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When a family outing turns into a prehistoric trip including dinosaurs, Shin Chan has to be involved.
Shin chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation ~The Endless Seven-Day Journey~ was released in Japan on July 15th, 2021 for Nintendo Switch and worldwide in August 2022 for Switch, PlayStation 4 and on Steam. The narrative adventure is based on the manga and anime Crayon Shin-Chan, in which the five-year-old Shinnosuke Nohara, known as Shin-Chan, acts up with his parents. At the beginning of the game Shin-Chan ends up with his parents on the island of Kyushu to visit a friend of his mother’s, but the family trip will hold some unpleasant surprises.
Shin-chan adapts quickly to country life, helping the hosts’ family restaurant with sourcing groceries, brokering orders for the ninja curry restaurant, and running errands for the local supermarket. He also collects beetles, fish and other animal species and writes down what he experiences in his diary in order to earn some extra money as a young reporter for the local daily newspaper while also trying to get a date with the female editor. This is where the foul-mouthed Art Shin-Chan, which was reinforced in localised versions of the anime like in Germany, comes out. The surrounding area including its forests, lake, peak and cable car stations can be freely explored. It could all be so idyllic were it not for the mad professor who unleashes more and more dinosaurs on the village over the course of the seven days the family has planned to stay. Shin-chan’s ultimate task is to restore the idyll.
Just like in the movie Groundhog Day the week starts repeating after each departure. The clou: only Shin-Chan knows that. You have a fixed amount of stamina for each day and limited time to complete one of the approximately 20 storylines called episodes or to complete the optional tasks for the different shops. In total there are more than 60 animal species to discover. You cannot see your progress within these individual quest lines in detail and you have to guess which characters are affected by its short title. You don’t have to complete all the quests to complete the game, and luckily a New Game+ is included to help you complete the remaining story arcs and find the rest of the animal species. It takes a while to get into the rhythm and even in the end the aforementioned date can be cancelled by a story event that was just triggered in the wrong moment. Possibly you can catch up on it later during New Game+. The game only has a Japanese voiceover and localised text which features numerous references to TV shows like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or movies like Groundhog Day. We don’t like the fact that every day starts and ends the same. The repeating morning and evening rituals at the dining table, in the bath and in bed just cannot be skipped.
The art style of the game stands out in a good way. The contrast between the two-dimensional and deformed designs of the Crayon Shin-chan characters and the detailed hand-drawn backgrounds is very well done. Especially during Golden Hour the vibrant environment looks magnificent. The lack of anti-aliasing is clearly visible on each character and it doesn’t help that the resolution is limited to 1,920×1,080 pixels, even on the PC.
Shin chan: My Summer Vacation with the Professor ~The Endless Seven-Day Journey~ will take viewers of the original anime back to their own childhood. Since the localization of the game, in contrast to the anime, decided to reproduce the language faithfully to the original, the adventure is also largely suitable for children. The same applies to the low difficulty of the game. The game world invites exploration due to the numerous animal and plant species and the beautiful hand-drawn landscape, but we would have liked a clearer quest design and side tasks that go beyond delivering food. Especially the entertaining dialogue lets you forget the last fetch quest quickly. If the environment, graphics and setting look familiar, you might have played Attack of the Friday Monsters! Played A Tokyo Tale on the Nintendo 3DS. No wonder, after all, Kaz Ayabe was instrumental in the creation of both games. We’d love to delve into the world of Crayon Shin-Chan in video game form again. The next game from developer Millenium Kitchen, Natsu-Mon! 20th Century Summer Vacation, will be available in Japan from July 28th, 2023.
The publisher provided us with a Steam code. We captured the screenshots on PC.