Running through Japan like an absolute madman was never this fun.
I first got a look at Nippon Marathon during a showcase of Pqube's line-up for the coming months. The title – now available in early access on PC – is a multiplayer game for up to four people in which you race through stages based on Japanese locations and simply try to survive. You do this by running, jumping, flying and using items to get ahead of the curve. This isn't made by one teensy, little factor – the characters you play as all have ragdoll physics.
In a typical stage, you run until one player remains standing. At that point, they receive points. Then, it continues from the last place it ended. This carries on until the player reaches the finish line where even more points will be granted based on certain objectives. The game heavily relies on these stop and start over moments. So much so, that after a while they will start throwing aggressive dogs at you to keep you at bay. Naturally, the variety of items can make these come even sooner, ensuring that you stay aware of what is coming up ahead.
In all honesty, I got some smirky laughs out of the entire thing. Personally, I found myself constantly throwing the PQube employees constantly out of their game. In one instance, I would screw up their landing which made them fall in a hole. At another point I would lure the dogs close to me and then let them grab an opponent instead. Nippon Marathon is an excellent game if you have the intention of being an absolute jerk to others. It’s not the only way to play, but it’s certainly my favorite way.
Other than that, there isn't that much to say. The simple and goofy style won't be everybody's cup of tea. Nippon Marathon doesn't exactly look impressive but the laughs instantly make up for that. In addition, there might be interview sections where you can earn extra points by stringing answers together. This adds surprise to the overall flow which is already very disruptive to begin with. The title is meant to be played to have a laugh with friends. For that specific audience, I think that Nippon Marathon has a shot.