I’ve tried everything within my power to understand Nippon Marathon, and three weeks later I’m still as clueless as I was on the first day. I just don’t get it.
It’s a weird little oddity, Nippon Marathon. I think it’s supposed to be a celebration of weird Japanese humour? The developers behind the game are big fans of Japanese games and culture and, last I heard, they’d ditched Britain to jet off to Japan to start a life there. So yeah, I assume they know their Japanese references. And good for them. I, however, do not.
The game is part-visual novel, part party-racer. The game can be played alone in single-player, but I have to admit that what little fun I managed to have with the game came by playing in co-op with the Mrs. She didn’t get it either.
There are four storylines to follow if you go down that road, and each is as wacky as the last. There’s a character who has a dog’s head instead of a human head, but he is human shaped. There’s an old man who dresses like a young girl. See what I mean? I just don’t get it. But I think, maybe, it’s supposed to be this way? Is this what Japanese humour is all about? Honestly, I couldn’t care less and after a few minutes I was past caring about anything going on and just wanted to get some gameplay under my belt so I could knock out this review.
The gameplay is, well, a marathon. You race against other competitors in Takeshi’s Castle style events. You’ll need to jump over obstacles, avoid traps, and use powerups to give yourself the edge. It’s not particularly hard, mind you, and playing against the A.I was a massive ego-boost to a serial loser like myself. Playing with a buddy, however, does give the game a little more staying power. There’s local multiplayer for up to four players, though I could only muster one other human to play with me – the aforementioned Mrs.
Competing against each other forces some funny moments and we did have a few chuckles as we slipped around a few stages, but compared to other party games, this one got ditched very, very quickly.
The gameplay could be better, sure, but the whole package is just bizarre and, forgive me for saying this, a little bit rubbish. The presentation is serviceable but also wouldn’t look out of place on the PS Vita (R.I.P). The humour is way off what I find to be funny – it’s very annoying, actually.
I suppose if you’re into Japanese stuff and you take one of those weird Japanese body pillows to bed instead of a human, you’re probably the target audience. Still, even then I’d suggest you download Tinder instead of this.
Nippon Marathon PS4 Review
Overall - Bad - 4/10
Nippon Marathon is a weird game for weird people. I consider myself to be weird, but this is some next-level stuff. If you find that your tastes in games generally align with mine, leave this alone. If you sit around watching anime on your Hello Kitty TV whilst eating imported noodles with authentic wasabi sauce – go for it, you weirdo.
Party play has potential
Overly simply gameplay
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
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Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella. (Bronze trophies, that is – he only has one Platinum.)