Nippon marathon is a party style running game that is absolute chaos in both style and presentation.
The game is made in the UK but the developers have tried to push this stereotype Japanese style where everything is over the top (and makes no bloody sense).
First off, the visuals, I have been trying to think of a way to describe them and the best I can come up with is this, take PS home and badly port it to PS2 and you will get close to how bad the graphics in this game are. It’s ugly, I don’t know if they were going for ugly but that seems stupid to me, why would you make your game look bad on purpose. It’s possibly one of the worst looking games on PS4.
Gameplay-wise, it’s a 4 player foot race that requires you to navigate bonkers tracks and gain popularity to win the race. You have to duck and dive to avoid hazards and obstacles while trying to cope with the games “harsh” physics. There are also item pickups on the track that allow you to attack the other players to make them fall over, or items to help give you a boost.
Due to 4 racers on the same play area, it uses the old Micro Machines stop-start style, so when the person in the first place gets far enough from other players they are awarded a point and the race restarts. It’s fairly straightforward but not really all that fun, unless you have real people to play vs.
They did throw in a single player mode, but my goodness, it’s hell to play. There is some attempt at a story but it’s like some kind of fever dream that makes no sense and, for some reason only known to the developers, they have plonked down 10-15 minutes of unskippable cutscenes (that also make no sense) before every eventual race. You can do this with all 4 story characters, and you have to if you want the 100%, but anyone that can put themselves through that torture is a better person than me.
You can just jump into quick race mode which can be played with up to 4 people but it offers local play only, so unless you have 3 other friends with you and 4 controllers you ain’t going to be playing that. There is a bowling mini-game that sees you jumping into shopping carts and becoming the bowling ball, and there is also a sort of assault course mini-game for you to tackle. Both of these modes are quite basic and also not all that fun to play.
If you are someone that has friends around a lot then perhaps you will enjoy this, but if I’m being 100% honest I did not like it at all (perhaps I’m missing the point), it has limited variety, it has an awful story mode and it’s basically relying on multiplayer but has no online.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*