an exhilarating run for survival, throwing watermelons and eating bananas in the process. You also get bonus points for things like being the most smelly, but I’ll leave this to you to discover. Each bit of Nippon Marathon, from the menu to the credits roll, is filled with crazy Japanese humour and will make you happy.
Despite having only 5 different courses, the game has a good amount of content. There are collectibles that unlock pages in a completely useless but hilarious travel guide and two minigames: a bowling played on shopping cart and L.O.B.S.T.E.R, a proper Takeshi Castle depiction where you compete one player at a time to get as far as possible on the obstacle course.
The story mode is fun as well and tells a story that will make you laugh. However I need to warn that story sections can be quite lengthy compared to the short running sections and the dialogs cannot be skipped or fast forwarded. It is worth reading it for a good laugh, so my recommendation saving it for later and come back to it with the right relaxed mindset of reading a visual novel, after you satiated yourself running half and full marathons, to enjoy the game at its best.
Nippon Marathon is one of the best games I played last year and it’s going to stay installed on my Switch forever.
+ great party game everybody will love
+ So hilarious that it’s fun in solo too
+ Crazy fun
-I want more courses!