Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation - The Endless Seven-Day Journey - Summer Vacation Nintendo Switch Review - Is It Worth It
Hello, Felix from Nintendo Live here, and today we're here to review Shinshan Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation, The Endless Seven Day Journey. This was a game that was stuck in Japan for over a year but has finally been released here in the west, so let's just jump right into it. If kuroshin and boku natsu make sense and b sounds appealing to you, and if you haven't already bought this game in the years since it was released in Japan, then we can keep this review nice and tight.
Buy this game. But for those residing in that mudder's nub on the venn diagram, let's see if you're moved by the end of this review. Let's start with that making sense bit. Kurdishin is the Japanese shortened name for crayon. Shinchan. A manga series and an anime sitcom about two kids and a dark Japanese family focused on Shinozuke or Shinshan, the impish five-year-old who spent his time infuriating his parents by causing arguments and making butt dances.
While Boku natsu, meanwhile, is short for Boku No Nazi Asumi, or My Summer Vacation, if translated, is a game series that kicked off on the Playstation in the 2000s about a boy whileing away a month of summer days in the Japanese countryside, exploring, chasing bugs, fishing, having dinner and a bath, and generally letting his imagination find adventure in a place with nothing really too thrilling to do.
While Shinchan, the Endless Seven-Day Journey, is not a boku natsu game, it's developed by the Millennium Kitchen, the creators of the originals, so this game and the Boku Asumi series bear a lot of similarities. Okay, what's going on here? Shinshan and his somewhat madcap world have exploded onto the scene in this little farming village of Kumamoto.
Shinizuke finds errands to run for pocket money and has unfettered free time between meals to explore the dusty roads and burdened riverbanks while the zika songs wheel away around him. When the Nahora family first arrives at the Kumamoto station, they're approached by a wacky professor who gives them a special camera, which Shinozuke uses to keep a scrapbook of his world trip.
You don't operate this camera as a player, but all your key adventures and discoveries, including new fish and insects you've caught, are snapped and added to this diary automatically. Shinshan's holiday story becomes a core structural element in Shinshan's holiday story. Each day you can choose to show your latest entries to the newspaper editor who evaluates them for print.
Delivering the content for these articles becomes the main progress point of the game, at least at the start, as boosting paper subscriptions far enough will win the five-year-old Shinshan ad with a beautiful university student in turn at the paper, as Shinshan's trademark romantic aspiration. The game's action involves running little Shinshan around beautiful hand-painted scenes presented as staggering sweeping vistas, intimate family rooms, dirty railway tracks, and so on, all connected by enticing paths leading to imagined wonders.
Just around the corner, simple button presses will gather vegetables and herbs for the restaurant where you're staying; fish for water crops; swing your butterfly net at critters; and so on. The feel is generally good, but with a couple of slight flaws. It can be nearly impossible to see, for instance, whether an insect is in front of or behind Shinshan from the camera's perspective, This leads to a lot of fruitless swinging of the net.
If this was a time attack, it would be maddening, but since it's a chilled out holiday for preschoolers, we just did the extra swishes and went on with our day. Another little pain point is that when you're switching between fixed camera angles as you move between scenes, it can send you running in the wrong direction.
It's the same problem that Resident Evil had to deal with back in the day. The endless 7-day vacation provides tank controls on the d-pad, meaning that if you hold down the b button and you run, you can just control with the d-pad and you will always be running in the correct direction. The controls here are a bit awkward.
In practice, we appreciated having both analog movement and tank controls at hand, although that doesn't really feel like a neat and tidy solution to the matter. There's also a trade-off between playability and atmosphere. Shinozuke is reduced to an ant-sized dot on the scenery viewed from afar in the air, where the lights of the village make gorgeous constellations.
The sounds of flapping water and insect life chopping around; it's a real sight to be seen. It is a touch fiddly to walk around and locate plants, insects, and especially fish, but again, we're not under pressure here, so prioritizing the mesmerizing royal vibe is justified. Having said you're going on this perfect nothing to do fantasy holiday, the game throws a curveball, this being crayon shinchan.
The bizarre is absolutely on the table, and things go that way with the return of the wacky professor a few days in. Without giving much away, the ordinary core escapism of Boku no Natsumi becomes the backdrop of an outlandish kitten adventure. The peaceful pace of low-pressure gameplay is absolutely untouched, but we found ourselves with a much more concrete and focused plot than before.
This is a clever turn for the Boko Nabe concept, and the millennium kitchen pulled it off exceptionally well. The days are peaceful; the sun shines, sets gloriously, and there's not a care in the world, but there is also a mad scientist trying to take over the world. It shouldn't be possible, but it is.
Presentation wise, the endless seven-day journey is top class. The painted backdrops are amazing; they're so beautiful, but the cel-shaded 3D models also deserve a mention here. Shinshan is drawn in this style that it almost looks impossible to make in 3D, but it's been pulled off by using multiple character models and flipping between them as the position changes relative to the camera.
The result is perfectly convincing, and it feels like another little miracle. Music and sound design generally meet the same high standard. With a lot of the music leaning more towards the anime wackiness than the countryside chill, the latter is covered by evocative nature sounds. The voice acting is great, sounding just like the cartoon.