Crayon Shin Chan (Japanese: クレヨンしんちゃん) is one of the funniest cartoons in Japan, and it has wide appeal thanks to its natural family situations and crass little boy main character. Shin chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation ~ The Endless Seven-Day Journey ~ released on the Nintendo Switch in Japan last year, but thankfully the title has made its way to western shores for a fun and goofy time!
So is Shin chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation a game for the Shin Chan fans out there? Or is this just another failed attempt of a cartoon/anime transitioning to video game format? Let’s find out!
The story of Shin chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation (MatPoSV hence forth) follows Shin chan and his family traveling to Kumamoto and ultimately Asso to help a friend of Misae, Shin chan’s mom. When they meet the father at Kumamoto Station, a strange man offers a special camera free of charge that turns pictures into drawings and stickers. However, that mysterious man is not a good guy, and ulterior motives are definitely in place.
For those familiar with the series, this feels very much like an episodic arc (19 episodes to be precise) or even a movie in how it is presented. There is an overarching story, but it is the little interactions and the fantastic humor that keeps this engaging from start to finish. Shin chan is a delight, and the goofy things he says to people, especially when he mishears something, are constantly funny. And I have to give major credit to the translators, because translating Japanese puns to English is tough work, yet the jokes land consistently throughout.
Some players may not like that all the voice acting is in Japanese, but to be honest, I would have it no other way. The original Japanese voice cast all return for their respective roles, and they all sound amazing as usual, especially Shin chan and his quirky nature. The subtitles, though, can be in English, German, Portuguese, and Spanish, and I can speak for the English, particularly, in that it is translated phenomenally.
Gameplay-wise, Shin chan: MatPoSV is an interesting one. It is a casual game in just about every sense, as you do not have any complicated controls. You basically control Shin chan in silly little scenarios where you bump into people and have silly conversations, find items laying around, catch bugs (Apparently Shin chan just pulls a bug-catching net out of his butt), and simply explore to your heart’s content… well… until you run out of stamina, which makes you pass out. To replenish stamina, you need to eat snacks, but you aren’t really punished for passing out, which makes this mechanic a bit moot.
The game functions on a daily system, which means you wake up to morning exercises, breakfast with the family, exploration around the area doing tasks and errands, then dinner with the family, a little night excursion, and then bed time. The points at the beginning and end get quite repetitive after a while, but they are still cute and create a routine that is both very Japanese and very Crayon Shin-Chan. There are some tasks you are asked to do that will reward you money that you can spend on items like, you know, snacks. The more tasks you do for an individual, the more money you will ultimately receive for completing your stamp card.
There are the story-progressing moments where things do move on, as you are technically only in areas for a set amount of time. However, this is the endless seven-day summer, so… well… no spoilers. You just get to run around as Shin chan and laugh as you get to know him a little bit more, and you get to find items, fish, and catch bugs while you are out and about. Episodes are not cleared in order, as you can finish say Episode 16 before Episode 4, for example, which does make things a bit confusing in regards to what is currently important and when you are closing in on finishing the game.
Shin chan has a diary as well where he keeps record of his journey, and it includes all of the pictures he takes from the camera that the mysterious individual gave to him at the train station. Thankfully, you do not have to worry about taking pictures yourself, as Shin chan automatically does so when he does something significant, like when he meets someone new, catches bugs or fish, or some other noteworthy scenario. The funny thing is that you get to choose between Fastball and Curveball when inputting some pictures, and the difference is usually quite funny.
The art style is pretty good for the most part. As a fan of the anime series, I am used to the bizarre art style that has an extreme awkwardness to it. While that is still pretty apparent here in Shin chan: MatPoSV, the 3D art style does take that away a bit. There is still that Shin chan charm, but I think, as is the case with a lot of anime that goes 3D for their video games, something looks off and not nearly as appealing. Despite that, the world presented in the game is lovely, and the characters are beyond recognizable.
The sound department is top tier, as all of the original Japanese voice actors have returned to reprise their roles, and their delivery throughout is wonderful. The new characters for Shin chan: MatPoSV all sound great, too, with some of them seeming way too similar to other characters from the anime series (There is even a joke within the game that acknowledges this). The music is solid and definitely gets things by, but the highlights are the opening song and the morning workout jingle. Finally, the attention to detail when it comes to evening bug sounds and such is wonderful and a heart-warming reminder of my time in Japan.
Shin chan: MatPoSV is, for all intents and purposes, a very chill game with some strange restrictions that is based on one of the most popular animes in Japan. It does not do anything fresh or new, but it pays great homage to its source material and contains a lot of great jokes that land really well.
It’s price point does seem a bit high for what you are getting, but considering the licensing and translation work, this is actually a solid get. For anime fans and lovers of Shin chan, Shin chan: MatPoSV is a hilarious outing that will entertain across its many episodes. However, if you are unfamiliar with the series and have no interest in immature Japanese anime, then you should spend your money elsewhere.
Shin chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation Switch Review provided by Nintendo Link
Developer: STAR Factory
Release Date: August 11th, 2022
Price: $39.99, £33.99, €39,99
Game Size: 1.4 GB
Great voice acting from original Japanese cast
Cute Shin chan world in Asso
Casual gameplay can attract any player
Stamina bar is a weird gameplay element
Days become quite repetitive after a while
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.