Nippon Marathon (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 05.01.2019

Review for Nippon Marathon on Nintendo Switch

To many, Japan will always be the height of cool, responsible for some of the greatest games, stories, and movies of all time. For others, it will sadly always be that wacky place responsible for things like Takeshi's Castle, mad TV shows, and "crazy" culture. It seems that the developers of Nippon Marathon are in the second camp, as it's described as "the ultimate tribute to Japanese game shows," setting four competitors in races across Japan, having to avoid insane obstacles along the way.

The main mode of the game is "Story," which is made up of race after race, interspersed with some ridiculous plot moments. There are four characters with stories to play through, starting with J Darwin, a teenage boy in a lobster costume; a man with a dog head named Snuguru Maestro; a Narwhal-obsessed girl in a onesie; and finally an old man in a Japanese girls school sailor suit.

The main gameplay is a top-down race, where you run across a course filled with destructive scenery and various paths to the finish line. In between, there are killer Shiba Inu, monks swinging rakes at legs, cars careening through contestants, and lots more. The stages themselves are often as dangerous with collapsing buildings, death melons falling from the sky, and precarious pathways to cross. There aren't just obstacles, though, there are also power-ups here and there too. Banana peels to drop, melons to throw, and so on.

Screenshot for Nippon Marathon on Nintendo Switch

This is the core gameplay of the game, but between each of the racing stages, there is a story. An absolutely horrendous one. Filled with the level of comedy found on 9gag. Filled to bursting with awful cringey writing. Worst of all, it seems to go on forever and it can't be sped up or skipped. The presentation? Well, it looks and sounds like an asset flip from Steam early access, with awful, generic models with no real animation.

This could be explained as part of the overall style or aesthetic, but it seems more likely it's just a terrible job. There's random Japanese language scattered all over the game - it's not the Japanese equivalent of the English words on screen. For example, the pause screen says "Hopefully nothing moves." That's actually one of the few funny things here, with some chuckle-worthy comments. That is, for the very limited amount of Japanese speakers that would play this.

Outside of the main game, there's a versus mode for party-based multiplayer and two dumb mini-games: one where a shopping trolley is pushed down the lanes of a gargantuan bowling alley to knock down pins, and another that is actually more like what this game purported to be: a Takeshi's Castle/Ultimate Ninja Warrior style obstacle course... which is the only thing that is fun here.

Screenshot for Nippon Marathon on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

Nippon Marathon is an atrocious game. The kind of "wacky" that is trying far too hard to be funny and failing in every way. Cringeworthy. Buggy. Dull. Between the terrible gameplay and the appalling writing, it's hard to keep playing and not just turn this off for literally anything else. Absolute shovelware, and one of the worst to come to Switch.


Onion Soup







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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