Shin chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation The Endless Seven-Day Journey is not only a mouth full but a story rich adventure game, this was a game that was stuck in Japan for over a year but has finally been released here in the west.
if Kureshin and Bokunatsu make sense and sounds appealing then we can keep this review extremely straightforward and just tell you to buy this game, if not then let’s start with making sense abit. Kureshin is the Japanese shortened name for Crayon Shin Chan, a manga series and anime sitcom about a two kids and a dark Japanese family focused on Shinnosuke or Shin Chan the impish five-year-old that spent his time infuriating his parents causing arguments and making butt dances, Bokunatsu meanwhile is short for Boku no Natsuyasumi or My Summer Vacation if translated, a game series kicked off on the Playstation in the 2000s about a boy whiling away a month of summer days in the Japanese countryside exploring, chasing bugs and fishing and generally letting his imagination find adventure in a place with nothing really too thrilling to do, while Shin Chan The Endless Seven-Day Journey is not a Bokunatsu game, though it’s developed by Millennium Kitchen the creators of the originals so this game and the Bokunatsu series bear a lot of similarities.
The game follows five-year-old Shinnosuke aka Shin who’s joined by both his parents, his sister and dog, bumps into a few familiar faces when they go on vacation, on their way to their destination they meet an unusual professor who subsequently gifts them with a camera that has the ability to turn any pictures into drawings, the totally ordinary vacation turns unusual quite quickly with the introduction of some dinosaurs and uh it gets stranger from there. If you’re familiar with the series there’s quite a bit of dancing and the story plays out over several days through which you’ll meet a few new characters that Shin can be inappropriate with but here’s a point of note, if you’re a fan of the Japanese versions of Shin Chan then the game is going to appeal to you quite a lot as you’ll be aware of many of the jokes relate to Japanese Culture and they just won’t be understood by a western audience if you’re a fan of the us adaption which saw a complete script rewrite and has many more crude jokes and quite a bit of swearing in it as well this version of Shin Chan might feel a little alien to you, it’s not to say the game isn’t amusing but the US series is so on the nose the Japanese are much more subtle with their humour.
The story is quite easy to follow but it can feel a little stunted by the game’s over reliance on telling it over the number of days, some of the best interactions are those unrelated to the main story and with some of the side sidecast of characters, when Shin Chan he took his dad to his favorite place and that place turned out to be the local girly fancies as I’m sure you can gather the humor is on the adult side.
Gameplay is an unusual mix once you’ve acquired the camera you can take photos of different creatures that you capture using your net, once you scoop them up in your net you’ll take a photograph which will be added to your scrapbook, other events will automatically be photographed and added to your book as well and each day a vacation has a number of photographs which will be entirely optional. Now the town itself is split into a series of unusual activities, they’re essentially small mini games such as things like fishing where perplexingly there’s an option to switch between a rod and a pole, then there are the different notice boards on some of the shops these are fetch quest style errands sending you out to hunt around for different flora and fauna which the shopkeeper will then purchase off you in exchange for a little pocket money, why might you need money you ask? Well each day you’re given a set amount of stamina, when it reaches zero Shin is going to pass out and wake up in his mother’s worried arms but this can be mitigated by simply eating or drinking something to keep you awake.
Believe it or not the game controls a bit like an old school resident evil title as far as the camera goes, Shin can be moved in 360 degrees but it is a bit tricky to figure out exactly how to get from A to B as you move from one screen to the next you don’t know where you’re going to be facing and there’s zero in the way of mapping, a small map in the corner would have helped things massively but it’s almost like they want you to get lost. The town has other mini-games like farming which again is a single button game and again relates to you being able to harvest crops which you can sell to stay awake, one of the more interesting activities was a Pokemon style battle simulator where you fight the current dinosaurs you’ve named, it was a reasonable distraction for a few minutes but for me the fun of the game doesn’t really come from its gameplay elements, much like a visual novel it’s the story which ties everything together that makes it enjoyable particularly as I say if you’re a fan of the Japanese Shin Chan, as far as being a game goes it doesn’t succeed too well but as far as adapting the Japanese Crayon Shin Chan it’s much more successful it has a real whimsical light-heartedness to it and it did manage to put a smile on my face just don’t go in expecting a very well polished gaming experience.
Visually the game looks amazing, I’ve always liked the 3D models against a hand-painted background since some of the earlier final fantasy titles and this has given me some Ghibli vibes, the backdrops aren’t entirely static and the cast of characters are all so well recreated on the audio standpoint the Japanese voice actors do a good job although you won’t find any English voiceover here as it’s simply a subtitled overlay, there’s a great soundtrack here with some really catchy little tunes including a particularly excellent daily dance featuring any new characters that have been met along the way, performance wise things ran fine on the PC and I did not encounter any stutters or fps drops.
Overall, Shin chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation The Endless Seven-Day Journey is a charming slice of life adventure though it’s pretty obvious it will not appeal to everyone as far as gameplay elements and the price is on the steep side, I will still recommend this especially to any fans of the Japanese Crayon Shin Chan but maybe wait for a sale.