Back in the early 2000’s, there was a show called “Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.” It was a comedy program built out of re-purposed footage from an older Japanese show called “Takeshi’s Castle,” wherein contestants had to deal with all manner of ridiculous challenges and obstacle courses. It never got a video game, but if it did it would probably look a lot like Nippon Marathon.
Nippon Marathon is a physics-driven racing party game that challenges its players to navigate their way through a large variety of courses located throughout Japan. These include everything from a mad-dash downhill through false doors while chased by shiba inu to jaunts across rickety river bridges while jetpack-piloting reporter attempt mid-race interviews. Oh, and the competition will be tossing heavy pineapples all over the place too.
In addition to all the silliness and party game antics, Nippon Marathon actually features a story mode with several oddball protagonists to choose from. Be it J Darwin the lobster-man or the Narwhal superfan Elizabeth Nishibori, it’s likely that the tale told here will be bizarrely entertaining. There’s even an “evil” racer by the name of “Handsome Hazuki.” He’s won the marathon ten years in a row an absolutely must be stopped for some reason.
Players can also enjoy two additional party modes: shopping cart bowling and “L.O.B.S.T.E.R. gauntlets.” Shopping cart bowling is basically what it sounds like: jumping into a large shopping cart and competing to see who can knock down the most pins. As for L.O.B.S.T.E.R. gauntlets, these are randomly-generated courses with less room to maneuver and more hazards than the normal marathon courses. It’s going to take a true marathon master to navigate them Everyone else had better bring a helmet.
Nippon Marathon is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.